Introduction: Early small bowel obstruction following abdominal surgery presents a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Abdominal imaging using Gastrografin has been shown to have diagnostic and therapeutic properties when used in the setting of small bowel obstruction outside the early postoperative period (>6 weeks). We hypothesize that a GG challenge will reduce need for re-exploration. Methods: Patients with early small bowel obstruction who underwent a Gastrografin challenge between 2010 and 2012 were case controlled, based on age ±5 years, sex, and operative approach to an equal number of patients that did not receive the challenge. Results: One hundred sixteen patients received a Gastrografin challenge. There were 87 males in each group with an average age of 62 years. A laparoscopic approach in the index operation was done equally between groups (18 vs. 18 %). There was no difference between groups in operative re-exploration rates (14 vs. 10 %); however, hospital duration of stay was greater in patients who received Gastrografin challenge (17 vs. 13 days). Two in hospital deaths occurred, one in each group, both of infectious complications. Conclusion: Use of the Gastrografin challenge in the immediate postoperative period appeared to be safe. There was no difference, however, in the rate of re-exploration between groups.
- Early postoperative bowel obstruction
- Gastrografin challenge
- Small bowel obstruction
- Water-soluble contrast
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