Bowel Surgery

Small and large bowel

Small bowel occupies most of the abdomen and freely mobile within the abdominal cavity. Large bowel occupies the outer area of the tummy like a picture frame around the small bowel. There are various disease conditions involving bowel which require surgical interventions. Some of the operations can be carried out with minimal access (laparoscopic surgery) and others require open surgery.

Small bowel

Small bowel obstruction

Obstruction to the lumen of the bowel could be due to number of causes. Common ones are due to scarring from previous operations and bowel getting trapped in a hernia sac. Other conditions that require surgery includes abnormal growths or twisting of bowel.

Large bowel

Bowel cancer

Large bowel cancer is the second commonest internal cancer disease in the western world. Bowel cancer is an abnormal growth which starts from the lining of the bowel wall and gradually enlarges in to larger size. Later they can spread into the distant sites along the blood stream and lymphatics.

Colectomy is the most common procedure performed to remove the cancer cells. It is the surgical resection of all or part of the large intestine. It is also called large bowel resection. Colectomy is performed under general anaesthesia by open surgery method or by laparoscopic method. The procedure takes about 1 to 4 hours. You need to have a comprehensive discussion about the optimum procedure suitable to you with your surgeon. Complications of colectomy procedure include infection at the site operated, bleeding, and damage to nearby organs.

Some of the ways to prevent the colon cancer include high fibre diets and vitamins, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption, lose weight in case you are obese, and a healthy life style can lessen risk of colon cancer.


In some situations after removing the large bowel, it may not possible or safe to bring two cut ends together to make continuation of large bowel (anastomosis). An opening or a small incision called a stoma is created on the abdominal wall. The open end of the large intestine is stitched to the skin of the outer wall of the abdomen. Wastes will pass through this opening into a bag that is attached outside the body. This procedure could either be temporary or permanent.


In this condition inner lining of the large bowel passes through the outer lining making multiple small pockets formation on the bowel wall. This can give rise to infection, bleeding and narrowing of the bowel. Removal of segment of the bowel containing diverticulae may be required to relieve these complications.


A polyp is small usually spherical growth arising from the bowel wall. Most polyps are non-cancerous and small. However some polyps can be transformed into bowel cancer over a period of time. They can be identified by colonoscopy and removed. When polyps are too many or large surgical procedure is needed to remove polyps containing segment of the bowel.