Medline: 3759581

International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 12(9): 1565-1573, 1986.

A prospective study of treatment techniques to minimize the volume of pelvic small bowel with reduction of acute and late effects associated with pelvic irradiation.

Gallagher MJ, Brereton HD, Rostock RA, et al.


The volume, distribution, and mobility of opacified pelvic small bowel (PSB) were determined by fluoroscopy and orthogonal radiographs in 150 consecutive patients undergoing pelvic irradiation. Various techniques including uteropexy, omental transposition, bladder distention, inclining the patient, and anterior abdominal wall compression in the supine and prone treatment position were studied for their effect on the volume and location of small bowel within the pelvis. Abdominal wall compression in the prone position combined with bladder distention was selected for further investigation because of its simplicity, reproducibility, patient comfort, and ability to displace the small bowel. Factors correlating with the volume of pelvic small bowel (PSB) included prior pelvic surgery, pelvic irradiation (XRT), and body mass index. After pelvic surgery, especially following abdominoperineal resection (APR), there was a greater volume of PSB which was also less mobile. The severity of acute gastrointestinal effects positively correlated with the volume of irradiated small bowel. Overall, 67% of patients experienced little or no diarrhea, 30% developed mild diarrhea, and no patient required treatment interruption. Late gastrointestinal effects correlated with the prior pelvic surgery and with the volume of small bowel receiving greater than 45 Gy. Small bowel obstruction was not observed in 75 patients who had no previous pelvic surgery. However, following pelvic surgery excluding APR, 2/50 patients and following APR, 3/25 patients developed small bowel obstruction.

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