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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Splenic Injury Following Colonoscopy: A Case Report

  • Author(s): Wang, Jason;
  • Choi, Heesun;
  • Ashurst, John
  • et al.

Introduction: Colonoscopy is a commonly performed outpatient procedure with a low risk of complications. The most common complications seen in the postoperative period include hemorrhage and perforation. Infrequently, splenic injury can occur.

Case Report: A 72-year-old male presented with a one-day history of left upper quadrant pain following colonoscopy. During the procedure he had two polyps removed along the transverse colon near the splenic flexure. There were no complications during the procedure or in the immediate post-operative period. On presentation to the emergency department, abdominal tenderness was present in the left upper quadrant without rebound, rigidity, or guarding. Point-of-care ultrasound of the abdomen demonstrated mixed hypoechoic densities confined to the splenic capsule, and computed tomography of the abdomen and pelvis with intravenous contrast noted a grade II/III splenic laceration without active extravasation. The patient was admitted for serial abdominal examination and labs.

Conclusion: Splenic injury following colonoscopy is a rare complication of colonoscopy. Emergency providers should be aware of this possible complication, and acute management should include basic trauma care and consultation for possible intervention, if warranted.

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