When a person has a blockage in their small intestine, a small intestine resection is used to remove the blocked or damaged part of the intestine, and the two healthy ends of the intestine that surrounded the blockage are reattached to allow normal digestion. This surgery can be performed laparoscopically or in a traditional open procedure. Whenever possible, the surgeons will use the minimally invasive laparoscopic technique because of the benefits for the patient. During the procedure, the surgeon makes 3-5 small incisions in the lower abdomen and uses a laparoscope to see inside the body. Then, specially designed surgical instruments are inserted into the body to reach the diseased part of the intestine and remove it. In most cases, there is enough healthy tissue left for the healthy ends to be reconnected.
A number of conditions can result in the need for surgery on the small intestine. Blockages caused by scar tissue or congenital deformities are a common cause. Ulcers, infection, and bleeding caused by regional ileitis, regional enteritis, and Crohn's disease can also result in surgical intervention. Other conditions include:
After surgery, patients recover in the hospital for between 3 and 7 days. This hospital stay may be longer if the patient’s surgery was an emergency or if a large portion of the small intestine was removed. After 2 or 3 days, patients will begin to drink clear liquids and then build up their diet with thicker fluids then soft foods as the bowel and digestive tract begin to work again. If necessary, patients will receive nutrients through an IV. The hospital stay allows the doctors to monitor your recovery and to ensure that your digestive tract works properly.
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