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An ileum resection is a surgical procedure in which the portion of the small intestine known as the ileum is removed. After the damaged portion of the ileum is removed, the healthy ends of the small intestine are surgically reattached. This type of surgery may become necessary due to factors such as blockage, tumors, or physical trauma. Possible complications stemming from an ileum resection include infection, pain, and intestinal blockage, although these situations are relatively rare.
The ileum is the lowest portion of the small intestine and works to absorb nutrients and other undigested materials. When this area of the small intestine becomes damaged due to tumors, polyps, or other factors, an ileum resection may become necessary. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, meaning that the patient is completely sedated. The average hospital stay following the procedure is about a week, although some patients may have to stay longer if complications arise.
In most cases, the ileum resection is performed laparoscopically. Several small incisions are made into the lower portion of the abdomen, and tiny instruments are used to help guide the surgeon. This type of procedure allows for a faster recovery and a lowered risk of infection. The more traditional open surgery requires the use of a much larger incision and increases the risk of complications such as infection or damage to surrounding organs.
The damaged portion of the ileum is carefully removed from the body, and the healthy portions of the small intestine are then reconnected to one another. If this is not possible, a small portion of the small intestine is passed through the abdominal wall to create a stoma. A bag is then attached to the stoma in order to collect the waste materials. Depending on the individual situation, the stoma may be either temporary or permanent.
Complete recovery following an ileum resection may take several weeks or months, and it is important to follow the directions of the supervising physician concerning wound care and physical limitations. Symptoms such as worsening pain, rectal bleeding, or the development of a fever should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation. Excessive bleeding at the incision site or loosening of the sutures should also be reported. While severe complications are quite rare, they can be potentially life threatening, so any persistent or bothersome symptoms are cause for concern.