Article Text


Small bowel obstruction in a young woman
  1. H Pak1,
  2. F Teixeira2,
  3. S Punjabi2,
  4. M Nicholson3,
  5. A Van Rij4
  1. 1Department of Surgery, Dunedin Public Hospital, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2Outpatients Department, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Pathology, Dunedin Public Hospital, Dunedin, New Zealand
  4. 4Department of Surgery, Dunedin Public Hospital, Dunedin, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr F Teixeira
    Hammersmith Hospital/Imperial College School of Medicine, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS, UK;

Statistics from

Clinical presentation

Miss M, a 23 year old international student, presented with an eight week history of nausea, biliary vomiting, constipation, and abdominal pain with hyperactive bowel sounds. On examination, the only abnormality was some tenderness in the right upper quadrant and the epigastric area. She is a very sociable young woman who liked to party but did not admit to drinking in excess, except on one night, approximately three months previously, when she crashed her car against a fence and sustained a fracture of an L5 transverse process. She was kept under observation on this occasion but was finally sent home.

Plain abdominal x rays revealed several prominent loops of proximal small bowel but no other changes. The gastrografin swallow was normal but computerised tomography showed an area of thickening in the wall of the proximal jejunum.

With the diagnosis of small bowel obstruction she underwent laparotomy (fig 1).

Figure 1

 A fibrotic corkscrew shaped segment of jejunum was observed at laparotomy.


What abnormalities are apparent? What is your diagnosis? What are the pathogenetic mechanisms of this condition?

See page 1050 for answer

This case is submitted by:

View Abstract


  • Robin Spiller, Editor

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Miscellaneous
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and British Society of Gastroenterology