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Intestinal obstruction repair

Contents of this page:


Intussusception - X-ray
Intussusception - X-ray
Before and after small intestine anastomosis
Before and after small intestine anastomosis
Intestinal obstruction (Pediatric) - series
Intestinal obstruction (Pediatric) - series
Intestinal obstruction repair - series
Intestinal obstruction repair - series

Alternative Names    Return to top

Repair of volvulus; Reduction of intussusception, lysis of intestinal adhesions

Definition    Return to top

Intestinal obstruction repair is surgery to relieve a bowel obstruction (blockage). A complete obstruction is a surgical emergency, no matter what the cause is.

Description    Return to top

Intestinal obstruction repair is done while you are under general anesthesia. This makes you unconscious and unable to feel pain.

The surgeon makes an incision (cut) in your belly to expose your intestines. Then the surgeon locates the area of your intestine (also called "bowel") that is blocked. The blockage will be freed. Any injured sections of your bowel will be repaired or removed. If a section is removed, the healthy ends will be reconnected with stitches.

See also: Large bowel resection

Sometimes when part of the intestine is removed, the ends cannot be reconnected. If this happens, the surgeon will bring the ends out through an opening called a colostomy. The surgeon will make this opening in your belly.

The surgeon will also examine the bowel for lack of blood flow.

Why the Procedure is Performed    Return to top

A blockage in the bowel keeps stool from moving through. Gas gets trapped inside the bowel, and that causes swelling and abdominal distention. A blockage that lasts for a long time keeps blood from flowing normally. Poor blood flow can cause parts of the bowel to die.

Causes of intestinal obstruction include:

Surgery is often needed to treat a bowel obstruction. The type of operation depends on the cause of the obstruction.

Risks    Return to top

Risks for any surgery are:

Other risks of abdominal surgery are:

Before the Procedure    Return to top

This surgery is usually done for two reasons:

Because of this, most patients who have this surgery do not prepare for it the same way they would prepare for a surgery that is planned ahead of time.

After the Procedure    Return to top

The time it takes to recover from bowel obstruction surgery depends on the specific type of operation that was done to correct the obstruction and on the person's general health.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

The outcome is usually good if the obstruction is treated before tissue damage or tissue death occurs in the bowel. Some people may have more bowel obstruction in the future.

References    Return to top

Turnage RH, Heldmann M, Cole P. Intestinal obstruction and illeus. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006:chap 116.

Update Date: 1/26/2009

Updated by: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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