• Medical Author:
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Is intussusception an urgent problem?

Intussusception is an emergency and requires immediate attention

Who is at greatest risk for intussusception?

Most cases of intussusception occur in children between 5 months and 1 year of age. Boys develop the condition two times more often than girls. Intussusception can also occur in adults and older children, although it is uncommon.

What causes intussusception?

The causes of intussusception are not fully known. Most cases in young children are idiopathic, (meaning the cause is unknown), although some viral and bacterial infections of the intestine may possibly contribute to intussusception in infancy.

Intussusception is very rare in older children and adults. In this population, the causes are believed to be due to polyps or tumors, which are often referred to as the "lead point" of the intussusception.

Why is rapid diagnosis of intussusception important?

Early diagnosis and treatment of intussusception is essential in order to prevent injury to the intestine and the associated sequelae, including surgical removal of the bowel, sepsis, and even death.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2015

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