Preoperative colonoscopic derotation is beneficial in acute colonic volvulus

Dig Surg. 2002;19(3):223-9. doi: 10.1159/000064217.


Aims: Analysis of preoperative and operative management of acute colonic volvulus and development of treatment guidelines in a region of low incidence.

Methods: A study of 42 consecutive patients operated for acute colonic volvulus between 1970 and 2000.

Results: There were 20 patients with sigmoid volvulus, 21 with cecal volvulus and 1 with volvulus of the transverse colon. All patients presented as emergencies. The correct preoperative diagnosis was possible for sigmoid volvulus in 95% (19/20) of cases and for cecal volvulus in 67% (14/21). Preoperative colonoscopic volvulus derotation was attempted in 19 patients and successfully completed in 9 patients (47%). The success rates for preoperative colonoscopic derotation were 58 (7/12) and 33% (2/6) for sigmoid and cecal volvulus, respectively. Thirty-four patients (81%) underwent colon resections, 26 times as a single-stage procedure, and 8 patients (19%) underwent non-resectional operative techniques. Overall surgical morbidity was 24%, the reoperation rate 9.5% and mortality 12% (5/42). The subgroup of 9 patients with successful non-operative volvulus derotation, however, underwent semi-elective single-stage colonic resection without surgical morbidity or mortality. There were no recurrences during a median follow-up period of 9.5 years.

Conclusion: In the absence of clinical, laboratory or radiological signs of bowel necrosis or perforation, colonoscopic volvulus derotation is recommended in all cases of acute colonic volvulus, followed by semi-elective single-stage colonic resection.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cecal Diseases / surgery
  • Child
  • Colectomy
  • Colonic Diseases / surgery*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care
  • Sigmoid Diseases / surgery