The authors reported a case of small bowel obstruction secondary to internal herniation through a defect of the broad ligament. This is a rare cause of small bowel obstruction. A 42 year-old woman without previous abdominal surgery presented with episodes of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Due to rather unspecific and changing symptoms and the fact that objective findings were normal the patient was discharged and admitted a couple of times before a computed tomography-scan showed small bowel obstruction. Acute diagnostic laparoscopy showed internal herniation of a loop of small bowel trapped in a 2 cm defect in the right side of the broad ligament. The defect was gently expanded bluntly and it was then possible to retract the strangulated part of the small bowel which afterwards was vital. The defect was sutured laparoscopically. The postoperative recovery was uneventful.
This case demonstrates that a preoperative diagnosis is difficult and a high index of suspicion is necessary to prevent diagnostic delay. Internal herniation through a defect in the broad ligament should be considered as a differential diagnosis in female patients presenting with symptoms of small bowel obstruction without a history of prior abdominal surgery, especially in parous women.
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