Chronic inflammation in the intestines can cause the walls of your digestive tract to thicken or form scar tissue. This can narrow a section of intestine, called a stricture, which may lead to an intestinal blockage. A strictureplasty is a surgical procedure to repair a stricture by widening the narrowed area without removing any portion of your intestine.

It is important to repair strictures because the narrowing of your intestine could lead to a blockage that prevents stool from passing through the body. When strictures are caused by disease inflammation, initial treatment may typically include medication to help improve the narrowing of the intestines. Surgery may also be a necessary option. Strictureplasty and small bowel resection are two surgical procedures to repair a stricture.

Symptoms of a stricture

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Severe cramping

  • Constipation


What You Should Know About Strictureplasty

Any surgery is concerning, but learning about the procedure can lessen your concerns and give you information to discuss with your healthcare team.

  • Strictureplasty is a generally safe procedure. It is most effective in the lower sections of the small intestine, called the ileum and the jejunum.

  • Strictureplasty is less effective in the upper section of the small intestine, called the duodenum.

  • Strictureplasty avoids the need to remove a section of your small intestine. It is preferred when possible, because removing portions of your small intestine cause sometimes cause other complications, including a condition called short bowel syndrome (SBS) which occurs when large sections of the small intestine are removed due to surgery (or various surgeries) and the body is unable to absorb adequate amounts of nutrients and water.

During the procedure

  • Your surgeon will make cuts lengthwise along the narrowed areas of your intestine, then sew up the intestine crosswise.

  • This type of incision and repair shortens and widens the affected part of your bowel, allowing food to pass through.

  • Your surgeon may repair several strictures during the same surgery.

Ask Your Doctor

  • How is the stricture diagnosed?

  • What preparations will I need to make before my strictureplasty?

  • What are the potential complications from surgery?

  • What kind of restrictions will I have after my surgery?

  • How long will it take me to recover from my strictureplasty?

  • How will the surgery affect my diet and bowel movements?

Related Resources

Short Bowel Syndrome & Crohn's...

Information on Short Syndrome and Crohn's Disease updated 3.18


Surgery for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis...

A brochure with information and resources about the different types of GI surgery.