Relief of superior mesenteric artery syndrome with correction of multiplanar spinal deformity by posterior spinal fusion

Marecek, G. S.; Barsness, K. A.; Sarwark, J. F.

Orthopedics. 2010 Jul 9; 33(7):519


Superior mesenteric artery syndrome is obstruction of the third portion of the duodenum by compression between the abdominal aorta and superior mesenteric artery. Pediatric orthopedists are familiar with this entity, as the association between superior mesenteric artery syndrome and spinal fusion or body casting has been well established. However, patients with spinal deformities usually experience superior mesenteric artery syndrome after orthopedic intervention, with rates after corrective spinal surgery reported between 0.5% and 2.4%. Symptoms of superior mesenteric artery syndrome typically include nausea, bilious emesis, abdominal pain, early satiety, and anorexia. Initial treatment focuses on gastric decompression and maintaining euvolemia and electrolyte balance. The patient should receive enteral nutrition via nasojejunal tube or parenteral nutrition to allow for weight gain and subsequent resolution of the obstruction. The superior mesenteric artery takes off from the duodenum at an angle of 45 degrees to 60 degrees in normal individuals. The third portion of the duodenum is suspended between these vessels by the ligament of Treitz. Any variation in this relationship that decreases the arteriomesenteric angle may induce obstruction. Specifically, lumbar hyperextension or hyperlordosis can traction the mesentery and vessels. Only 2 cases of superior mesenteric artery syndrome in patients with sagittal plane spinal deformity have been described in the literature. In patients with concomitant superior mesenteric artery syndrome and spinal deformity, correction of the deformity may help alleviate the obstruction and result in faster recovery. The contribution of spinal column deformity to the arteriomesenteric angle should not be overlooked.

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