Some babies are born with what is called an artresia of the bowel. It is where part of the intestines is not formed properly or has scar tissue that can cause blockage of waste from emptying out completely.
An artresia of the bowel can be fixed one of two ways. It can either correct itself or can be fixed by surgery. The chance of it fixing itself is very slim. In most cases it needs to be corrected by surgery. Depending on the advancement of the artresia, surgery can last anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour depending on what they find inside.
Doctors will order an ultrasound of your baby’s belly to figure out where exactly the problem lies. Sometimes the extremity of the artresia cannot be seen just from the ultrasound and therefore surgery is needed to further investigate.
Once the cause is found the doctors can correct the problem. Your baby may also have an appendectomy in surgery. This is done because later on in life, if your child needed to have an appendectomy this can pose a greater risk to them.
After your baby comes out of surgery, he will have a tube that goes down his throat know as a repolgle tube that suctions out the backed up bile in your baby’s stomach until he has sufficiently passes clear liquid or no liquid from his stomach. This can take up to 3 weeks. This means that your baby will be fed through a tube with TPN.
TPN is the shortened term for Total Parenteral Nutrition. It has all the vitamins and proteins that your baby needs to survive without ingesting any food to give their stomachs a rest after such an ordeal. The TPN can be fed through a PICC line or a Broviac.
A PICC line is also known as a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. It is a bit bigger than an IV (Intravenous) and allows the TPN to travel easier into your baby. It is also more secure and can stay in your baby longer than small IVs.
A Broviac is a line that is inserted into a major vien in the body. It is usually inserted into a major artery by the heart. It is a minor surgery that is done while being viewed by x-ray to make sure the line is inserted properly.
After your baby’s stomach is clear, his doctors may start him on breast milk or formula. If you have pumped milk, they will try that first, since it is the most basic broken down food that most babies can tolerate. If your baby tolerates your breast milk or the formula they are one step closer to going home.
Note: The author has a child that has artresia of the bowel and had surgery. The notes in this article may not apply to everyone, each case is different and should not be taken as medical advice.