The diagnosis of small bowel obstruction (SBO) can often be made based on findings seen on imaging studies. An abdominal CT scan may be relatively expensive to perform but can reduce costs overall.
Features of SBO on plain films of the abdomen:
(1) abnormally dilated loops of small bowel
(2) presence of air-fluid levels in the distended loops
Features of SBO on abdominal CT scan:
(1) distended loops of bowel proximal to the site of obstruction with collapse of bowel distal to it
Bowel distention was defined as small bowel diameter > 2.5 cm.
(1) Partial obstruction may be more difficult to identify by these criteria than complete obstruction, although the sensitivity of CT scan for partial obstruction was good.
(2) The extent of the bowel segment involved.
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