What to Expect during a Small Bowel Resection

What to Expect during a Small Bowel Resection

The small intestines are vital in guaranteeing good digestive health. However, if you experience intestinal blockages or a section gets damaged by a disease, your health becomes at risk. Luckily, a general surgeon can perform a small bowel surgery to remove the damaged portion.

What is small bowel resection?

The surgeon operates on a patient to remove a damaged section of the small intestine. It can be due to a disease that has damaged the part or blockages.

Which conditions require small bowel surgery/ resection?

  • Ulcers, bleeding, or infections in the small intestine.
  • Blockages that are congenital or from scar tissue.
  • Cancer
  • Regional enteritis
  • Noncancerous tumors
  • Injury
  • Precancerous polyps
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Meckel’s diverticulum

How to prepare for a small bowel surgery?

Before you get into the surgery, you need to complete a physical examination. First, inform your surgeon if you have other underlying medical conditions like diabetes to continue getting treatment.

Also, let your doctor know of all the medications, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. Mention any drugs that thin your blood to avoid excess bleeding and complications during surgery. Some include warfarin, ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, and vitamin E. Most importantly, avoid smoking a few weeks before the resection.

If you fall sick a few days before your surgery, then the surgeon will have to push the procedure to another date when your body is stable.

What to expect during the small bowel resection

Your surgeon gives you general anesthesia for the surgery to make you sleep and feel no pain. There is also relaxation of the abdominal wall to enable the doctor to access the small bowel.

Small bowel resection happens through two approaches:

Open surgery

The surgeon creates an incision into the abdomen. The length and location of the incision are based on several factors. They include the size of your body and the section of the problem. When your surgeon gets to the damaged area of your small intestines, he/ she clamps and removes it.

 Laparoscopic surgery

The approach is also known as robotic laparoscopic surgery. Under this, the surgeon makes 3-5 tiny incisions in the abdomen. The doctor then pumps carbon dioxide into the belly to expand it. That way, the surgeon can easily see the damaged area.

There is then the use of 3D HD cameras, miniature lights, and small tools to locate the affected area, clamp, and remove it.

Finishing the surgery

If the remaining healthy small intestines are enough, the surgeon sews the two end cuts together. Medical experts refer to the process as anastomosis.

In situations where your intestines cannot reconnect, your doctor may create a small opening in your tummy known as a stoma. They take the intestine end close to the stomach and attach it to your tummy’s wall.

Therefore, your small bowel will drain out via the stoma into a drainage bag through the process called an ileostomy. It can be temporal to allow the intestines to heal or permanent.

Recovery after the surgery

You may have to stay in the hospital for up to seven days after completing the surgery. Within that time, you use a catheter placed in your bladder to drain urine into a bag.

Also, your doctor will insert a nasogastric tube through your nose into your stomach. Its purpose is to deliver food to your tummy directly and drain contents if need be. You only have to take clear liquids two to seven days after a successful surgery.

If you are having problems with your small intestines, get in touch with a qualified general surgeon. The doctor will diagnose your condition and recommend a suitable treatment plan to restore your health. Don’t die in silence.

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