Pseudo-colonic obstruction after lumbar spine surgery : A case report

Published online: Dec 27 2006

David Reverdy, Michael Gebhart, Konstantinos Kothonidis, Julien Gallez, Daniel De Becker, Gabriel Liberale

From the Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels, Belgium


Acute colonic pseudo-obstruction (Ogilvie's syndrome) is characterised by abdominal distension and massive colonic dilatation without any mechanical cause of obstruction. The pathogenesis remains unknown but likely involves imbalance between sympathetic and parasympathetic colon innervation. This syndrome is well known in orthopaedic surgery, as trauma and orthopaedic surgery have been reported as aetiological factors. Some cases have been reported after cervical discectomy. We report a case of Ogilvie's syndrome after lumbar spine surgery. Medical treatment including parasympathetic agent was unsuccessful and the patient underwent a right colectomy. The pathophysiology and treatment are discussed based on a review of the literature.