Why would an infant need their small intestine removed?

Louise Goldberg
Nutrition & Dietetics

There are a couple reasons why an infant might need a small bowel resection. Most of which are related to congenital issues-problems they are born with-that impacts the function of the bowel in that area; for example, a twisted bowel or if the intestines formed outside the abdominal wall in utero. If your baby has had any part of their intestine resected, it is important to discuss with your doctor and neonatal dietitian whether the amount removed will impact her digestion and ability to absorb nutrients. If it does, the team will figure out an alternate route of nutrition and/or vitamin supplementation that will support your child's growth.

Fortunately, only rarely does this need to be done. There are a few conditions that might affect a newborn which can lead to an interruption of the blood supply to the small intestine. If not rapidly corrected, the area of affected bowel may die and need to be removed. Fortunately, we can survive with less intestine than we start with. Also, newborns will have growth of the rest of their intestines as they also grow. This should, in most cases compensate for the part of the bowel removed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.