The colon (or large intestine or bowel) is the last structure of the digestive tract that removes water, salt, and some nutrients forming feces.
What is a colon (large bowel) resection and why is it necessary?
A colon resection is the surgical procedure to remove a part or the entire colon (large intestine). A colon resection may be performed to treat the following colon problems:
- Bowel Obstruction
- Crohn’s Disease
- Colon Cancer
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Bleeding Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)
- Volvulus or Twist
Details of the procedure
What do I need to do before surgery?
Please contact your insurance company to verify the coverage and determine whether a referral is required. You will be asked to pre-register with the appropriate hospital and provide demographic and insurance information. This must be completed at least five to ten days before the surgery date. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for the procedure.
Before surgery, your colon will need to be emptied. Your physician will give you directions on how to do this. You may be put on a liquid diet and instructed to drink a solution that will induce diarrhea. You may also be instructed to give yourself an enema.
What happens on the day of surgery?
You will report to a pre-operative nursing unit, where you will change into a hospital gown. A nurse will review your chart and confirm that all paperwork is in order. You will be taken to a pre-operative nursing unit where an anesthesiologist will start an IV. Before any medications are administered, your surgeon will verify your name and the type of procedure you are having. You will then be taken to the operating room. After the appropriate form of anesthesia is administered, surgery will be performed.
What type of anesthesia will be used?
You will have a pre-operative interview with an anesthesiologist who will ask you questions regarding your medical history. Colon resections are performed under general anesthesia, which will keep you asleep during your surgery.
What happens during the surgery, and how is it performed?
If your surgery is performed laparoscopically, your surgeon will make three to four small incisions, and insert tube-like instruments through them. The abdomen will be filled with gas to help the surgeon view the abdominal cavity. A camera will be inserted through one of the tubes that will display images on a monitor in the operating room. In this manner, your surgeon will be able to work inside your abdomen without making a larger incision.
Your surgeon will perform the colon resection with the laparoscopic method unless other factors require open surgery. If the procedure will be performed with the open method, your surgeon will make one larger incision to enable him or her to view and repair the colon.
Once inside, the surgeon will clamp off the diseased section of colon and then cut it free. The diseased colon will be removed, and the healthy colon stitched back together. In some cases, a colostomy (link to colostomy procedure) may be performed.
What happens after the surgery?
Once the surgery is completed, you will be taken to a post-operative or recovery unit, where a nurse will monitor your progress. It is important that your bandages be kept clean and dry. Mild discomfort may occur at the incision site, so your surgeon may prescribe pain medication. You will be scheduled for a follow-up appointment within two weeks after your surgery.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Most patients are in the hospital from five to seven days with an open colon resection and three to five days with a laparoscopic colon resection. You may need a ride home when discharged from the hospital.
What are the risks associated with a colon (large bowel) resection?
As with any surgery, there are risks such as bleeding, infection, or an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Other risks include injury to the ureter, bowel, or spleen, and anastomotic dehiscence, which is the separation or leaking of the sutured colon. Your physician will inform you of the risks prior to surgery.
What should I watch out for?
Be sure to call your doctor if any of the following symptoms appear:
Fever Worsening pain Redness or swelling around the incision The incision is warm to the touch Drainage from the incision
Will there be scar(s)?
If the procedure is performed laparoscopically the incisions should heal well, leaving small discrete scars. If the open method is used, a larger scar will be present.
When can I expect to return to work and/or resume normal activities?
This can vary from patient to patient. There are no restrictions after laparoscopic colon resection. You will be encouraged to return to normal activities such as showering, driving, walking up stairs, light lifting, and work as soon as you feel comfortable. Some patients can return to work in a few weeks while others prefer to wait longer. You should not perform heavy lifting or straining for six to eight weeks after open surgery. If you are taking narcotic medications for pain, you should not drive.
Colon Resection or Large bowel resection is also known as:
Ascending colectomy, Descending colectomy, Transverse colectomy, Right hemicolectomy, Left hemicolectomy, Hand assisted bowel surgery, Low anterior resection, Sigmoid colectomy, Subtotal colectomy, Proctocolectomy, Colon resection, Laparoscopic colectomy, Colectomy – partial or Abdominal perineal resection.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at the Texas Center for Obesity Surgery in Plano, please complete an online appointment request or call our office at 214-501-1333.