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A small bowel resection is the removal of part of the small intestine. The small intestine includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The surgery can be done through an open incision or using smaller incisions using a laproscope.
This procedure may be done to treat the following conditions:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Your doctor may do the following:
Leading up to your procedure:
General anesthesia—you will be asleep during the procedure
The procedure may be done with one of two methods:
In either type of surgery, the small intestine will be clamped above and below the diseased section. This section will be cut free and removed.
If there is enough healthy intestine left, the free ends of the intestine may be joined together. Otherwise, a permanent or temporary ileostomy is created. An ileostomy is an opening called a stoma in the abdomen. The end of the small intestine closest to the stomach is attached to the opening. This allows intestinal contents to drain into a sealed pouch on the outside of the body. If a temporary ileostomy is created, another operation will be necessary several months later to reverse it.
The abdomen incisions will be closed with stitches.
About 1-4 hours
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
The usual length of stay is 5-7 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise or if you had a large amount of intestine removed.
A catheter will be placed in your bladder before surgery. You will also have a nasogastric tube. This is a small tube that goes in through your nose and down into your stomach. The tube may be used to drain fluids from your stomach or to help deliver food to your stomach. The catheter and tube will remain until you are able to eat and go to the bathroom normally.
You will have some activity restrictions, such as avoiding heavy lifting. Moving around will help prevent blood clots and promote healing. Follow wound care instructions to avoid infection. Your healthcare team will teach you how to care for your ileostomy and provide you with resources.
It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the hospital. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American College of Surgeons
National Cancer Institute
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Cancer Society
Laparoscopic small bowel resection. Upstate University Hospital website. Available at:
http://www.upstate.edu/community/services/mis/resection.php. Accessed May 23, 2013.
What is a small bowel resection? Greenwich Hospital website. Available at:
http://www.greenhosp.org/upload/docs/FactSheets/English/surgery_Resection.pdf. Updated May 2006. Accessed May 23, 2013.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Am J Med.
Last reviewed January 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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