Intraluminal migration of a surgical drain Report of a very rare complication and literature review

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COD: 02_2013_219-224 Categorie: ,

Nicola Carlomagno, Michele L. Santangelo, Sebastiano Grassia, Cristina La Tessa, Andrea Renda

Ann. Ital. Chir., 2013 84: 219-223

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INTRODUCTION: Gastric or intestinal foreign bodies may cause heterogeneous symptoms ranging from asymptomatic conditions to chronic pain and, in some cases, occlusion and/or perforation. There are sporadic reports of intraluminal migration of medical devices. Most commonly they are sponges, hernia meshes, gastrotomy tubes, while surgical drains are very rarely reported.
METHODS: A 79 year-old female who consulted our department in May 2009 for abdominal pain and constipation. Her symptomatology started in 2006 some months after an anterior resection for sigmoid diverticulitis associated to obstructed incisional hernia. The symptoms had begun a few months after the operation and were progressively increased month by month. An abdominal CT- scan showed the presence of an intra-peritoneal foreign body and at laparotomy a drain fragment was found inside a small bowel loop and pulled out through a small enterotomy. RESULTS: Post-operative course was regular and the patient was discharged at 7th day.
DISCUSSION: The observation of this case and a literature review led us to analyze the origin and the clinical problems of this very rare complication. Incidence, symptomatology, diagnosis and treatment were analysed.
CONCLUSIONS: The intraluminal migration of a surgical drain is very rare. The diagnosis is easy by abdominal plan radiogram or CT-scan, but it is casually achieved, because, as it almost always occurs in case of intra-peritoneal foreign bodies, the clinical suspicion is focused on other conditions that most frequently cause abdominal symptoms. When a foreign body is found in intraluminal position and its endoscopic removal is not feasible, then surgery is mandatory and resolutive.