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Bowel Injury Following Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Bowel Injury Following Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Undergoing a hysterectomy should not raise the spectre of a damaged bowel. If this occurs, it may be regarded as negligent and making a claim for compensation may be an appropriate way forward.

The vulnerability of the abdominal space

The proximity of important organs and structures within the abdomen can mean that an operation undertaken to one organ can have a detrimental impact on one of its neighbours. The location of the uterus or womb can mean that either bladder or bowel damage can occur during a hysterectomy.

Damage to the bowel during a laparoscopic hysterectomy can result in two possible poor outcomes:

Life-threatening infection

Peritonitis is a life-threatening condition. Untreated, an infection of the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum) can quickly develop into sepsis. As organs become deprived of oxygen, the body's life-support systems can cease to function and the patient may die.

Peritonitis can develop when circumstances in the abdomen mean that bacteria such as faecal matter can leak from the bowel into the abdomen where it causes the infection. This can occur if the bowel - most often the small intestine or the colon - is damaged during a laparoscopic (or keyhole) hysterectomy.

Bowel function damage

If the bowel is damaged during a hysterectomy, it needs to be diagnosed and repaired promptly and effectively. This would be the best way to ensure recovery. The longer a repair is delayed, the less successful such a repair is likely to be.

This means an increased chance that the patient will need a colostomy - either for the short-term whilst the bowel recovers its ability to function or for the long-term should recovery of function not prove possible at all.

Laparoscopic surgery complications

Laparoscopic surgery is increasingly popular due to the reduced recovery time frequently associated with it and the reduction of scarring for the patient.

However, it can also mean that the surgeon has a more restricted view of the patient's internal structure and, as a result, damage to the bladder is more likely to occur.

Medical negligence

Damage to the bowel during a laparoscopic hysterectomy is not necessarily negligent. A failure to notice that such damage has occurred and a failure to repair any damage promptly and competently, leading to severe on-going problems might well be.

Contact us if you are suffering with significant, long-term problems due to a failure to treat laparoscopic damage. We are a team of specialist medical negligence solicitors and would be happy to advise you.

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