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Intussusception surgery is an abdominal surgical procedure performed to correct intussusception, where a segment of bowel telescopes in on itself and causes an obstruction. This procedure can be performed by a general surgeon or a specialist in gastroenterology, and it is done while the patient is under general anesthesia. Recovery time from intussusception surgery varies, depending on the patient's age and when the problem was identified. It may be necessary to spend several days in the hospital after the surgery.
In intussusception, a segment of bowel slips up inside the preceding segment. The walls of the bowel rub against each other and become inflamed, creating a bowel obstruction. The patient will feel abdominal discomfort and may be nauseous. Passage of stool will be limited and abdominal bloating can occur. The causes of this condition are not well understood, although people with a family history of this condition appear to be at greater risk.
Sometimes, intussusception can be corrected with an enema or an endoscopic bowel procedure. In other cases, the obstruction is significant enough to require a surgical procedure. In intussusception surgery, the surgeon gently separates the telescoped bowel. If a segment of the bowel has died — a concern when the condition has gone several days without diagnosis — it may be necessary to remove the dead segment of bowel and create an anastomosis, sewing the healthy ends of the bowel together.
In very young children, intussusception is a common cause of bowel obstruction, and it may be correctly diagnosed before the patient enters surgery. In adults, a patient is usually brought into surgery to investigate the bowel obstruction, and the intussusception is identified during the surgery. In both cases, the surgeon carefully inspects the bowel for any other signs of problems. Intussusception surgery may be open or laparoscopic, with laparoscopic procedures being less invasive and having a much faster healing time.
After intussusception surgery, the patient may need to eat a special diet for a few days while the bowel recovers. The surgical site will be inspected regularly for any signs of infection and the bandages will be changed at the same time. Potential complications of intussusception surgery include bowel perforation, infection, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Working with an experienced surgical team can help limit risks, and patients should be thorough about disclosing their medical history so the surgeon and anesthesiologist can identify any potential risk factors before the patient goes into surgery.