Small Bowel Resection
(Small Intestine Surgery; Ileum Surgery)
DefinitionA 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.
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Reasons for ProcedureThis procedure may be done to treat the following conditions:
- Intestinal blockage
- Bleeding, infection, ulcers, or holes in the small intestines
- Precancerous polyps
- Crohns disease
Possible ComplicationsProblems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Excessive bleeding
- Blockage of the intestine caused by scar tissue
- Hernia formation at the incision site
- Leakage from joining of intestinal edges
- Inability to get enough nutrients and vitaminsif too much intestine needed to be removed
- Previous abdominal surgery
- Chronic illness
- Drug use
What to Expect
Prior to ProcedureYour doctor may do the following:
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
- Your doctor may advise antibiotics.
- Your intestines should be cleaned out for the surgery. During the week before surgery, eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water. This will encourage bowel movements. Other cleansing methods may also be recommended, including enemas, laxatives, and a clear-liquid diet. You may be asked to drink a large container of solution that helps with the complete emptying of your intestines.
- Begin fasting as directed by your doctor.
AnesthesiaGeneral anesthesia—you will be asleep during the procedure
Description of ProcedureThe procedure may be done with one of two methods:
- Traditional open incision—An incision will be made into the abdomen in the area of the diseased intestine.
- Laparoscopic technique—A few small incisions will be made in the abdomen. Carbon dioxide gas will be pumped into the abdomen through an incision. A laparoscope, which is a thin tube with a small camera on the end, will be inserted through the incisions. Special tools will also be inserted through these incisions. The laparoscope sends a view of the interior of the abdomen to a video monitor.
|Pouch Created During Ileostomy|
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How Long Will It Take?About 1-4 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital StayThe 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.
Post-procedure CareAt the HospitalA 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.At HomeYou 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.
Call Your DoctorIt 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:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Any redness, swelling, bleeding, or drainage from the incision site
- Your bandage becomes soaked with blood
- Stitches or staples come apart
- Persistent nausea and/or vomiting
- Persistent abdominal pain or bloating
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding or tarry-colored stools
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you've been given
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent blood in the urine
- New symptoms
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%5FResection.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. 2011;124(2):144-154.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015
- Update Date: 05/07/2014