Encyclopedia Home / G / Gastrointestinal perforation

Gastrointestinal perforation

  • Alternative Names

    Intestinal perforation; Perforation of the intestines


    Treatment usually involves surgery to repair the hole (perforation). Occasionally, a small part of the intestine must be removed. A temporary colostomy or ileostomy may be needed.

    In rare cases, antibiotics alone can be used to treat patients whose perforations have closed. This can be confirmed by a physical exam, blood tests, CT scan, and x-rays.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Surgery is usually successful, but depends on the severity of the perforation and the length of time to treatment.


    Complications include:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection (including a widespread infection called sepsis, which can lead to death)
    • Intra-abdominal abscess

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your doctor if you have severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, blood in your stool, or changes in bowel habits.