Chapter 14. Small Bowel Obstruction

  1. Adam Brooks FRCS (Gen Surg), DMCC Consultant Senior Lecturer2,3,
  2. Bryan A. Cotton MD, MPH Associate Professor4,
  3. Lt Col Nigel Tai MS, FRCS (Gen Surg), RAMC Consultant Senior Lecturer3,5 and
  4. Col Peter F. Mahoney OBE, TD, MSc, FRCA, RAMC Defence Professor6
  1. J. Edward F. Fitzgerald

Published Online: 10 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444315172.ch14

Emergency Surgery

Emergency Surgery

How to Cite

Fitzgerald, J. E. F. (2010) Small Bowel Obstruction, in Emergency Surgery (eds A. Brooks, B. A. Cotton, N. Tai and P. F. Mahoney), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444315172.ch14

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Major Trauma Pathway Lead, General Surgery Service Lead, Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK

  2. 3

    Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK

  3. 4

    Department of Surgery and the Center for Translational Injury Research, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, USA

  4. 5

    Defence Medical Services, Trauma Clinical Academic Unit, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London, UK

  5. 6

    RCDM Birmingham Research, Park Vincent Drive, Birmingham, UK

Author Information

  1. Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 31 JAN 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405170253

Online ISBN: 9781444315172



  • small bowel obstruction;
  • Small bowel obstruction (SBO) - common condition for surgical teams to manage;
  • paralytic obstruction - adynamic or postoperative ileus, paralytic obstruction characterised by disordered or absent peristalsis;
  • initial episodes of vigorous peristalsis - overcoming physical obstruction;
  • simple versus strangulated obstruction;
  • closed loop versus open loop obstruction;
  • mechanical obstruction characterised - episodes of vigorous peristalsis;
  • management algorithm for mechanical small bowel obstruction;
  • SBO, a contraindication to laparoscopic techniques


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Aetiology and pathophysiology

  • Clinical presentation

  • Investigations

  • Postoperative management

  • Further reading