Dolichocolon

Last revised by Dr MT Niknejad on 24 Jan 2022

Dolichocolon refers to an abnormally elongated redundant colon. It is considered a developmental variant. 

The main symptoms and signs of dolichocolon are:

  • constipation
  • abdominal pain
  • abdominal distension
  • volvulus

However, dolichocolon is a contentious entity, and some argue that it does not cause symptoms 2

Colonic elongation in dolichocolon may affect the whole colon, however it is usually limited to a single segment. The most commonly affected segments are the descending and sigmoid colons. It is important to note that the segment is elongated but not dilated (the latter is referred to as a megacolon). The elongated, redundant portions of colon fold upon themselves, forming kinks, tortuosities and loops 1. There may also be associated dilatation of the affected segment.

The diagnosis of dolichocolon can be made by barium enema or CT colonography

Treatment is conservative, except in patients with refractory symptoms. Patients with sigmoid volvulus may undergo endoscopic detorsion. 

The word δολιχός (dolichos) is the ancient Greek for 'long' 3.

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Cases and figures

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