Your or your child's doctor will start by getting a history of the symptoms of the problem. He or she may be able to feel a sausage-shaped lump in the abdomen. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order:
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- Ultrasound or other abdominal imaging. An ultrasound, X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan may reveal intestinal obstruction caused by intussusception. Imaging will typically show a "bull's eye," representing the intestine coiled within the intestine. Abdominal imaging also can show if the intestine has been torn (perforated).
- Air or barium enema. An air or barium enema is basically a colon X-ray. During the procedure, the doctor will insert air (the preferred choice in most cases) or liquid barium into the colon through the rectum. This makes the images on the X-ray clearer. An air or barium enema will fix intussusception 90 percent of the time in children, and no further treatment is needed. A barium enema can't be used if the intestine is torn.
- Kitigawa S, et al. Intussusception in children. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 25, 2012.
- Hodin RA, et al. Small bowel obstruction: Causes and management. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 25, 2012.
- Pepper VK, et al. Diagnosis and management of pediatric appendicitis, intussusception, and Meckel diverticulum. Surgical Clinics of North America. 2012;92:505.
- Lindor RA, et al. Adult intussusception: Presentation, management, and outcomes of 148 patients. The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2012;43:1.
- AskMayoExpert. Intussusception. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.