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Having Bowel Surgery: Limited Bowel Resection

This surgery is done to treat diseases of the digestive tract. It removes part of the large and small intestines. When healed, bowel movements still occur through the anus.

Preparing for Surgery

Preparation may begin a few weeks before surgery and can include the following:

  • If you smoke, try to quit.

  • Tell your surgeon about any medications, herbs, supplements, or over-the-counter medications you take. Ask whether you should stop any of them before surgery.

  • If you will have a stoma, a specially trained healthcare provider called an Enterostomal Therapy (ET) nurse will meet with you. The two of you will decide on the stoma’s placement.

  • If instructed, stop eating solid food a day or two before surgery. Switch to a diet of clear liquids, such as broth.

  • You will receive instructions for bowel prep, which helps ensure that your digestive tract is ready for surgery.

  • Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. This includes water, gum, and breath mints.

  • If your surgeon tells you to take medication the morning of surgery, swallow it with only small sips of water.

Outline of human figure showing stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Ends of small intestine and large intestine are sewn together after portion removed.

Front view of small intestine and large intestine. Dotted line outlines where small intestine and large intestine meet. This area will be removed.

The Procedure

  • The diseased portion of the intestine is removed (resected).

  • If there is an abscess (infected area), the abscess is drained or removed.

  • The ends of the intestine are sewn together. This connection is called an anastomosis.

Risks and Complications

Bowel surgery has certain risks and possible complications. Your surgeon can discuss them with you. They may include:

  • Infection

  • Injury to nearby organs

  • An anastomosis that leaks

  • Blood clots

  • Risks related to anesthesia

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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