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Small Bowel Resection


You may need surgery to remove a damaged section of your small intestines if you have intestinal blockages or other bowel diseases. This surgery is called a small bowel resection.


Conditions that might require surgery include:

  • Bleeding, infection, or severe ulcers in the small intestine.
  • Blockage in the intestines, either congenital (present at birth) or from scar tissue.
  • Noncancerous tumours.
  • Precancerous polyps.
  • Cancer.
  • Injuries to the small intestine.
  • Meckel’s diverticulum (a pouch of intestine present at birth).

Diseases that cause inflammation in the intestines may also require surgery. Such conditions include:

  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Regional ileitis.
  • Regional enteritis.

Preoperative Instructions

Before the procedure, you’ll have a complete physical exam. Your doctor will ensure that you’re receiving effective treatment for any other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.


There are two main types of small bowel resection: open surgery or laparoscopic surgery.

Open surgery

Open surgery requires a surgeon to make an incision in the abdomen. The location and length of the incision depend upon a variety of factors such as the specific location of your problem and build of your body. Your surgeon finds the affected part of your small intestine, clamps it off, and removes it.

Laparoscopic surgery

Laparoscopic or robotic surgery uses three to five much smaller incisions.

During the operation

  • The diseased segment of small intestine is identified.
  • Small bowel resection is carried on with end to end join.
  • If a join is not feasible, then a stoma will be fashioned.

Postoperative Instructions

  • You’ll need to stay in the hospital for five to seven days after the surgery.
  • nasogastric tube might be needed.
  • You may be able to drink clear liquids two to seven days after the surgery.


Any surgery has potential risks, including:

  • Blood clots in the legs.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke.
  • Damage to surrounding structures.
  • Your doctor and care team will work hard to prevent these problems.

Risks specific to small bowel surgery include:

  • Frequent diarrhea.
  • Bleeding in the belly.
  • Abdominal abscess
  • Hernia
  • Scar tissue that forms an intestinal blockage requiring more surgery.
  • Inadequate remaining of the small bowel (short bowel syndrome)
  • Leaking at the area where the small intestine is reconnected (anastomosis).
  • Problems with stoma.
  • Incision breaking open (dehiscence).
  • Infection of the incision.