Abdominal Masses in Children: A 10-Year Review

  • C. C. Nwokoro
  • O. M. Fatungase
  • B. A. Salami
  • A. O. Shonubi
  • A. O. Adekoya
  • A. A. Oyelekan
Keywords: Abdominal masses, Appendiceal mass, Children, Malignancy


Background: Some childhood diseases present with abdominal masses alone or with other constitutional symptoms. The knowledge of the common causes of abdominal masses in children can assist in developing a protocol of management by clinicians.

Objective: To describe the aetiology and presentation of abdominal masses in children.

Methods: The hospital records of all cases of intra-abdominal masses in children managed between May 1998 and April 2008 were retrieved for analysis. Socio-demographic and clinical data were obtained and analysed using simple descriptive statistics.

Results: A total of 93 children were included while those without clinical, radiological and intra-operative evidence of intra-abdominal masses were excluded from the study. There were 49 males (52.7%) and 44 (47.3%) females with male-to-female ratio of 1.1:1. The children were aged 1 day to 14 years; 15 (16.1%) were aged <3 years while 23 (24.7%), 27 (29%) and 14 (15.1%) each were aged 3-6 years, >6-9 years, >9-12 years and >12-14 years. The most common cause of abdominal masses was appendiceal mass/abscess in 29%, followed by hydronephrosis in 22.6% and nephroblastoma in 16.11%. The most common symptoms included abdominal pain (86.0%), fever (46.2%), vomiting (40.9%) and abdominal distension (32.2%). The mortality rate was 13%.

Conclusion: Non-malignant conditions were mostly responsible for abdominal masses in children while abdominal pain, fever and vomiting were the leading presentations of abdominal masses in children.

Author Biographies

C. C. Nwokoro
Department of Surgery,
Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital,
Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria
O. M. Fatungase
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu.
B. A. Salami
Department of Surgery, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria
A. O. Shonubi
Department of Surgery, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria
A. O. Adekoya
Department of Surgery, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria
A. A. Oyelekan
Department of Surgery, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria


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