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Your Ultimate Guide to Small Bowel Resection Surgery

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Your Ultimate Guide to Small Bowel Resection Surgery

Gastro Science | Posted on 05/06/2024 by Dr. Abhinav Sharma


Small bowel resection surgery is among the vital procedures in gastrointestinal medicine. It involves eliminating a segment of the small intestine to deal with various conditions like tumors, Crohn's disease, and blockages. The frequency of small bowel resection surgeries differs based on the underlying causes and patient demographics. Small intestines also known as small bowels play an important role in maintaining good digestive health. They absorb nutrients and fluid that we are eating or drinking and in addition, they transport waste materials to the large intestine. 

So, if there are issues with the functionalities of the small intestine, then it can put the health at risk. Hence, to remove the damaged section, there is a need for small bowel resection surgery that also assists in blockage removal including other bowel diseases. So, if you often experience gastrointestinal issues, you must book your appointment with one of the Best Gastroenterologist In Jaipur at CK Birla Hospitals. 

For a better understanding of small bowel resection procedures, risks, benefits, and other aspects, we will include a detailed discussion in this blog. However, please note that this write-up is for informative purposes and doesn’t replace the relevance of a doctor’s consultation. 

What is a small bowel resection surgery?

A small bowel resection surgery is a procedure performed to remove a segment of the small intestine to treat several conditions such as tumors, Crohn's disease, obstructions, or injuries that affect this important organ. The diseased section of the small intestine is cautiously removed, and the remaining healthy segments are reattached to restore its functionality. Small bowel resection surgeries are performed with the use of conventional surgery or minimally invasive methods like laparoscopy, based on the patient's condition and the surgeon's inclination. This procedure plays an important role in minimizing gastrointestinal problem symptoms and improves the quality of life for a patient. 

Why is there a need for small bowel resection surgery? 

Small bowel resection surgery is required to handle several medical conditions that affect the small intestine. Here are some of the conditions that need this surgery:

  • Noncancerous tumors 
  • Precancerous polyps 
  • Intestinal obstructions, congenital or from scar tissue 
  • Severe ulcers in the small intestine 
  • Bleeding or infection in the small intestine 
  • Cancer
  • Injuries to the small intestine 

Other diseases leading to inflammation in the intestines also need surgery are:

  • Regional enteritis 
  • Regional ileitis 
  • Crohn’s disease

What are the risks of small bowel resection surgery?

Like any other surgery, small bowel resection surgery also has certain risks such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding in the abdomen 
  • Pus gathered in the abdomen 
  • Scar tissue forming an intestinal obstruction in the belly
  • Intestine passing through the incision into the abdomen, also known as incisional hernia 
  • Stomach issues 
  • Infection in the incision 
  • Incision breaking open 
  • Incision infection 

How to prepare for a small bowel resection surgery?

Several steps are followed to prepare for a small bowel resection surgery to guarantee optimal results and recovery:

  • Firstly, it is vital to understand the procedure, potential risks, and expectations by discussing them with the surgeon.
  • Preoperative tests such as blood work, imaging studies, and a colonoscopy if needed should be done.
  • Provide a medication list that involves supplements to your healthcare team for assistance in understanding when to continue or stop before surgery.
  • One must follow any dietary changes as instructed by your healthcare provider to improve your health before surgery.
  • You should take time to prepare mentally for small bowel resection surgery and the recovery period. You can seek support from loved ones or counseling if required.
  • It is vital to follow any particular instructions given by the doctor such as fasting, hygiene, and medication management.

What happens during a small bowel resection surgery?

The patient is placed under general anesthesia during a small bowel resection surgery to ensure comfort and immobility. The surgeon starts the procedure by making an incision in the belly to access the small intestine. The diseased segment of the small bowel is cautiously detected and removed. Specialized methods like stapling or suturing are involved to reattach the healthy portions of the intestine. Temporary or permanent ostomies are developed to transfer the flow of intestinal constituents in certain cases. The patient is monitored closely after closing the incision to confirm the successful results of the procedure. 

What happens after a small bowel resection surgery? 

After a small bowel resection surgery, the patient is closely monitored to ensure important signs are stable. Pain management medications are managed as required to ensure that the patient is in comfort. The patient is urged to get back to their regular activities such as walking to assist in recovery gradually. Depending on the severity of the surgery and factors individually, the patient is asked to follow dietary changes so that the intestines can recover smoothly. Follow-up and regular appointments with the surgeon are planned to look after progress and deal with any concerns. With the right care and adherence to postoperative instructions, most patients can return to normal activities and have better gastrointestinal functionality.


Small bowel resection surgery is one of the relevant medical interventions to enhance the lives of patients experiencing several gastrointestinal conditions. There is a comprehensive discussion on the intricacies of the procedure, from its requirements to the steps included and the journey of recovery. It is recommended to work with your healthcare professional if any complications are experienced after a small bowel resection surgery. They will ensure controlling any symptoms experienced as there are chances of bleeding in the belly, incision breaking open, infection in the incision, etc. Hence, if these symptoms worsen, follow-up with a surgeon should not be delayed. 



Is small bowel resection a major surgery?

Yes, small bowel resection surgery is known to be a major procedure as it requires hospitalization for a few days and lifestyle changes to smoothen the recovery process. 

Can you live a normal life after a small bowel resection?

Yes, most people can live a normal life after a small bowel resection surgery and can return to their daily routine after recovery. 

How successful is bowel resection surgery?

Bowel resection surgery is known to be a successful surgical procedure when it comes to treating conditions such as cancer, Crohn's disease, or diverticulitis, aiming to remove damaged segments of the intestines and revive normal function.