General Abdominal Surgery


What is the most likely diagnosis?

a. Inflammatory bowel disease

b. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

c. Intussusception

d. Peptic ulcer disease

e. Biliary colic

Answer b. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

This patient presents with all 3 Rome II diagnostic criteria for IBS, which are pain associated with:

• Improvement with defecation

• Association with change in frequency of stool

• Change in form of stool

The patient is experiencing splenic flexure syndrome. Splenic flexure syndrome is caused by gas collecting in splenic flexure, leading to distension of the capsule, causing pain. Furthermore, young women with a history of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are more predisposed to developing IBS. IBS presents with diarrhea, tenesmus, and fistulas in the case of Crohn’s disease. Intussusception is more common in children and presents with “currant jelly” stool, which is grossly bloody stool in clots. Peptic ulcer disease is less likely in the left upper quadrant and is mostly epigastric pain. Biliary colic is postprandial pain that is in the right upper quadrant.

Two major forms of IBS:

• Diarrhea-predominant IBS

• Constipation-predominant IBS

Screen for IgA antibody to tissue transglutaminase. Ten percent of patients with IBS have celiac disease.

IgA protects mucosal surfaces such as the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion; patients must have an upper and lower colonoscopy and testing for celiac disease.

What is the best initial management of this patient?

a. Fiber supplementation

b. Antispasmodics (dicyclomine, hyoscyamine)

c. Imipramine

d. Probiotics

e. Lactose avoidance

Answer a. Fiber supplementation

Fiber acts as a bulking agents that aids in improving symptoms. Fiber actually helps all forms of IBS. Fiber bulks stool in diarrhea and makes it softer in constipation and adds bulk to prevent spasms. Antispasmodics such as hyoscyamine or dicyclomine are added if symptoms are not controlled with fiber, diet modification, and stress reduction. Tricyclic antidepressants are used when the patient is not helped by all of these other modalities of therapy. Probiotics have no proven benefit. Lactose avoidance is correct only for someone who presents with gas, bloating, and explosive diarrhea after ingesting dairy products.

Initial IBS therapy consists of:

• Fiber supplementation

• Dietary modification

• Stress reduction

Dicyclomine and hyoscyamine

• Block muscarinic receptors, leading to an anticholinergic effects

• Slow the bowel

Acetylcholine receptors:

• Nicotinic Receptor: Neuromuscular junction

• Muscarinic receptor: Saliva, lung, bladder, gut, heart


Fiber supplementation

Stress reduction counseling

Nutrition counseling

Send the patient home and bring her back in 2 weeks.

The patient returns 2 weeks later with minimum improvement. She continues to have 6 or 7 days of constipation followed by 1 day of diarrhea. Her cramping and bloating still persist, and she is very distraught because her constant need to use the bathroom is affecting her work.

IBS-C manifests as constipation from days to months with infrequent periods of diarrhea or normal bowel function. Stool is described as hard or pellet-like.

What is the most appropriate therapy if the patient has IBS-C?

a. Polyethylene glycol (PEG)

b. Docusate sodium

c. Yoga

d. Linaclotide

Answer d. Linaclotide

In patients with IBS with constipation who have failed a trial of soluble fiber, the next step is PEG as a laxative. PEG does not help patients with abdominal pain or cramping and is, therefore, incorrect in this patient. Patients with persistent constipation despite treatment with PEG or unable to take PEG because of cramping or abdominal pain should be treated with lubiprostone or linaclotide.

Linaclotide: guanylate cyclase agonist that stimulates intestinal fluid secretion

Lubiprostone: chloride channel activator that stimulates chloride-rich fluid secretion

What is the most likely diagnosis?

a. Appendicitis

b. Diverticulitis

c. Cholecystitis

d. Ectopic pregnancy

e. Ovarian torsion

Answer a. Appendicitis

The presentation of right lower quadrant (RLQ) pain in a man with anorexia, nausea, and vomiting combined with pain to palpation at McBurney’s point or displaying Rovsing’s sign is appendicitis. However in females, who present with RLQ pain, the first step in management is to check a urine pregnancy test. If the result is negative, think appendix. In this case, the pregnancy test has already been done for you. Diverticulitis is more common in older patients and presents with left lower quadrant pain. Cholecystitis is usually in middle-aged obese women with right upper quadrant pain. Ectopic pregnancy and ovarian torsion can both present with fever and right lower quadrant pain. Ectopic pregnancy is why every woman with lower abdominal pain younger than age 50 years should have a pregnancy test ordered on CCS. Do not rely on sexual history. Ovarian torsion is acute, sharp, unilateral pain.

Women + Lower abdominal pain = Pregnancy test

The vermiform appendix is located at the base of the cecum near the ileocecal valve where the taenia coli converge on the cecum

Rovsing’s sign: Pain in RLQ with palpation of the LLQ

Press left + Pain right = Rovsing’s sign

Psoas sign is associated with a retrocecal appendix. This is manifested by right lower quadrant pain with right hip extension.

What is the most accurate diagnostic test for this patient?

a. Ultrasonography

b. Computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen and pelvis

c. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen

d. Radiography of the abdomen

Answer b. Computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen and pelvis

A CT scan of the abdomen is the most accurate diagnostic test for a patient with clinical evidence of appendicitis. Ultrasonography is only useful to rule in a diagnosis of appendicitis but cannot be used to reliably exclude the diagnosis. Furthermore, the sensitivity of ultrasonography diminishes with increasing abdominal girth. MRI of the abdomen is always the wrong answer for any acute abdominal inflammatory process because it takes too long. Radiography of the abdomen lacks the resolution and sensitivity to localize an acute process in the RLQ. Radiography can only be used to aid in excluding free air in the case of perforated appendix. Exploratory laparotomy is far too invasive as a diagnostic test of choice because the negative appendectomy rate can approach to 20% but as a therapeutic option is the next step in management.

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Dec 22, 2016 | Posted by in GYNECOLOGY | Comments Off on General Abdominal Surgery
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