Primary Small Bowel Tumour Presenting as Bowel Obstruction in a Patient with a Virgin Abdomen


Primary malignancies of the small bowel are rare and usually present with vague, non-specific symptoms. This leads to diagnostic difficulties for both physician and radiologists alike. We present a case of a 54-year-old lady with a virgin abdomen who initially presented to hospital with vague abdominal symptoms suggestive of gastroenteritis. She responded partially to conservative treatment but represented to hospital 3 weeks later with obstructive symptoms. Contrast CT was inconclusive with regards to diagnosis. A diagnostic laparoscopy was performed, revealing an infiltrative growth. Consequently, she underwent segmental laparoscopic-assisted small bowel resection and recovered well post-operatively. After further histological and endoscopic investigations, a final diagnosis of primary small bowel adenocarcinoma was given. As the prognosis of small bowel malignancy is stage-dependent, this case demonstrates a high index of suspicion is necessary to reach early diagnosis, especially for symptoms non-responsive to conventional treatment. Diagnostic laparoscopy should be considered early as a definitive diagnostic tool.

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X. Wu, H. Cheung, C. Chung and M. Li, "Primary Small Bowel Tumour Presenting as Bowel Obstruction in a Patient with a Virgin Abdomen," International Journal of Clinical Medicine, Vol. 4 No. 6, 2013, pp. 287-290. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2013.46050.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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