Small Bowel Bleeding
The small bowel (or small intestine) is the longest portion of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is called "small" because it is thin or narrow compared with the "large" bowel (also known as the colon), but it is much longer than the large bowel (14 feet on average). The small intestine is involved in nutrient absorption from food.
Gastrointestinal bleeding occurs when an abnormality on the inner lining begins to bleed. Approximately 5% of all GI bleeding comes from the small bowel. Abnormal blood vessels (arteriovenous malformations or AVMs) cause 30 to 40% of bleeds. AVMs are the main source of bleeding in patients over the age of 50 years. Tumours (benign and malignant), polyps, Crohn’s disease, and ulcers are some of the other causes of bleeding.
Multiple tests can be used to diagnose and treat the source of small bowel bleeding, including: endoscopy, enteroscopy, x-ray studies, capsule endoscopy, deep small bowel enteroscopy, and intraoperative enteroscopy. AVMs can typically be treated with cautery delivered through an endoscope or enteroscope. Tumours (benign and malignant) can be biopsied and have their location marked using endoscopy, but surgery is typically required to take them out. Other conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, are often treated with medications.
Polyps in the small can often be removed with an endoscope. Sometimes surgery is needed if the polyp cannot be removed with an endoscope. Tumours, both benign and malignant, typically require surgical removal (while benign tumours do not always need to be removed, if they are causing a lot blood loss they usually need to be taken out). Other causes of small bowel bleeding can be treated with medicines (e.g., Crohn's disease or medication induced ulcers).
Operating from the new state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary facility equipped with only the most advanced medical technology,
As one of only two such robots in the Western Cape, Dr Kavin operates from a hospital boasting Robotic Surgery capabilities,
As a surgeon with adept skill in minimally invasive techniques, Dr Kavin opts for laparoscopic keyhole surgery whenever possible.
Dr Bruce Kavin is a General Surgeon with particular expertise in Endocrine, Colorectal and Gastrointestinal Surgery and Surgical Oncology.