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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Bowel movements after laser surgery

    My partner had laser surgery 3 months ago to remove polyps from his bowel. He is still having difficulty going to the toilet now and often spends a long time there. He also constantly feels the need to go. Is this normal?
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  • Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer. We … View Profile


    Thank you for your enquiry regarding your partners recent laser surgery.

    The laser surgery itself should not be causing his bowel symptoms.  I would highly recommend he go back to his treating doctor (or gastroenterologist or a colorectal surgeon) for further follow up.

    These types of issues really need to be discussed as individual cases with his doctor, due to there being a number of reasons why a person can experience difficulties with their bowel. 
    Kind regards
    Nurse Adviser
    Bowel Cancer Australia

  • 1


    Dr Andrew Sutherland

    Colorectal Surgeon (Bowel)

    I am a specialist colorectal surgeon treating a range of bowel diseases and am committed to providing the best of care for all patients. It … View Profile

    The short answer is no it is not normal, but at the same time it may not be entirely unexpected.  Your partner should see the surgeon or gastroenterologist who performed the procedure to make sure that there has not been a complication or to treat it if there has been.

    Also it is very unlikely that the procedure was actually performed with laser.  Polypectomy (removal of polyps) can be performed in the colon by a variety of techniques, but the actual technique is probably not critical when it comes to your partners bowel function.  What is important is how big was the polyp and where was it?  

    The symptoms you describe suggest that the polyp was in the rectum or the last part of the bowel.

    Removal of small polyps (<10mm) should cause no ongoing symptoms at all.  You would not expect to have problems emptying the bowel unless there was a very large polyp removed, perhaps a third or half of the circumference of the bowel at least.  Once the polyp has been removed the area of bowel that is left may scar and contract leading to a narrowing in the bowel which could cause problems with emptying.  

    Remember that your partner needs to discuss thiswith the doctor who performed the procedure.

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