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Alternative Names Return to topSmall intestine surgery; Bowel resection - small intestine; Resection of part of the small intestine; Enterectomy
Definition Return to top
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.
Description Return to top
You will receive general anesthesia right before your surgery. This will make you unconscious and unable to feel pain.
If you have laparoscopic surgery:
If you have open surgery, you will probably have an incision about6 inches long in your mid-belly.
In both kinds of surgery:
Your surgeon may also look at lymph nodes and other organs in your belly area and may remove some of them.
This surgery usually takes 1 to 4 hours.
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
Small bowel resection may be recommended for:
Risks Return to top
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for this surgery include:
Before the Procedure Return to top
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
Talk with your doctor or nurse about these things before you have surgery:
During the 2 weeks before your surgery:
The day before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
After the Procedure Return to top
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 in longer if a large amount of your small intestine was removed, or if you develop any other problems.
By the second day, you will most likely be able to drink clear liquids. Your doctor or nurse will slowly add thicker fluids and then soft foods 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 tube for a period of time. First you will have a tube that delivers nutrition into your veins, and then you will have a feeding tube that goes into your stomach.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Most people who have a small bowel resection recover fully. Even with an ileostomy, most people are able to do most activities they were doing before their surgery. This includes 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 chronic condition, such as cancer, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, you may need ongoing medical treatment.
References Return to top
Fry RD, Mahmoud N, Maron DJ, Ross HM, Rombeau J. Coln and rectum. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 50.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.