Objective. This study was undertaken to define the incidence and etiology of small bowel obstruction (SBO) after nephrectomy for Wilms' tumor. Summary Background Data. Intestinal obstruction is one of the most common postoperative complications after nephrectomy for nephroblastoma. However, few reports have evaluated risk factors for SBO. Radiation therapy has been associated with increased intestinal complications in some adult cancer patients, but this has not been reported in children undergoing cancer surgery. Methods. Postoperative SBO occurred in 131 of 1,910 children (6.9%) enrolled in the Third National Wilms' Tumor Study (NWTS). The etiology of the SBO was bowel adhesions in 104 cases, intussusception in 17, internal hernia in 2, and uncertain in the remaining 8 children. Results. The factors found to be of potential importance in explaining the incidence of SBO were higher local tumor stage, extrarenal intravascular involvement, and en bloc resection of other organs at the time of nephrectomy. The incidence of postoperative SBO was not increased in children who received postoperative radiation therapy. Conclusions. Although the overall incidence of SBO after nephrectomy for Wilms' tumor is comparable to that after other major abdominal operations in children, it can be responsible for significant morbidity. There were 4 children among the 1,910 patients with infectious complications of SBO, which contributed to their death.
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