Intussusception is a serious disorder in which part of the intestine slides into an adjacent part of the intestine. This "telescoping" often blocks food or fluid from passing through. Intussusception also cuts off the blood supply to the part of the intestine that's affected. Intussusception can lead to a tear in the bowel (perforation), infection and death of bowel tissue. Intussusception is the most common cause of intestinal obstruction in children younger than 3.
There were an estimated 2,000 cases of infantile intussusception annually in Japan, an incidence of 180-190 cases per 100,000 infants. The median age at diagnosis was 17 months, and two-thirds of the patients were male. Treatment with an enema was successful in 93.0% of cases (2255/2427). The remainder required surgery. Secondary cases accounted for 3.1% (76/2427). Median length of hospital stay was 3 days. Of the 2,427 cases, we found 2 fatal cases associated with intussusception.
An enema is the first step in treatment. In fact, an enema that is used to diagnose intussusception may also help to treat it. Pressure from the air or fluid may cause the intestine to correct itself. The result of an enema treatment might not last, so patients usually stay in the hospital overnight for observation. Surgery is another treatment option. Intussusception surgery involves either a large incision or a small incision and a camera. This is called laparoscopic surgery. The type of surgery depends on the location and severity of the obstruction. Intussusception surgery may include removal of the affected section of intestine.