What Is Intestinal Obstruction Repair?
Intestinal obstruction repair is a surgical procedure to remove a blockage in the bowels that prevents the contents to pass. The goal of surgery is to relieve the abdominal pain, cramps, swelling and other symptoms of a partial blockage. Because a complete blockage can be life threatening, the repair may be done as emergency surgery.
The type of intestinal obstruction repair surgery used depends on the cause of the blockage. Obstructions may be mechanical, caused by impacted stool, hernias, scar tissue from other surgery, tumors, and volvulus (twisted intestine). In the case of children, blockages may be the result of disease, infections, chemical imbalances, and use of narcotic medications.
Some of the procedures used for intestinal obstruction repair include:
- Removing the obstruction with a tube inserted through the nose or the rectum to reach the blocked area of the intestine
- Laparoscopy – a minimally invasive surgery using a small incision to insert an instrument that looks like a small telescope and other instruments to remove the obstruction
- Large bowel resection – removing a portion of the large intestine
- Small bowel resection – removing a section of the small intestine
Bowel resections are performed to remove the obstruction and parts of the intestines that have become damaged. When possible, the doctor reconnects the remaining healthy ends of the intestine using stitches or staples. If the ends cannot be reconnected due to the health or amount of tissue removed, one end of the intestine is placed in an opening in the abdominal wall, usually on the left side. The end is attached to a bag called a stoma appliance to allow the intestine to drain. This procedure is called a colostomy when it involves the large intestine, and ileostomy for a small bowel resection. Depending on the extent of the condition, these surgeries may be only temporary and the ends of the intestine are rejoined later. However, in some cases, the use of the stoma appliance is permanent.