The bowels are also called your intestines. The intestines begin at the bottom of the stomach and end at the anus. Their function is to break down food and absorb certain nutrients and water. They also contract and relax to push waste material toward the anus for excretion.
Since they are near the area where your surgery will be done, it is possible for them to be damaged during the operation. But this rarely happens.
Injuries of the bowel are of two main types: perforation injuries and burns.
A perforation injury means that there is a hole in the bowel. These holes are usually stitched closed during the surgery. But, perforation injuries may also occur because of adhesions from previous pelvic or abdominal surgery, or previous abdominal infections.
If a perforation does happen, it is possible to develop a serious infection of the lining of the abdomen, called peritonitis, that may require a longer hospital stay, IV antibiotics and possibly a repeat surgery.
Although also rare, a burn injury to the bowel can occur from the instruments used during the surgery. Both perforation and burn injuries may require additional surgery, as well as extended observation in the hospital.
In rare cases, the damaged bowel may need to be removed, other surgical procedures may be required, and you may need a temporary or permanent colostomy.