Necrotizing Enterocolitis Surgery (Pediatric)

What is necrotizing enterocolitis?

Necrotizing enterocolitis occurs mainly in premature infants when the tissue lining the intestinal wall leaks bacteria into the circulation, causing a serious infection and inflammation that may rupture or perforate the organ.

What causes necrotizing enterocolitis?

The exact cause of necrotizing enterocolitis is unclear, however, formula feeding (vs. breast feeding) may be a factor. 

What are the symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis?

  • Abdominal bloating and tenderness
  • Blood in stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeding intolerance
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting

How is necrotizing enterocolitis diagnosed?

  • Physical exam 
  • Blood tests 
  • Abdominal X-rays 

What is the treatment for necrotizing enterocolitis?

Non-surgical treatment includes:

  • Stop feedings
  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Tube decompression of the stomach
  • Intravenous nutrition
  • Fluid resuscitation

Surgery will be needed if the condition worsens and the involved intestines. Our surgeons may need to remove the ruptured and inflamed segments of the intestines by performing a colostomy, whereby the intestines are externalized on the abdominal wall surface. This is a major, life-saving operation.