Small Bowel Resection
(Small Intestine Surgery; Ileum Surgery)
by Editorial Staff and Contributors
A small bowel resection is the removal of part of the small intestine. The small intestine includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The surgery can be done through an open incision or using smaller incisions.
Reasons for Procedure
This procedure may be done to treat the following conditions:
Possible Complications TOP
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a resection, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
Leading up to your procedure:
General anesthesia will be given. You will be asleep.
Description of Procedure
The procedure may be done with one of two methods:
In either type of surgery, the small intestine will be clamped above and below the diseased section. This section will be cut free and removed.
If there is enough healthy intestine left, the free ends of the intestine may be joined together. Otherwise, a permanent or temporary ileostomy is created. An ileostomy is an opening called a stoma in the abdomen. The end of the small intestine closest to the stomach is attached to the opening. This allows intestinal contents to drain into a sealed pouch on the outside of the body. If a temporary ileostomy is created, another operation will be necessary several months later to reverse it.
The abdomen incisions will be closed with stitches.
How Long Will It Take?
About 1-4 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Talk to your doctor about medicine to help manage the pain in recovery.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 5-7 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.
At the Hospital
A catheter will be placed in your bladder before surgery. You will also have a nasogastric tube. This is a small tube that goes in through your nose and down into your stomach. The tube may be used to drain fluids from your stomach or to help deliver food to your stomach. The catheter and tube will remain until you are able to eat and go to the bathroom normally.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Call Your Doctor TOP
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American College of Surgeons
National Cancer Institute
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG)
Canadian Cancer Society
Laparoscopic small bowel resection. Upstate University Hospital website. Available at: http://www.upstate.edu/community/services/mis/resection.php. Accessed May 23, 2013.
What is a small bowel resection? Greenwich Hospital website. Available at: http://www.greenho.... Updated May 2006. Accessed May 23, 2013.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Daus Mahnke, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 3/18/2013