Laparoscopic Small Bowel Resection

Indications for laparoscopic small bowel resection are usually for diseases such as Crohn's disease which often involves repeated episodes of inflammation and scarring which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. It most often affects the small bowel. Unfortunately, surgery is not considered curative and most patients who have Crohn's disease will require at least one if not more than one operation in their lifetime. Surgery is recommended when therapy with medication no longer appears to be helping. The benefits of this procedure are a shorter hospital stay, a quicker return to eating solid foods, less pain after surgery, and faster healing. Also, less scar tissue develops after a laparoscopic bowel resection which generally makes additional surgery less complicated. Other indications for laparoscopic bowel resection may involve scar tissue from previous surgery.

What is a laparoscopic small bowel resection? What are the benefits of this procedure?

A laparoscopic small bowel resection is a procedure in which a surgeon uses several small incisions, special instruments, a videoscope with a TV monitor to remove a section of the small bowel. The benefits of this procedure are a shorter hospital stay, quicker return to eating solid foods, less pain after surgery, and faster healing.

What are the risks of this procedure?

As with any surgery, there is the risk of bleeding, infection and damage to surrounding structures and organs and a leak at the site of the bowel anastomosis. With laparoscopic surgery, the risk of damage to surrounding structures and organs is minimal and is certainly no greater than open surgery.

Will I need any tests before my surgery?

Your doctor may order a contrast study or abdominal CT scan and some blood work. Depending on your state of health, some additional tests may be ordered.

How should I prepare for my surgery?

The night before your surgery, you will be required to take a prescribed "bowel preparation". This clears your colon of any contents and lessens the risk of infection. Specific information about the bowel prep will be given to you at your clinic appointment. You should not eat or drink anything after midnight. Do not smoke, chew tobacco or gum the morning of your surgery. You will be contacted to advise of where and when to arrive at the hospital on the day of surgery. Bring any comfort items from home that you may need for a short hospital stay.

How long will I be in the hospital? When will I be able to return to work?

You will be in the hospital three to five days. Occasionally, some patients stay longer. You will be able to return to work and your normal routine in approximately two to three weeks. You should avoid heavy lifting for a few weeks after your surgery.

What should I expect after my surgery?

While in the hospital, you will be on a clear liquid diet until you begin passing flatus (gas). In some instances, you may have a urinary catheter for a few days. You will receive information specific to your diagnosis. This may include dietary needs, explanations of follow-up care, and other treatment options.