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Module: Principles of Surgical Practice

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A young man with abdominal pain and vomiting


Peter Devitt
Chair, MCQ Panel of Examiners
Australian Medical Council
and recent:
Head, Professorial Surgical Unit
Royal Adelaide Hospital


Intestinal obstruction is a relatively common problem encountered in the Emergency Department. There are a wide variety of causes with different management pathways. It is important that the medical practitioner has a clear understanding of how these cases should be approached and managed. This clinical vignette is based on a real case and deals with a very unusual cause of small bowel obstruction. The cause of the obstruction is less important; more relevant is how the case should be managed. In particular, the role of imaging in the decision-making is discussed, with regard to whether or not surgical intervention might be required.

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