What is Small Intestine Surgery

What is Small Intestine Surgery?

Your small intestines are critical to maintaining digestive health. They absorb nutrients and fluid from what you eat or drink and are also known as the small bowel. They are also responsible for transporting waste to the large intestine.

Difficulties in the functioning of the digestive system can jeopardize your health. If you have intestinal blockages or other bowel diseases including small intestine cancer, you may require surgery to remove a damaged or diseased section of your small intestine. This procedure is known as Small Intestine Surgery or Small Bowel Resection

Many factors can contribute to small bowel obstruction, including adhesions, hernias, and inflammatory bowel disorders. The symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment are all covered.

What Is Small Intestine?

The small intestine, also known as the small bowel, is 20 to 30 feet long and 1 inch in diameter. It has numerous folds that enable it to fit into the abdominal cavity. The small bowel connects to the stomach at one end and the large intestine at the other.

There are three sections to the small intestine: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Food that has been partially digested travels from the stomach to the small intestine, where the final digestive processes take place. Its lining absorbs nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Read also: What is Esophagus Surgery or Esophagectomy?

Why Is Small Intestine Surgery Performed?

A partial or complete blockage of the small intestine is referred to as a small bowel obstruction. If the small bowel is healthy, digested products will continue to flow to the large intestine. A small bowel obstruction can partially or completely prevent components from passing through. As a result, waste matter and gases accumulate in the area above the blockage. It may also interfere with nutrient and fluid absorption.

The following conditions may require surgery:

  • Small intestine bleeding, infection or severe ulcers
  • Intestine blockage, either congenital (present at birth) or due to scar tissue
  • Tumors that aren’t cancerous
  • Polyps that are precancerous
  • Cancer
  • Small intestine injuries
  • The diverticulum of Meckel (a pouch of intestine present at birth)

Signs and Symptoms of Small Intestine or Small Bowel Obstruction

Small bowel obstruction symptoms may include the following:

  • Cramps and pain in the abdomen (stomach).
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Illness (an overall feeling of illness)
  • Appetite loss
  • Constipation is severe.

What is the procedure for a small bowel resection?

This surgery requires general anesthesia. You will be asleep and pain-free during the procedure. Depending on the reason for the surgery, the procedure can last anywhere from one to eight hours.

Small bowel resection can be performed in two ways: open surgery or laparoscopic surgery.

Open Surgery

An incision in the abdomen is required for open surgery. The length and location of the incision, which are generally large, is determined by a number of factors, including the specific location of your problem and the build of your body.

Your surgeon locates the affected section of your small intestine, clamps it, and removes it.

Laparoscopic surgery

Laparoscopic or robotic surgery employs three to five much smaller incisions. To inflate your abdomen, your surgeon first injects gas into it. This improves visibility.

They then locate the diseased area, clamp it off, and remove it using miniature lights, cameras, and small tools. A robot may be used to assist in this type of surgery.

After Small Intestine Surgery:

You will be hospitalized for 3 to 5 days. If your surgery was an emergency, you may have to stay longer. You may also need to stay longer if a large portion of your small intestine was removed or if you develop complications.

You should be able to drink clear liquids by the second or third day. As your bowel begins to function again, you will be given thicker fluids and then soft foods.

If a large portion of your small intestine was removed, you may require liquid nutrition via a vein for a period of time. To deliver nutrition, a special vein will be placed in your neck or upper chest area.

Recovery Diet Tips For Small Intestine Surgery:

Following your surgery, you may be told what you can and cannot eat. Some foods can irritate your intestine or worsen the side effects of surgery.

Here are some pointers on what to avoid and how your diet should change after surgery:

  • Take a Low Fibre or Liquid Diet.
  • Avoid any tough or stringy foods (celery, tough meats).
  • Eat or drink small meals every 2 hours. 
  • Large meals can cause more discomfort so avoid Chewy or Crunchy Food
  • Avoid carbonated drinks
  • Strictly avoid drinking alcohol
  • Take required multivitamin and mineral supplement as prescribed

What is the long-term prospect of Small Intestine Surgery?

The majority of people recover well from this surgery. You can resume most of your normal activities even if you have an ileostomy and must wear a drainage bag.

If you had a large section of your bowel removed, you may experience diarrhea. You may also have difficulty absorbing enough nutrients from your diet.

Inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease or small bowel cancer will almost certainly necessitate additional medical treatment prior to this surgery.


Q. How long is recovery from small intestine surgery?

A. People spend an average of 3-5 days in the hospital, but complete recovery from small intestine surgery takes four to six weeks. The length of time depends on your pre-and post-surgery health. Also for several weeks, your bowel movements may be irregular. You may also have blood in your stool.

Q. What can you eat after small intestine surgery?

A. Light & Low Fiber Food. After a small intestine surgery, you should be able to drink fluids right away. After a few days, you can begin to eat real food. Start with soft foods like cooked vegetables, bananas, avocados, mashed potatoes, and tender proteins, as advised by your doctor.

Q. Is bowel resection major surgery?

A. Yes, bowel resection is major surgery. The patient can be admitted to the hospital for a few days following your procedure. As you continue to recover at home, you may need to make changes to your diet, such as eating foods that are easy to digest.

Q. Is bowel resection surgery painful?

A. The doctor made a large cut in your belly, known as an incision, to remove part of your intestine. You will most likely experience intermittent pain for the next few days following bowel surgery. You may experience bowel cramps, and your cut (incision) may be painful. You may also experience flu-like symptoms (flu).

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