Digestive and Gastrointestinal Conditions


What is intussusception?

Intussusception (pronounced in-tuss-uss-EPP-shun) is a condition that occurs when one segment of the intestine slides inside of the segment next to it, like the segments of a telescope do. When this happens, the walls of the intestine press against each other. This blocks the flow of stool (feces). The area that is blocked can cause symptoms such as pain and swelling. Pressure cuts off blood flow to the intestine, which can damage the tissue. Intussusception needs treatment right away to prevent serious health problems.

Intussusception in Children

Any child can get intussusception, but it’s most common in children 6 months to 2 years old. In fact, it’s the most common belly (abdominal) emergency in children in this age range. About 1 to 4 children in 1,000 get intussusception in the United States.

Intussusception at Seattle Children’s

We treat many children every year with intussusception. In most cases, they don’t need surgery. Among hospitals in Washington, Seattle Children’s has the lowest rate of surgery on children with intussusception because we can usually use techniques that take care of intussusception without surgery.

Although we can help most children without surgery, some children do need surgery. Our surgeons are very experienced at performing surgery to repair intussusception.

Read more about expert treatment for intussusception at Seattle Children’s.

Contact Us

If you have questions about intussusception treatment, call our General and Thoracic Surgery Department at 206-987-2794, extension 4.