A condition in which part of the intestine telescopes in on itself, forming a tube within a tube, usually resulting in intestinal obstruction (see intestine, obstruction of). The condition usually affects the last part of the small intestine, where it joins the large intestine. In some cases there is an association with a recent infection. In other cases, it may start at the site of a polyp or Meckel’s diverticulum. Intussusception occurs most commonly in children under the age of 2. An affected child usually develops severe abdominal colic; vomiting is common, and blood and mucus are often found in the faeces. In severe cases, the blood supply to the intestine becomes blocked and gangrene, followed by peritonitis or perforation, may result. In some cases, an enema can be used to force the abnormal area of bowel back into a normal position. In other cases, surgery may be necessary to reposition the bowel.


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