Small bowel obstruction due to adhesions following neonatal laparotomy

Pediatr Surg Int. 2006 Sep;22(9):729-32. doi: 10.1007/s00383-006-1719-3. Epub 2006 Jul 14.


The aim of this study was to assess the incidence of small bowel obstruction (SBO) due to adhesions following laparotomy in the neonatal period. This was a retrospective study of babies born between January 1998 and November 2003 who had a trans-abdominal procedure in the neonatal period in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK. Four hundred and fourteen patients had a trans-abdominal procedure during this period. The follow-up period ranged from 2 months to 6 years (median 39 months). Overall, twenty-three patients (6%) underwent subsequent laparotomy for SBO due to adhesions. Four patients (17%) who developed SBO due to adhesions had another adhesive obstruction requiring a further laparotomy. The majority of adhesions occurred within a year of the original procedure (87%). A single band caused the obstruction in eight patients (35%), multiple adhesions in six (26%), and dense adhesions in nine patients (39%). The incidence of SBO was highest following surgery for meconium ileus, followed by necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), and malrotation. There were no deaths due to small bowel obstruction in this study.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Obstruction / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology*
  • Intestine, Small*
  • Laparotomy / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Adhesions / epidemiology
  • Tissue Adhesions / etiology*