Small intestine resection surgery for Crohn's disease

Small intestine resection surgery permanently removes sections of the small bowel which have been damaged by Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

What forms of Crohn's disease is small intestine resection surgery used to treat?

Crohn’s disease affecting the small intestine - ileocolitis, ileitis, jejunoileitis, and gastroduodenal Crohn's disease.

Why is small intestine resection surgery needed for Crohn's disease?

When scar tissue, caused by damage from active Crohn’s disease and healing, builds in the small intestine wall it can cause strictures (a narrowing) of the bowel or blockages. Resection surgery is used if the strictures are long, or there are several close together, as strictureplasty surgery is not possible in these situations. Resection surgery permanently removes the damaged section.

Resection can also be used to treat a hole in the wall of the small intestine or removed very diseased sections.

How is small intestine resection surgery done?

Generally resection surgery is carried out by a colorectal surgeon who is specially trained to carry out surgery on the lower digestive tract, such as the small intestines. You will likely be given a general anaesthetic for the procedure.

The surgeon identifies where the damaged section/s of the small intestine are and then removes them. The two healthy ends of the intestines are then sewed (or stapled) back together. This reattachment join is called an anastomosis.

Most people are able to have this procedure carried out through minimally invasive surgery called laparoscopic surgery (also known as key hole surgery). By doing this they can access the parts of the small intestine they need to making only small incision cuts, rather than needing to make large incisions in the abdomen.

Recovering from small intestine resection surgery

On average people spend around six days in hospital, but a full recovery from resection surgery takes around four to six weeks. The time it takes can vary on your pre and post-surgery health. You may be given some specific guidelines to follow after your surgery to help aid recovery - such as a special diet, avoiding heavy lifting and not driving.

You may find that after your surgery your bowels work differently while they adapt.

Possible complications of small intestine resection surgery

Things to know about small intestine resection surgery

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