Treatment will depend on the size of the perforation and how long it has been open.
Smaller perforations may be able to seal themselves. In this case, you may be monitored for any changes. Additional imaging test will be taken to make sure there is no more air or fluids moving into your abdominal cavity. You will also be given antibiotics to prevent infection in the abdominal cavity.
Larger perforations and those that have existed for some time without notice will require more care:
Surgery may be needed to repair some perforations and clean leaked material from the area. The extent of surgery will depend on the size of the perforation and presence of infection.
A small perforation may be closed with no other repairs needed.
Some larger perforations or those with serious infections can cause damage to some of the surrounding tissue. This may require the removal of parts of the intestine. It may also require a temporary or permanent
Infections can be very serious with colon perforations. The material that moves out of the intestines can contain numerous bacteria and other organisms. The material can cause an infection in the nearby tissue or throughout the body (called
Antibiotic medications may be recommended to treat an infection or prevent an infection from developing.
Some perforations are caused by accidents which are difficult to prevent.
Some intestinal disorders can increase the risk of perforations. Proper management of these disorders may prevent damage and weakening of the intestinal wall.
Acute perforation of the GI tract. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/acute-abdomen-and-surgical-gastroenterology/acute-perforation-of-the-gi-tract. Updated January 2017. Accessed October 3, 2017.
Colonoscopy. American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/patient-care/procedures/colonoscopy. Accessed October 3, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 10/3/2016
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