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Bowel Injury and Laparoscopy

The bowels are the intestines, which begin at the end of the stomach and end at the anus. Bowel injury is rare with a laparoscopy, occurring only in about 3 out of 1,000 procedures.
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 actual procedure 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 patient 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, which may require a longer hospital stay, IV antibiotics, and possibly surgery. Please see the information on infections if you would like more information about this possibility. More serious injuries may require an open surgery and possible removal of the damaged piece of bowel.
Rarely, a colostomy -- which is a bag for stool that rests on the abdomen -- may need to be placed temporarily or permanently after the damaged bowel is removed. These more serious bowel injuries are very rare. Although also rare, thermal (or burn) injury to the bowel can occur. This may require extended observation in the hospital or, rarely, removal of the damaged bowel and, possibly, a colostomy.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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