What is Volvulus?

Volvulus is the wrapping of a proportion of the intestine around the remaining proportion, or to a piece of mesentery tissue which impedes the flow of blood to the intestine. A mesentery tissue aids in the attachment of organs to the body’s walls. Volvulus mostly occurs in the colon. A section of the digestive system that is located directly above the volvulus will function normally, but it may become enlarged each time it takes in the digestion of food, liquid and gas. If a part of the intestine is wrapped too tightly around itself, it may cause strangulation which results in the death of the mesentery tissue. Volvulus is considered as a surgical crisis because it may cause the development of a condition called gangrene. Gangrene usually develops rapidly and may cause the insertion of a hole in the bowel’s wall which could cause death. There are five types of volvulus. These are Volvulus Neonatorum, Volvulus Small Intestine, Volvulus Caecum, Volvulus Sigmoid Colon and Gastric Volvulus. Only Caecum and Sigmoid Volvulus are common in the colon, with Caecum Volvulus being the most common.

Sigmoid Volvulus

Sigmoid is located in the preceding segment of the colon. There are two issues that may increase one’s risk of developing sigmoid volvulus. The first is having a lengthened or mobile Sigmoid colon that becomes separated from the abdomen’s left sidewall. The second is having a thin mesentery that permits winding movements at its base. Sigmoid Volvulus however, may occur without these risks. Adults and children can both develop Sigmoid Volvulus but it is most common in males as they tend to have a longer sigmoid colon. It is also common in individuals over the age of 60 as well as psychiatric patients who are on medication. Additionally, children born with a mal-rotation of the intestine are prone to Sigmoid Volvulus.

Sigmoid volvulus symptoms are usually severe and normally occur unexpectedly. Symptoms include the passing of bloody stools, abdominal contractions, nauseating feelings that may lead to vomiting and constipation. Other symptoms occur overtime. The diagnosis of Sigmoid Volvulus can be done by numerous tests. An x-ray is able to show an enlarged colon above the Volvulus. The use of upper and lower gastro intestinal series will assist in locating the area of obstruction as well as identify whether or not mal-rotation is present. A Computerized Tomography (CT) scan may be used to give a visual of the abnormalities that has developed.

Caecum Volvulus

Caecum Volvulus is the wrapping of the caecum around the ascending segment of the colon or vice versa. The caecum and ascending colon are supposed to be attached to abdomen’s internal wall. If a detachment occurs, they are then able to wrap themselves around each other. Caecum Volvulus symptoms usually include a nauseating feeling that results in vomiting and abdominal contraction as well as swelling.
A diagnosis of Caecum Volvulus can also be done by numerous tests. An x-ray will give a visual of the caecum’s dislocation and its inflation with confined air. The use of upper and lower gastro intestinal series will help in locating the Volvulus as well as the colon. A Computerized Tomography (CT) scan may also be used to identify abnormalities that have developed.

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