Incidence of postoperative adhesion obstruction following neonatal laparotomy

Br J Surg. 1986 Sep;73(9):762-4. doi: 10.1002/bjs.1800730929.


Of 649 neonates undergoing laparotomy in a 10 year period, 54 (8.3 per cent) developed adhesion related intestinal obstruction requiring surgical treatment. In 16 infants the obstruction followed a period of prolonged postoperative ileus, while the remaining 38 had completely recovered from the previous surgical procedure before the development of obstruction. The adhesion obstruction occurred after a single neonatal laparotomy in 35 cases but the remaining 19 had undergone subsequent laparotomies; 75 per cent of the obstructions developed within 6 months and 90 per cent within 1 year of surgery. The highest risk groups were infants undergoing correction of gastroschisis (15.4 per cent) and malrotation (15 per cent). There were nine deaths, two of which were a direct consequence of the adhesion obstruction.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / mortality
  • Laparotomy / adverse effects*
  • Reoperation
  • Risk
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Adhesions / etiology
  • Tissue Adhesions / mortality