Published online Mar 7, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i9.1479
Revised: July 1, 2005
Accepted: August 20, 2005
Published online: March 7, 2006
We report a case of 28-year-old woman presenting with small bowel obstruction. She had neither prior surgery nor delivery. An upright abdominal radiograph revealed several air-fluid levels in the small bowel in the midabdomen and the pelvic cavity. Computed tomography demonstrated a dilated small bowel loop in the Douglas’s fossa, but no definite diagnosis could be made. Supportive therapy with draining the intestinal fluid by a long intestinal tube did not result in improvement, which suggested the possibility of a strangulated hernia. Exploratory laparotomy revealed mobile cecum and a 20-cm length of the ileum herniated into a defect of the right broad ligament. As a gangrenous change was recognized in the incarcerated bowel, its resection was carried out, followed by end-to-end anastomosis and closure of the defects of the broad ligament. The postoperative course was uneventful. Intestinal obstruction is a very common cause for presentation to an emergency department, while internal hernia is a rare cause of obstruction. Among internal hernias, those through defects of the broad ligament are extremely rare. Defects of the broad ligament can be either congenital or secondary to surgery, pelvic inflammatory disease, and delivery trauma. In conclusion, we emphasize that hernia of the broad ligament should be added to the list of differential diagnosis for female patients presenting with an intestinal obstruction. Early diagnosis and surgical repair reduce morbidity and mortality from strangulation.