Omental Torsion not Appendicitis

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So I learned something new this week when my son had to go in for emergency surgery in what first presented like Appendicitis and turned out to be Omental Torsion (or twisted Omentum) which became necrotic and died and had to have portion surgically removed.  The omentum is tissue(peritoneum) that connects your stomach and intestines to the back of the abdomen, it also carries many blood vessels.  So while the omentum moves and helps also protect internal organs in rare cases it can twist as it slides around and in even rarer cases it can twist so badly that it cuts off blood vessels and can’t retract properly.  This causes portion to die off and as it tends to be right over the abdomen area where the appendix is it can often be mistaken for appendicitis or other bowel issues.

The surgeon who treated our son said they only see a few cases per year and usually it takes a laparoscopy to really diagnose it as ultrasound and CT can’t really tell the difference between the organs and the omentum very well, they get general area issues but not exactly what is the problem as in this case.  Fortunately the surgery is as easy and quick as an appendix removal and our son’s recovery time is rapid, he was discharged from hospital in less than 24 hours after surgery and is already recovering well with some soreness.

I did a lot of Google searching of Omental Torsion or Twisted Omentum and found a bunch of cited medical information all of which said it was pretty uncommon.  I am just glad my wife had great instincts to take Mason to the ER after he was having abdominal pain for 4 days and very glad we didn’t wait longer to see if it would get better on it’s own as apparently when this happens Omental Torsion always requires surgical correction and can become fatal if it isn’t treated surgically very quickly.

This was a unique enough issue I thought I would do a post about it as whenever I learn something new I like sharing that knowledge.

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Updated: April 24, 2014 — 2:56 pm