A small bowel resection is the surgical removal of one or more segments of the small intestine.
The small intestine is the part of the digestive system that absorbs much of the liquid and nutrients from food. It consists of three segments: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum; and is followed by the large intestine (colon). A small bowel resection may be performed to treat the following conditions:
Crohn's disease. This condition is characterized by a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the digestive tract. If other treatment does not effectively control symptoms, the physician may recommend surgery to close fistulas or remove part of the intestine where the inflammation is worst.
Cancer. Cancer of the small intestine is a rare cancer in which malignant cells are found in the tissues of the small intestine. Adenocarcinoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, and carcinoid tumors account for the majority of small intestine cancers. Surgery to remove the cancer is the most common treatment. When the tumor is large, removal of the small intestine segment containing the cancer is usually indicated.
Ulcers. Ulcers are crater-like lesions on the mucous membrane of the small bowel caused by an inflammatory, infectious, or malignant condition that often requires surgery and in some cases, bowel resection.
Intestinal obstruction. This condition involves a partial or complete blockage of the bowel that results in the failure of the intestinal contents to pass through. Intestinal obstruction is usually treated by decompressing the intestine with suction, using a nasogastric
tube inserted into the stomach or intestine. In cases where decompression does not relieve the symptoms, or if tissue death is suspected, bowel resection may be considered.
Injuries. Accidents may result in bowel injuries that require resection.
Precancerous polyps. A polyp is a growth that projects from the lining of the intestine. Polyps are usually benign
and produce no symptoms, but they may cause rectal bleeding and develop into malignancies over time. When polyps have a high chance of becoming cancerous, bowel resection is usually indicated.
Monique Laberge Ph.D., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,