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Intussusception - children

  • Treatment

    The child will first be stabilized. A tube will be passed into the stomach through the nose (nasogastric tube). An intravenous (IV) line will be placed in the arm, and fluids will be given to prevent dehydration.

    In some cases, the bowel obstruction can be treated with an air or contrast enema performed by a skilled radiologist. There is a risk of bowel tearing (perforation) with this procedure, and it is not used if the bowel has already developed a hole.

    If these treatments are unsuccessful, the child will need surgery. The bowel tissue can usually be saved, but any dead tissue will be removed.

    Intravenous feeding and fluids will be continued until the child has a normal bowel movement.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome is good with early treatment. There is a risk the condition will come back.


    A hole (perforation) is a serious complication due to risk of infection. If not treated, intussusception is almost always fatal for infants and young children.

    Calling your health care provider

    Intussusception is an emergency. Call your health care provider immediately, then call 911 or go immediately to the emergency room.