Small bowel obstruction after transoral robotic surgery

Joseph McClellan, Virginie Achim, Daniel Clayburgh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Head and neck surgery is not often considered a risk factor for intestinal ileus and small bowel obstruction. However, many of these patients may have had prior abdominal surgery, a known risk factor for small bowel obstruction, and may be at risk for bowel obstruction after a surgical procedure of the head and neck. Methods: We present a case describing a patient who, after undergoing transoral robotic surgery, experienced delayed postoperative ileus and eventual small bowel obstruction requiring exploratory laparotomy and bowel resection. Results: Although the patient required total parenteral nutrition for several days, he eventually was able to resume tube feeds, and after several months was able to tolerate an oral diet. Conclusion: Although uncommon complications of head and neck surgery, intestinal ileus and small bowel obstruction can develop as the result of stress/inflammation, postoperative narcotic pain medication, and prior abdominal surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E9-E12
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • complications of head and neck surgery
  • ileus
  • oropharyngeal cancer
  • small bowel obstruction
  • transoral robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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