A bowel or colon perforation is a serious surgical complication that can cause a blood infection, sepsis, peritonitis, organ failure and even death. When an intestine has a hole in it, is torn, perforated or nicked, the bowel contents and bacteria can leak into the abdominal area, causing an inflammation or infection.
A bowel perforation can be a risk of a procedure but also can occur in the absence of medical malpractice or surgical error during a colonoscopy, laparoscopic procedure, hysterectomy, appendectomy or other abdominal operation. It can also occur spontaneously due to a ruptured diverticulum, Crohn’s disease or other underlying intestinal problem. When a hole in the bowel or colon develops, it is important that it is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to prevent damage to other organs.
If promptly diagnosed, a hole or tear can be repaired or the damaged portion of an intestine removed before causing any further damage or injuries. Sometimes, a patient may require a temporary colostomy until the bowel heals. Failure to recognize a perforated colon or a delay in diagnosing a bowel perforation can lead to lifelong pain and suffering or death.