Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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:

  • 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.
Dec. 14, 2012

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