Surgical treatment of necrotizing enterocolitis: when? how?

G. B. Parigi, R. Bragheri, S. Minniti, G. Verga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 10 years (1981-1990) 28 out of 54 neonates (51.8%) with definite necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) underwent surgery. Operation was performed at 13.5 +/- 8.8 (range 3-38) days of life, after 1.7 +/- 1.5 (range 1-6) days from the onset of symptoms. Aiming to perform laparotomy before the occurrence of perforation, surgery was liberally indicated in stage IIIa, according to Walsh-Kliegman. Explorative laparotomy (+peritoneal drainage in 2 cases) was performed in 4 patients with massive intestinal necrosis: all died within 3 days of surgery. In one neonate, only pneumatosis was present and resection was not considered mandatory. Intestinal resection and enterostomy was performed in 17 neonates, 5 of them with perforation; three developed an intestinal stenosis. Enterostomy was closed after 116.2 +/- 61.8 days (range 26-193); 11 patients (64.7%) are long-term survivors. Intestinal resection and primary anastomosis was performed in 6 babies, 3 of them with perforation. Postoperatively, 2 dehiscences and 1 stenosis were recorded, but all children survived. In our opinion, resection followed by primary anastomosis seems to be the most satisfactory surgical option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-61
Number of pages4
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics, Supplement
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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