What is Intestinal Malrotation?

Intestinal malrotation

is a congenital problem that develops from the fetal stage itself. This problem occurs because of a problem in the midgut’s rotation. The midgut is a portion in the embryo where the development of most intestines takes place. Malrotation leads to obstruction of bowels, thus preventing the proper passage of food.

It has been observed that 1 out of 500 children suffers from this problem in the US.

Problems in Anatomy due to Intestinal Malrotation:

If the rotation of the midgut has an anomaly in the embryo stage, the following changes would occur in the anatomy of the intestines –

  • the small bowel or the small intestines would be found on the abdomen’s right side
  • the cecum which is normally at the lower right quadrant of the abdomen is shifted to the upper right quadrant of the abdomen into the epigastrium
  • the Ligament of Treitz or the muscle that connects the duodenum to the diaphragm is displaced downwards to the right
  • Ladd’s bands, a fibrous tissue attach to the duodenum causing intestinal obstruction
  • also, the improper rotation of the midgut would lead to intestinal ischemia (lack of blood supply to the intestines)


The first symptoms of malrotation in a child would be abdominal pain and cramps. This is because of the bowel’s inability to push the food through because of the obstruction. Children would start exhibiting peculiar patterns like –

  • crying which they would stop suddenly as they would remain normal for a while
  • upon the repetition of the cramp, they would exhibit the pattern of crying once again
  • irregular stools

One very important symptom is vomiting which allows doctors to locate the obstruction. For instance, if there is a delayed vomiting, the obstruction is in the large intestine. If the vomiting soon follows crying, the obstruction is in the small intestine.

Additional Symptoms:

Other symptoms would include-

  • swollen abdomen
  • tenderness to touch in the abdominal region
  • diarrhea
  • increase heart beat and breathing
  • inability to pass urine
  • fever

The only cure to

intestinal malrotation

is a surgery which would divide the fibrous Ladd’s bands that were causing the obstruction. After that, the bowel and colon are put in their normal places.

1 response to What is Intestinal Malrotation?

  1. i suffer from this medical condition and have stomach aches. i already had my appendix out and the lad band surgery. but i still suffer from this. NOTHING SEEMS TO HELP THE PAIN!!!!! at some points the cramps hit me so hard that it makes me lose my breath. I was told that depending on where u live some hospitals can fix the malrotation all together by a surgery where they make a 3-4 inch incision on ur stomach and they go in and put the organs where they r suppose to be. i live in Northern Maine. The specialist that figured out that i had this said i would have to go to Boston Massachusetts to have that surgery.

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