Sclerosing Encapsulating Peritonitis: Review

Norman O. Machado


Sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis (SEP) is a rare chronic inflammatory condition of the peritoneum with an unknown aetiology. Also known as abdominal cocoon, the condition occurs when loops of the bowel are encased within the peritoneal cavity by a membrane, leading to intestinal obstruction. Due to its rarity and nonspecific clinical features, it is often misdiagnosed. The condition presents with recurrent episodes of small bowel obstruction and can be idiopathic or secondary; the latter is associated with predisposing factors such as peritoneal dialysis or abdominal tuberculosis. In the early stages, patients can be managed conservatively; however, surgical intervention is necessary for those with advanced stage intestinal obstruction. A literature review revealed 118 cases of SEP; the mean age of these patients was 39 years and 68.0% were male. The predominant presentation was abdominal pain (72.0%), distension (44.9%) or a mass (30.5%). Almost all of the patients underwent surgical excision (99.2%) without postoperative complications (88.1%).

Keywords: Intestinal Diseases; Peritonitis; Sclerosis; Membrane Tissue; Abdominal Pain; Intestinal Obstruction.

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