CT findings in patients with small bowel obstruction due to phytobezoar

Rivka Zissin, Alexandra Osadchy, Vladimir Gutman, Valeria Rathaus, Myra Shapiro-Feinberg, Gabriela Gayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of CT in evaluating patients with small bowel obstruction (SBO) has been extensively described in the current literature. We present the CT findings of SBO due to a phytobezoar, afterwards surgically confirmed, in 5 men and 1 woman (aged 32-89 years) out of 95 patients diagnosed by CT as having SBO in a 44-month period. These six patients underwent abdominal CT prior to operation and the CT findings were retrospectively reviewed. All six patients presented with clinical symptoms and signs of SBO; three of them had undergone gastric surgery 13, 17, and 22 years earlier, respectively. In all six cases, CT showed an ovoid intraluminal mass, 3×5 cm in size and of a mottled appearance, at the transition zone between dilated and collapsed small bowel loops. This was in contrast to feces-like material (the "small bowel feces sign"), seen within dilated small bowel loops in nine patients with SBO, and was typically longer. As CT is frequently performed for suspected SBO, an ovoid, short intraluminal mottled mass seen at the site of an obstruction may be regarded as a pathognomonic preoperative sign of an obstructing phytobezoar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-200
Number of pages4
JournalEmergency Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Phytobezoar
  • Small bowel obstruction


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