Small Bowel Surgery

Surgical Associates of Marshall County offers small bowel surgery and treatment for conditions of the small intestine with minimally invasive surgery.

When sections of the small bowel (small intestine) are diseased or obstructed, it may be necessary to surgically remove them. At Surgical Associates of Marshall County, our expert laparoscopic surgeons offer small bowel surgery to help you resolve intestinal issues with safe and effective forms of treatment.

When is Small Bowel Surgery Needed?

The small intestine has a key role in the digestive system and is the place where most nutrients from food are broken down and absorbed. Any condition that causes damage, disease or obstruction of the small intestine may lead to surgical necessity. Such conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Intestinal injury
  • Carcinoid tumors
  • Noncancerous tumors
  • Meckel’s diverticulum
  • Intestinal blockage (obstruction)
  • Inflammation, bleeding or infection due to a condition like Crohn’s disease

Though each of these conditions has its own symptoms, many conditions of the small bowel are accompanied by symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss

Unfortunately, the prevalence of these symptoms in other diseases makes it difficult to diagnose many small bowel disorders. To pinpoint the root of your intestinal issues, an in-depth examination of your medical history and physical well-being will be conducted. This may include diagnostic procedures like:

  • CT scan
  • Endoscopy
  • Upper GI series

What to Expect from Small Bowel Surgery

Our surgeons are specialized in minimally invasive laparoscopic methods of surgery. This means that, when possible, all surgeries are performed with a surgical scope that allows for completion of the operation through minor incisions. Because no major abdominal incision is made, laparoscopic surgery reduces post-operative recovery time and risk of complications.

Small bowel surgery is performed using general anesthesia. This means that you will be asleep and incapable of feeling pain for the duration of the procedure.

During laparoscopic small bowel surgery, your surgeon will pass a camera and medical instruments through tiny incisions in the abdominal wall. A two to three inch incision may also be needed to remove the diseased segment of the intestine. Your belly will be expanded with gas to allow your surgeon to observe and perform the operation more easily.

Once the diseased portion of the bowel has been removed, your surgeon will either:

  • Rejoin the bowel. The ends of the remaining healthy intestine will be joined together. This is the usual outcome of small bowel surgery.
  • Perform an ileostomy. When there is not enough healthy intestine to rejoin, your surgeon will create a small opening in the belly called a stoma. The small intestine is attached to allow waste to pass out of your body and be collected in a bag. Ileostomy may be needed permanently, or may only be necessary as a short-term solution.

After small bowel surgery, your bowel habits and diet may change. Your surgeon will discuss any dietary restrictions or lifestyle changes needed in your particular case.

To learn more about small bowel surgery at Surgical Associates of Marshall County, please call 256-840-5547 (Albertville) or 256-571-8734 (Guntersville) or complete our online contact form.