Open Bowel Resection: Before Your Surgery

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Regions of the colon

What is an open bowel resection?

This surgery removes a piece of the intestine (bowel). The doctor makes one large cut in your belly to take out part of the intestine. This cut is called an incision. The doctor then connects the healthy parts of the intestine. This surgery is done to treat a bowel blockage. It can also treat diseases such as Crohn's disease, cancer, diverticulitis, and ulcers.

Most people go home after 3 to 7 days in the hospital.

How do you prepare for surgery?

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

 
  • Your doctor may have you 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. Or you may need to go to the hospital the day before surgery to prepare your intestine.
  • 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.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • 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.
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    Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
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    Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
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    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.
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    The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
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    You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you in a light sleep. The area being worked on will be numb.
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    The surgery will take 2 to 3 hours.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.