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Case Reports in Surgery
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 719713, 3 pages
Case Report

Pneumatosis Intestinalis: Not Always a Surgical Indication

1Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
2Department of Radiology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA

Received 7 October 2012; Accepted 24 October 2012

Academic Editors: H. Kawai, G. Santori, M. Shimoda, and B. Tokar

Copyright © 2012 Haijing Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present a case of pneumatosis intestinalis (PI) of the colon in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease that was treated with medical management rather than emergent surgery. While the reflex response to extraluminal air in the abdomen is abdominal exploration, consideration of the clinical context in which PI is discovered and an understanding of a complete differential diagnosis of the sources of PI is critical to avoiding unnecessary surgery.