Medical Must-See: Colossal constipation

A man in China has undergone surgery to remove almost a metre of colon with 13kg of impacted faeces after a lifetime of chronic constipation.

The 22-year-old presented to Shanghai’s Tenth People’s Hospital with a grossly distended abdomen that was affecting his ability to talk and even breathe, according to Chinese publication the Paper.

The patient reportedly told doctors that he had been constipated since birth, with laxatives providing very little relief.

A CT scan confirmed a diagnosis of Hirschsprung's disease: a congenital disorder characterised by the absence of ganglia in the large intestine, most often in the distal colon.

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The missing nerve cells stop the natural peristaltic movement of the intestines, resulting in constipation and faecal impaction.

Also known as congenital megacolon, the disease is usually diagnosed in the days after birth; however, the man’s parents failed to recognise the significance of his condition.

In a three-hour operation, doctors removed 76cm of the patient’s colon, containing faeces weighing a whopping 13kg, and can be seen cradling the swollen segment in their scrubs.

More information:

The Paper's report