The small intestine is responsible for absorbing nutrients and fluids from the foods you eat as well as passing waste products through to the colon and ultimately out of the body. When the small intestine is negatively impacted by a blockage, previous scar tissue, or disease such as cancer, ulcers or polyps, surgery may be necessary.

During surgery, the affected portion of the small bowel will be removed. This is known as a resection.

Once that section is out, the remaining ends of the small bowel can be reattached in what is known as an anastomosis. Most small bowel surgeries work out this way. A small number of patients may require a different repair using a stoma (an opening in the skin) and an ileostomy. However, this is generally not needed.

A small bowel resection will require general anesthesia and a short hospital stay. The small bowel resection can be performed either open or laparoscopically. A laparoscopic surgery results in fewer scars and a faster recovery time.

There are cases where non-surgical measures may be effective in treating the blockage. If the blockage is caused by previous surgery and scar tissue, a procedure known as nasogastric decompression can be performed. If this is effective, no surgery is necessary.