Intestinal obstruction repair is surgery to relieve a bowel obstruction. A bowel obstruction occurs when the contents of the intestines cannot pass through and exit the body. A complete obstruction is a surgical emergency.
Intestinal obstruction repair is done while you are under general anesthesia. This means you are asleep and do not feel pain.
The surgeon makes a cut in your belly to see your intestines. Sometimes, the surgery can be done using a laparoscope, which means smaller cuts are used.
The surgeon locates the area of your intestine (bowel) that is blocked and unblocks it.
Any damaged parts of your bowel will be repaired or removed. This procedure is called bowel resection. If a section is removed, the healthy ends will be reconnected with stitches or staples. Sometimes, when part of the intestine is removed, the ends cannot be reconnected. If this happens, the surgeon will bring one end out through an opening in the abdominal wall. This may be done using a colostomy, ileostomy, or mucous fistula.
The surgeon will also check the blood flow to the rest of the bowel.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
This procedure is done to relieve a blockage in your intestine. A blockage that lasts for a long time can interfere with blood flow to the area. This can cause the bowel to die.
Risks of any surgery include:
Bleeding inside your belly
Blood clots in the legs that may travel to the lungs
Turnage RH, Heldmann M. Intestinal obstruction. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 119.
Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.