Background: Intestinal rotation disorders may be discovered during investigation for abdominal symptoms. Two questions are raised in this setting: are the patient's symptoms from the rotation abnormality, and is the base of the small bowel mesentery so narrow that it places the patient at risk for midgut volvulus? Previously, laparotomy was necessary to answer these questions, and then it was necessary to do a Ladd procedure and appendectomy if necessary.
Study design: We used laparoscopic surgery to evaluate seven patients, ages 4 days to 23 years of age (median age 7 years), when upper gastrointestinal series revealed intestinal rotation abnormalities without volvulus.
Results: Two patients had nonrotation. One had Ladd's bands across the duodenum that were divided, and the appendix was removed. The other had diffuse peritoneal soilage from a ruptured appendix; irrigation and appendectomy were performed. Three patients had duodenal malrotation and underwent laparoscopic Ladd procedure and appendectomy. Two patients had combined duodenal and cecal malrotation. One of these patients had a previous appendectomy for what in retrospect was primary peritonitis; malrotation was confirmed radiologically after the operation. She underwent a laparoscopic Ladd procedure 3 months later. The other patient was believed to have combined duodenal and cecal malrotation based on radiographic studies performed during workup for gastroesophageal reflux. At laparoscopy the small bowel mesentery was believed to have a broad enough base to prevent midgut volvulus, and an appendectomy was done. No patient required conversion to an open procedure. The sole complication was intra-abdominal abscess in the child with ruptured appendicitis that required prolonged hospitalization and operative abscess drainage. Operative times ranged from 1.25-3.25 hours (median 2 hours). Time to a regular diet was 1-20 days (median 2 days). Resolution of symptoms was seen in 5 of the 7 patients, with a median followup of 15 months.
Conclusions: Laparoscopy is an excellent technique for the evaluation and definitive management of patients without midgut volvulus with intestinal rotation abnormalities.