, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 299–304 | Cite as

Internal hernia following laparoscopic colorectal surgery: a rare but fatal complication

  • S. Y. Lee
  • C. H. Kim
  • Y. J. Kim
  • H. R. KimEmail author
Original Article



Internal hernia of the small bowel through a mesenteric defect following colorectal cancer surgery is a serious but rarely reported complication. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence, clinical features, and management of these hernias.


We retrospectively reviewed 4589 primary colorectal cancer patients who underwent surgical resection between January 2007 and December 2015. The incidence, clinical presentations, and short-term outcomes of patients with symptomatic internal hernia following colorectal surgery were investigated in detail.


We found 9 (0.2 %) patients who presented with symptomatic internal hernia. In all cases, preceding surgical procedures were laparoscopic anterior resection (n = 9), including low anterior resection (n = 3) and intersphincteric resection (n = 3). The median time interval between initial surgery and the occurrence of internal hernia was 4 months (range 5 days–27 months). Main symptoms were abdominal distension and pain; 4 (44.4 %) patients presented with systemic inflammatory response syndrome. Most cases (7/9, 77.8 %) were suspected of internal hernia by preoperative abdominal computed tomography. Six (66.6 %) patients underwent emergency surgery, after which all developed postoperative complications without mortality. The median hospital stay was 27.5 days (range 25–54 days) among patients who underwent surgical intervention.


Internal hernia following colorectal cancer surgery is a rare but potentially fatal complication, and as such, early recognition and management of these cases are important.


Internal hernia Colorectal cancer Complication 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors received no financial support for this study. The authors (SYL, CHK, YJK, and HRK) declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Y. Lee
    • 1
  • C. H. Kim
    • 1
  • Y. J. Kim
    • 1
  • H. R. Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryChonnam National University Hwasun Hospital and Medical SchoolHwasun-gun JeonnamKorea

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