Small-bowel obstruction is a common cause of abdominal pain and accounts for a significant proportion of hospital admissions. Radiologic imaging plays the key role in the diagnosis and management of small-bowel obstruction as neither patient presentation, the clinical examination, nor laboratory testing are sufficiently sensitive or specific enough to diagnose or guide management. This document focuses on the imaging evaluation of the two most commonly encountered clinical scenarios related to small-bowel obstruction: the acute presentation and the more indolent, low-grade, or intermittent presentation. This document hopes to clarify the appropriate utilization of the many imaging procedures that are available and commonly employed in these clinical settings. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging