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If you will be undergoing laparoscopic surgery, bowel injury is one of the possible complications your healthcare provider will discuss with you. Two types of bowel injuries can occur: perforation and burn injuries. If you experience a bowel injury during laparoscopic surgery, treatment can range from simple observation in the hospital for a few days to removal of the damaged piece of bowel.

Bowel Injury and Laparoscopic Surgery: An Overview

Bowel injury is rare with laparoscopic surgery, occurring only in about 3 out of 1,000 procedures. The bowels are the intestines, which begin at the end of the stomach and end at the anus.
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. A perforation can occur during the placement of the needle or other sharp surgical device, or during the laparoscopic surgery itself. The size of the hole can vary, along with the treatment choices for the injury. Because they can seal themselves off, small perforations are usually managed by simply observing the person in the hospital for a few days.
In rare cases, because of the perforation, it is possible to develop a serious infection of the lining of the abdomen (stomach) that may require a longer hospital stay, IV antibiotics, or possibly surgery. More serious injuries may require an open abdominal surgery and possibly removal of the damaged piece of bowel.
In rare cases, a colostomy, which is a bag that collects stool and rests on the abdomen, may need to be placed temporarily or permanently after the damaged bowel is removed. Thermal (burn) injury to the bowel can occur, although these are also rare. This type of injury may require extended observation in the hospital, removal of the damaged bowel, or a colostomy.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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