Caecal volvulus

Case contributed by Dr Fakhry Mahmoud Ebouda


A middle age male complains of abdominal pain since 7 days & by US examination, a mass is seen in the right abdominal quadrant.

Patient Data

Age: 40 years
Gender: Male

Two air-fluid levels are seen in the erect radiograph, the larger being in the right upper quadrant.


A mass-like structure is seen in the right upper quadrant.


The markedly dilated caecum is located in the right upper abdominal quadrant. Its transverse diameter is more than 10 cm in its widest portion. It shows air-fluid level, thickened walls & stranding densities in the surrounding mesentery. There is twisting of the medial side of mesenteric fat & vessels resulting to a tornado-like appearance (whirl sign)Dilated fluid-filled small bowel loops are seen. The rest of the colon are collapsed. The duodenum is collapsed and failed to cross the mid line. There is abnormal orientation of the SMA & SMV suggesting malrotation.


A series of operative photo of caecal volvulus.

Case Discussion

Caecal volvulus means torsion of the caecum around its own mesentery. It may result to obstruction. Demonstrated in this case is marked proximal bowel dilatation up to 10 cm with increase risk of bowel perforation and faecal peritonitis. 

The whirlpool sign (also known as the whirl sign) is seen when a structure twist on itself. It is described here owing to caecum rotates around its own caecal mesentery.


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Case information

rID: 28294
Published: 19th Mar 2014
Last edited: 18th May 2017
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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