Matthew Perry recently had emergency surgery to repair a gastrointestinal perforation and it turns out the condition can be very serious if not treated quickly. Here’s what you should know.
Matthew Perry, 48, had a big health scare recently when he had to be rushed into a Los Angeles hospital to repair a gastrointestinal perforation and although he’s still recovering, the surgical procedure he had prevented things from going downhill very quickly. A tracheostomy (also called a tracheotomy) was also reportedly performed on Matthew so doctors could access his throat and help him breathe during the repair. What causes a gastrointestinal perforation and how exactly is it repaired? Here’s everything you should know about the potentially dangerous condition.
1.) It means there is literally a hole in the wall part of the gastrointestinal tract. The tract includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. If the wall ruptures for some reason, it is considered a perforation aka a ruptured bowel and needs to be taken care of immediately.
2.) The hole can be caused by many things. One of the causes is trauma such as a knife wound or eating a sharp object. A medical procedure called a colonoscopy can also cause it. The other non-traumatic cause is a bowel obstruction that derives from issues like colon cancer, stomach ulcers, appendicitis, or various infections, which can all have their own underlying causes. Once a hole is in the intestinal wall, it allows intestinal contents to enter the abdominal cavity and if bacteria is present, it can cause inflammation in part of the cavity called peritonitis.
3.) It can be repaired in various ways. The condition usually requires emergency surgery like Matthew had and the surgical procedure typically chosen is called an exploratory laparotomy. This is when the abdomen is opened and the abdominal organs are looked at for any injuries or diseases. This procedure is also usually done while giving the patient intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Some of the antibiotics that may be given include piperacillin/tazobactam or a mixture of ciprofloxacin and metronidazole. Depending on the severity of the rupture, sometimes it can be sewn closed while other times an intestine (bowel) has to be removed, which is called a bowel resection.
4.) The symptoms of the condition can vary. Some may include sudden pain (burning or non burning) in the upper abdomen, flatulence, heartburn, nausea, vomiting or a feeling of fullness. A fever or chills can also develop after these symptoms. The abdomen can also become tender to the touch.
5.) There can be some serious complications if not treated properly or in time. These include sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which the body responds to an infection by injuring its tissues and organs, and/or an abscess, which is a collection of pus built up within the tissue of the body.