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01.12.2015 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Surgery 1/2015

Case report: rare case of mechanical bowel obstruction due to strangulation by gastric stimulator electrodes

BMC Surgery > Ausgabe 1/2015
Hans Lederhuber, Stephan Axer, Christof Ihle
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

HL collected the patient’s history data, assisted in the laparotomy and contributed to postoperative management. HL drafted, organized and wrote the manuscript. CI conducted the laparotomy and contributed to postoperative management. SA and CI discussed and critically reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Implantation of a gastric stimulator is a feasible surgical therapy for patients with therapy refractory gastroparesis. In addition it seems to be a promising alternative for treating morbid obesity. We present for the first time the surgical emergency of small bowel obstruction due to strangulation by gastric stimulator electrodes.

Case presentation

A 59-year-old Caucasian female had undergone implantation of a gastric stimulator to cope with the symptoms of a partial gastroparesis. Eight years after the operation, the patient began to present repeatedly to different hospitals because of abdominal pain and nausea. Symptoms and imaging indicated ileus, which could always be treated conservatively. The underlying pathology could not ultimately be determined and the symptoms were eventually considered gastroparesis-related. After two years the patient was finally referred in circulatory shock due to peritonitis with underlying small bowel obstruction. Emergency laparotomy revealed small bowel strangulation by the gastric stimulator electrodes.


Repeated presentation of a patient with an unfamiliar treatment modality must raise suspicion of unusual complications. Specialist surgeons treating with innovative methods should provide proper information that is accessible to everyone who might have to treat possible complications.
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