Bowel resection for Crohn’s disease: What to expect

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Bowel resection for Crohn’s disease: What to expect

A small bowel resection is a type of surgery in which the surgeon removes a damaged part of the small intestine and rejoins the healthy parts. A doctor may recommend this surgery for people with severe complications of Crohn’s disease, such as strictures and fistulas. Learn more here.

Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation within the digestive tract. While medications are often effective in treating or preventing symptoms, some people may require surgery if standard treatments are unsuccessful.

One type of surgery that a doctor may recommend for people with Crohn’s disease is bowel resection. This procedure involves removing part of the small intestine.

In this article, we discuss what a bowel resection is and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. We also cover risks and complications, outlook, and other types of surgery for Crohn’s disease.

What is a bowel resection?

Bowel resection removes a part of the small intestine.

A bowel resection is a surgical procedure that doctors use to treat some people with Crohn’s disease.

When inflammation affects the intestines, it can sometimes cause strictures. Strictures are sections of the intestines that become narrower due to significant inflammation, and they block the passage of digested food. Untreated strictures can lead to severe pain and cramping.

On either side of an intestinal stricture, there may be healthy tissue. During a bowel resection, the surgeon removes only the damaged part of the intestine and then joins together the two healthy ends.

When is a bowel resection necessary?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it is common for people with Crohn’s disease to need surgery. Research suggests that around 60 percent of individuals have surgery within 20 years of receiving a diagnosis of Crohn’s.

A doctor may recommend surgery for people with strictures that do not respond to standard treatments. A bowel resection may be necessary when other types of surgery, such as strictureplasty, have not been effective or are not a suitable option.

A stricture can slow down the digestion of food and cause several symptoms, including:

  • bloating
  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • nausea and vomiting
  • constipation

These symptoms can become very severe in some people and may lead to potentially dangerous complications, such as a hole, or perforation, forming in the wall of the intestine.

Read on: Bowel resection for Crohn's disease: What to expect

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