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Small Intestine (Bowel)


The small intestine is also called the small bowel. This 20-foot-long tube is about one inch in diameter and located in the lower part of the abdomen. It absorbs most of the nutrients from what you eat and drink. If the bowel becomes diseased or if there is a blockage, surgical treatment may be required.

Common issues we treat

Intestinal obstruction: An obstruction is a partial or complete blockage of the bowel.

Small intestinal ischemia and infarction: Intestinal ischemia and infarction occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage of one or more of the arteries that supply blood to the small intestine.

Inflammatory bowel disease: There are several intestinal disorders that fall under the inflammatory bowel disease umbrella. They all cause abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea and constipation. Two examples are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions can generally be management by a gastroenterologist without surgical treatment, unless emergent surgery is needed.

Procedures available at St. Luke’s

Small intestine resection: During this surgery, a portion of the small intestine is removed. Often, conditions that would require this treatment can be managed non-surgical medical management for these conditions is with gastroenterologist first if emergent surgery is not warranted.

Ilestomy: During this surgery, one end of the small intestine is brought out through an opening (stoma) made in the stomach wall. Waste moving through the intestine drains through the stoma into a bag attached to the stomach. Sometimes these are short-term and can be reversed.

St. Luke’s expert team of general surgeons and physician assistants offer surgical consults at these locations.

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