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What is bowel obstruction repair?

bowel obstruction repair

A bowel obstruction repair is surgery to remove or relieve a blockage in the bowel. The most common cause of a bowel obstruction is scarring from previous abdominal surgery.  The bowels can twist or kink under the scarring and this can lead to the blockage.  

The bowel is the part of the digestive tract that absorbs nutrients from food. A bowel obstruction stops the passage of stool and gas through your intestines. Symptoms include a distended abdomen, fullness, painful spasms, constipation, not passing gas, diarrhea, nausea with or without vomiting, and foul-smelling breath. It can be a serious, possibly life-threatening condition that may require prompt surgery. Bowel obstruction repair is also called intestinal obstruction repair.

Bowel obstruction repair is a major surgery with risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Options vary depending on the location, extent or type of bowel obstruction. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having bowel obstruction repair. 

Other surgical procedures that may be performed

A bowel obstruction can cut off the blood supply to part of the intestine. This can permanently damage the intestine. In this case, your surgeon may need to remove the damaged part of the intestine and reattach the healthy sections of the intestine.

It is not always possible to reconnect the healthy parts of intestine. If this occurs, your surgeon will bring the end of the intestine through the abdominal wall to the skin in this case. This creates an opening, called an ileostomy or a colostomy. 

Stool will leave the body through the opening into a collection bag. This may be temporary. Your surgeon will remove the stoma and put the bowels back together again after they heal.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 7, 2013

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Medical References

Bowel Diversion Surgeries: Ileostomy, Colostomy, Ileoanal Reservoir, and Continent Ileostomy. National Digestive diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ileostomy/. Accessed April 21, 2013.
Bowel Obstruction. Better Medicine. http://www.bettermedicine.com/article/bowel-obstruction-1. Accessed April 21, 2013.
Evaluation and Management of Intestinal Obstruction. American Family Physician. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0115/p159.html. Accessed April 21, 2013.
Gallstone Ileus. Diagnostic Imaging. http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/case-studies/content/article/113619/1876150. Accessed April 21, 2013.
Ileus and Bowel Obstruction. Bookshelf, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK13786/. Accessed April 21, 2013.

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