Rapunzel syndrome (trichobezoar)

Case contributed by Dr Rupesh Namdev


Young female, taking anti-depressants, school drop-out, complaining of vague abdominal pain for past six months, history of non bilious vomiting after meals.

Patient Data

Age: 18 years
Gender: Female

There is a large heterogenous intraluminal mass with mottled gas pattern in the stomach, extending through the pylorus up to the second part of duodenum. There are similar appearing in the jejunum at the left hypochondrium and left flank region. Jenjunal mucosa is edematous at the level of trichobezoar. This was identified as trichobezoar and was removed via laparotomy, confirming the findings.

Case Discussion

Trichobezoar is an intraluminal mass seen in gastrointestinal tracts containing ingested hair. Human hair, especially long female hair, is resistant to digestion as well as peristalsis. So it tends to stay in the stomach and over a period of time form a larger ‘hair ball’. The trichobezoar may extend up to the pylorus, duodenum or even jejunum. A part may break off into the small bowel and cause small bowel obstruction.

If not identified in time, the trichobezoar can cause gastric or duodenal mucosal erosion, ulceration, obstruction and sometimes small bowel perforation.

The treatment usually involves endoscopic removal of the trichobezoar. Rarely, laparoscopy or laparotomy may be needed.

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Case information

rID: 26994
Published: 17th Jan 2014
Last edited: 4th May 2020
Tag: bezoar
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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