What is laparoscopic bowel resection?

Jump To

Laparoscopic bowel resection: Overview

Laparoscopic bowel resection is a type of surgery. It removes a part of your intestine. It uses very small cuts, called incisions.

To do this surgery, a doctor puts a lighted tube through incisions in your belly. This tube is called a scope. It lets your doctor see your organs. Next, he or she puts special tools through the tube to take out part of your intestine. Then the doctor puts the healthy parts of your intestine back together.

You may have this surgery if your intestine is damaged or blocked. Crohn's disease and cancer can cause these kinds of problems. Diverticulitis can also cause them.

You will probably stay in the hospital for about 2 to 5 days. You may be able to do your normal activities in 2 to 4 weeks.

How can you care for yourself after a laparoscopic bowel resection?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as biking, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Avoid lifting anything that would make you strain. This may include heavy grocery bags and milk containers, a heavy briefcase or backpack, cat litter or dog food bags, a vacuum cleaner, or a child.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • You will probably need to take 2 to 4 weeks off from work. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.
  • You may shower 24 to 48 hours after surgery, if your doctor says it is okay. Pat the cut (incision) dry. Do not take a bath for the first 2 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex.

Diet

  • You may not have much appetite after the surgery. But try to eat a healthy diet. Your doctor will tell you about any foods you should not eat.
  • Eat a low-fiber diet for several weeks after surgery. Eat many small meals throughout the day. Add high-fiber foods a little at a time.
  • Eat yogurt. It puts good bacteria into your colon and helps prevent diarrhea.
  • Try to avoid nuts, seeds, and corn for a while. They may be hard to digest.
  • You may need to take vitamins that contain sodium and potassium. Your doctor will tell you whether you should take any vitamins or supplements.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Choose water and other clear liquids until you feel better. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. You will also be given instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • You may need to take some medicines in a different form. You will be told whether to crush pills or take a liquid form of the medicine.
  • If your doctor gives you a stool softener, take it as directed.

Incision care

  • If you have strips of tape on the incisions, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing. You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. Change the bandage every day.

How do you prepare for a laparoscopic bowel resection?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • You may need to take antibiotics before surgery.
  • A day or two before surgery, your doctor may have you stop eating and have you drink only clear liquids.
  • You may take laxatives to clean out your bowels. You also may take an enema. Your doctor will tell you how to do this.
  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don’t have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It’s a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

After your child's laparoscopic bowel resection: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child is short of breath.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has loose stitches, or the incision comes open.
  • Your child has pain that does not get better after he or she takes pain medicine.
  • Bright red blood has soaked through the bandage.
  • Your child cannot pass stools or gas.
  • Your child is sick to the stomach or cannot drink fluids.
  • Your child has signs of a blood clot in the leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
    • Pain in the calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in the leg or groin.
  • Your child has symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if your child has any problems.

After a laparoscopic bowel resection: Overview

You've had part of your small or large intestine taken out. You are likely to have pain that comes and goes for the next few days. After a laparoscopy, you may have shoulder pain. This is caused by the air your doctor put in your belly to help see your organs better. The pain may last for a day or two. You may feel like you have the flu. You also may have a low fever and feel tired and nauseated. This is common. You should feel better after 1 to 2 weeks and will probably be back to normal in 2 to 4 weeks.

Your bowel movements may not be regular for several weeks. Also, you may have some blood in your stool.

What happens on the day of your laparoscopic bowel resection?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery center

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery will take 2 to 4 hours.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.