Introduction: Although blunt trauma to a hernia-containing bowel is known to cause bowel perforation, this report documents the first incident of a small bowel transection following a non-traumatic event.
Case presentation: We report the case of a 49-year-old African American man with a chronic incarcerated inguinal hernia awaiting elective repair. He presented to the Emergency Department with abdominal pain following an episode of coughing. On examination, he was found to have peritonitis. He underwent exploratory laparotomy, and had a complete small bowel transection. A bowel resection with primary anastomosis was performed, as well an inguinal hernia repair.
Conclusion: Chronic hernia incarceration can lead to weakening and ischemia of the bowel, and minimal trauma can lead to perforation of the weakened segment. In such presentations, bowel resection and repair of the defect with a biological material is safe and feasible.