Emergency Radiology

, 1:138

Radiologic management of small bowel obstruction: A practical approach

  • Dean D. T. Maglinte
  • Hans Herlinger
  • William W. TurnerJr.
  • Frederick M. Kelvin
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF02614914

Cite this article as:
Maglinte, D.D.T., Herlinger, H., Turner, W.W. et al. Emergency Radiology (1994) 1: 138. doi:10.1007/BF02614914


The value of diagnostic imaging in the assessment of small bowel obstruction lies in its ability to answer questions to improve the clinical management of patients. These questions include: Is the small bowel obstructed? What are the level, cause, and severity of obstruction? Is strangulation likely to be present? Should treatment be operative or nonoperative? In this article, the different methods of contrast examination of the small bowel are reviewed, and recommendations to facilitate selection and performance of barium studies for small bowel obstruction are given. The indications for enteroclysis and computed tomography are discussed. A practical plain film-based approach to the diagnosis and management of small bowel obstruction is presented. Radiology assumes considerable importance and responsibility since it is able to supply relevant answers to many of the questions concerning small bowel obstruction.

Key Words

Intestines, stenosis or obstructionIntestines, enteroclysisIntestines, long tube decompressionIntestines, CTIntestines, plain radiography

Copyright information

© American Society of Emergency Radiology 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dean D. T. Maglinte
    • 3
  • Hans Herlinger
    • 2
  • William W. TurnerJr.
    • 1
  • Frederick M. Kelvin
  1. 1.Surgery SectionMethodist Hospital of IndianaIndianapolis
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyMethodist Hospital of IndianaIndianapolis