Redundant colon: A health concern?

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Redundant colon: A health concern?

Question

What are the health implications of a redundant colon?

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Answer

The term "redundant colon" describes a large intestine (colon) that is longer than normal and as a result has repetitive, overlapping loops. Typically, this is a normal anatomic variation. It usually causes no symptoms and needs no treatment. A redundant colon may be found incidentally on a colon X-ray (barium enema) done for some other reason. Rarely, it causes a serious complication if it twists around itself (volvulus) and obstructs the colon. This causes cramping abdominal pain and usually warrants prompt medical attention.

Redundant colon

Illustration of redundant colon

Redundant colon is a term that describes an elongated large intestine (colon) that has repetitive, overlapping loops. Typically, this is considered a normal anatomic variation and isn't a medical concern.

Normal colon

Illustration of normal colon

The large intestine is a muscular tube that extends from the end of the small intestine (ileum) to the anus. It's responsible for extracting water and electrolytes such as sodium from undigested food particles and storing these waste products until they're eliminated through bowel movements.

Last Updated: 10/13/2006
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