A bowel resection is a surgery to remove any part of the bowel. This may include the small intestine, large intestine or rectum.
You may require a bowel resection for one of the following reasons:
- Cancer – the amount of bowel your surgeon removes depends on the size and location of the cancer. Usually, it’s about one-quarter to one-third of the colon. The surgeon will take out nearby lymph nodes and blood supply to the colon
- Crohn’s disease – Surgery is reserved for when medical management fails or to treat the complications of the disease. A bowel resection isn’t a cure for Crohn’s disease as 20% of patients have a recurrence after two years
- Diverticulitis – you may need surgery for complications, such as severe infection or perforation
- Blockage – when your intestine becomes blocked, food and liquid can’t pass
- Severe bleeding – if doctors can’t stop a bowel bleed, they may need to remove that section of the intestine
Bowel resection surgery options
Open resection – your surgeon makes one long cut on the abdomen.
Laparoscopic resection – your surgeon makes small cuts (incisions) on the abdomen. They’ll insert a thin tube with a tiny camera into one incision. This is called a laparoscope. It sends a picture to a monitor. The surgeon uses it to see inside the abdomen. They then pass small, special surgical tools through the other incisions to remove part of the intestine.