A resection of the small bowel is done for the following reasons:
- Blockage of the intestine due to scar tissue, deformities, or tumours.
- Bleeding, infection, or ulcers of the small intestine due to inflammation (Chron’s Disease or Enteritis).
- Dead bowel due to decreased/lack of blood flow to portions of bowel that have become entrapped in abdominal wall defects.
- Dead bowel due to blood clots obstructing blood flow to portion of the bowel.
- Perforation of intestine due to several reasons.
Small bowel resection can be done during an open or laparoscopic procedure depending on the timing and indication for the surgery. The portion of the small bowel to be removed depends on the part of the intestine that is damaged or diseased. After the portion of the bowel is removed the two severed ends are reattached either by stitching with a thread or stappling together as indicated in the diagram.
- Superficial wound infection in the surgical wound.
- A breakdown or leak at the site where the intestine was reconnected. This can result in leakage of bowel contents into the abdominal cavity in 1 – 5% of cases, which may require repeat operation to repair.
- Formation of an unnatural opening from the bowel to the skin surface
- Future risk for obstruction due to kinking of the bowel, this carries a 10% lifetime risk for abdominal operations.
- Short bowel syndrome – when a large portion of the small intestine is removed the ability to absorb nutrients is drastically decreased which leads to protein-calorie malnutrition, diarrhoea, fatty stools (steatorrhea), weight loss and deficiencies in certain vitamins and nutrients.
After your consultation:
- Obtain authorization from your medical aid and book your bed for your hospital admission.
- Carefully read through pre-operative information provided.
Day before surgery:
- Do not eat/drink after 22h00, the night before your surgery, unless otherwise specified by your surgeon or anaesthetist (you should be fasting for at least 6 hours before the procedure for solids but you are allowed to take clear liquids up to two hours before your procedure).
Day of surgery:
- Arrive for admission at indicated time on ‘Code & Consent’ sheet.
- Change into theatre attire, remove all valuable belongings.
Approximately 60-90 minutes.
Duration of hospital stay:
- 5 – 10 days, depending on bowel movements
- Refrain from strenuous activities (incl. exercise) for at least 4 weeks post-operatively
Back to work:
- Sick leave required post-operatively is approximately 3 – 4 weeks in total
Some pain and discomfort post operatively may be expected following any operation, but the following measures are used to lessen the pain experienced:
- Warming devises in theatre as well as warm intravenous fluids.
- Intra-operative pain medication through the drip.
- Post-operative medication through the drip, please inform the nurses if you are in pain so that medication will be administered to you.
- As close to one week after discharge as possible. Please contact the rooms to schedule an appointment.