Value of laparoscopy in children with a suspected rotation abnormality on imaging

Marvin Hsiao, Jacob C Langer
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2011, 46 (7): 1347-52

BACKGROUND: Although imaging is usually used for the diagnosis of rotation abnormalities, significant false-positive and false-negative rates have been reported. We studied the utility of laparoscopy in the management of children with a suspected rotation abnormality on imaging.

METHODS: The charts of all children undergoing laparoscopy for a suspected intestinal rotation abnormality from January 2000 to August 2009 were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS: There were 51 patients. Preoperative diagnosis based on upper gastrointestinal contrast study with or without contrast enema or ultrasound was malrotation without volvulus in 47%, malrotation with volvulus in 10%, and nonrotation in 6%; the other 37% had equivocal or inconclusive imaging studies. Of the patients who had a "definitive" preoperative diagnosis, 41% had a discrepant finding at laparoscopy. For those with inconclusive imaging studies, 32% were found on laparoscopy to have a narrow mesenteric base, which put them at significant risk of midgut volvulus.

CONCLUSION: Imaging studies may be inaccurate in differentiating malrotation from nonrotation or normal rotation. Laparoscopy provides an excellent opportunity to assess the base of the mesentery. Those children without a narrow-based mesentery can undergo laparoscopy alone, and those with malrotation should undergo either laparoscopic or open Ladd procedure.

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