Bowel obstruction after biliopancreatic diversion: A deceptive complication

M. L. Cossu, M. Ruggiu, E. Fais, C. Sparta, F. Cossu, G. Noya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although obesity surgery is now practiced in most of the world, many general surgeons, faced with an emergency, are not experienced in the diagnostic problems associated with these techniques, or about the most suitable treatment to resolve the acute pathology while preserving the weight loss. The biliopancreatic diversion (BPD), because of its complexity, could cause a delay in the diagnosis and therapy, with possible catastrophic consequences for the patient. Methods: We report 3 patients with bowel obstruction after BPD. In the first patient intestinal occlusion was due to an adhesion obstructing the alimentary tract; in the other two patients the occlusion was localized to the biliopancreatic tract, due to a serrate stenosis of the entero-entero anastomosis in one patient and due to volvulus of the biliopancreatic loop in the other patient. Results: Signs and symptoms were different according to whether the obstruction was in the alimentary tract or the biliopancreatic tract. In all cases a prompt gastrointestinal x-ray with barium and ultrasound scan and/or CT scan induced us to a mandatory laparotomy with resolution of the obstruction. Conclusions: After BPD, diagnosis of an intestinal obstruction must be made promptly. Even colleagues who express doubts must be persuaded to perform immediately an upper gastrointestinal tract x-ray and an U/S or CT scan. In this way, it may be possible to avoid intestinal resection and catastrophic complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-473
Number of pages4
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Biliopancreatic diversion
  • Morbid obesity
  • Small bowel obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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