Small Bowel Resection
(Small Intestine Surgery; Ileum Surgery)
by Amy Scholten, MPH
A small bowel resection is the removal of part of the small intestine.
Reasons for Procedure
This surgery may be done to treat a variety of conditions, such as:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor will give general anesthesia. You will be asleep.
Description of Procedure
The surgery may be done in one of two ways:
An incision will be made in the abdomen. The diseased section of intestine will be removed. If any healthy intestine is left, the ends will be joined together. If not, an opening (stoma) in the abdomen will be made to allow stool to exit into a bag. The surgical incision will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over the area.
Small incisions will be made in the abdomen. A tube will be passed through one of the incisions. It will push gas into the belly. This will make it easier for the doctor to view the area. A camera will allow the doctor to see inside the belly. Other tools will be passed through the incisions. They will be used to remove the diseased section of intestine. If any healthy intestine is left, the ends will be joined together. If not, an opening (stoma) in the abdomen will be made to allow stool to exit into a bag. The surgical incisions will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over the area.
How Long Will It Take?
About 1 to 4 hours
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first week. Medicine and home care help.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 5 to 7 days. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
After the procedure, the staff may:
Recovery will take 1 to 2 months. Physical activity will be limited during this time. You will need to delay your return to work.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American College of Surgeons
National Cancer Institute
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Cancer Society
Colorectal surgery considerations. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/colorectal-surgery-considerations. Accessed January 14, 2021.
Lopes M, Duarte T, et al. Clinical outcome of patients submitted to resection of the small bowel segments. Clin Surg. 2018; 3: 2061.
Small bowel resection. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002943.htm. Accessed January 14, 2021.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD