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I have read this information in some blog:

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Can someone explain what the sentence "About 50% of the small intestine can be removed with little interference to absorption-with one exception" means?

  • The one exception is in the following sentence. Sometimes a colon might be used instead of a period (...one exception: if the terminal....) – James Sep 22 '15 at 22:25
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    But you can't use a colon instead of an intestine, har har. – Chellspecker Sep 22 '15 at 23:32
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In other words, the different parts of the intestine are interchangeable, and up to 50% of it can be removed, from any section, except the terminal ileum, which performs a specific function, namely Vitamin B2 and bile salt absorption, and therefore that part cannot be removed without affecting the ability of the whole intestine to absorb Vitamin B12 and bile salts.

  • Are they really interchangeable? I mean could you actually take them out and sew them back together in a different order? – chasly from UK Sep 22 '15 at 23:45
  • I've never tried it, personally, but that's the impression I get from the text. There seems to be quite a lot of small intestine. But you have to keep the terminal ileum, apparently. – Chellspecker Sep 22 '15 at 23:58
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"About 50% of the small intestine can be removed with little interference to absorption-with one exception."

Firstly there is a punctuation error. The hyphen should be replaced with an em dash.

"About 50% of the small intestine can be removed with little interference to absorption—with one exception."

Answer

Here is a paraphrase that explains the meaning:

"About 50% of the small intestine can be removed with little interference to absorption. However, there is one exception: If the terminal ileum is removed ..."

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The one exception is the removal of the terminal ileum, mentioned in the next sentence.

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