Small bowel resection


Definition

Small bowel resection is surgery to remove part or all of your small bowel. It is done when part of your small bowel is blocked or diseased.

The small bowel is also called the small intestine. Most digestion (breaking down and absorbing nutrients) of the food you eat takes place in the small intestine.

Alternative Names

Small intestine surgery; Bowel resection - small intestine; Resection of part of the small intestine; Enterectomy

Description

You will receive general anesthesia at the time of your surgery. This will keep you asleep and pain-free.

The surgery can be performed laparoscopically or with open surgery.

If you have laparoscopic surgery:

If you have open surgery:

In both kinds of surgery, the next steps are:

Small bowel resection usually takes 1 to 4 hours.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Small bowel resection is used to treat:

Risks

Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Risks for this surgery include:

Before the Procedure

Tell your surgeon or nurse what medicines you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

Talk with your surgeon or nurse about how surgery will affect:

During the 2 weeks before your surgery:

The day before surgery:

On the day of surgery:

After the Procedure

You will be in the hospital for 3 to 7 days. You may have to stay longer if your surgery was an emergency operation.

You also may need to stay longer if a large amount of your small intestine was removed or you develop problems.

By the second or third day, you will most likely be able to drink clear liquids. Thicker fluids and then soft foods will be added as your bowel begins to work again.

If a large amount of your small intestine was removed, you may need to receive liquid nutrition through a vein (IV) for a period of time. A special IV will be placed in your neck or upper chest area to deliver nutrition.

 After you go home, follow instructions on how to take care of yourself as you heal.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most people who have a small bowel resection recover fully. Even with an ileostomy, most people are able to do the activities they were doing before their surgery. This include most sports, travel, gardening, hiking, and other outdoor activities, and most types of work.

If a large part of your small intestine was removed, you may have problems with loose stools and getting enough nutrients from the food you eat.

If you have a long-term (chronic) condition, such as cancer, Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis, you may need ongoing medical treatment.

References

Harris JW, Evers BM. Small intestine. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 49.

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