Colectomy is a surgical procedure in which a part or all of your colon is removed. This surgery is usually performed when the colon stops working or when another condition—such as inflammatory bowel syndrome—is causing severe symptoms and is not responding to other treatments.
Advanced Laparoscopic Associates performs several types of colectomy surgery, including proctocolectomy and hemicolectomy. Here’s more about why this surgery may be performed and how to request an appointment if you think you may need this procedure.
Colectomy is a procedure in which a portion or all of the colon is surgically removed to treat issues and conditions that affect or involve the colon.
The colon is the part of the large intestine at the end of the digestive tract near the rectum, where waste is formed into fecal matter, or feces, before it leaves the body. This surgery aims to maintain the functionality of your gastrointestinal tract in the event of cancer, bowel obstruction and other conditions that affect the gastrointestinal system.
There are several types of colectomy—each of which is named according to the part of your colon being removed. The types include:
- Total colectomy. The entire colon is removed in a total colectomy.
- Partial colectomy. A portion of the colon is removed in a total colectomy, also known as a subtotal colectomy.
- Sigmoid colectomy. The part of the colon that connects to the rectum is removed during sigmoid colectomy, also known as sigmoidectomy.
- Hemicolectomy. Either the right side (ascending colon) or left side (descending colon) of the colon is removed during hemicolectomy.
- Proctocolectomy. Both the rectum and a portion or all of the colon are removed in proctocolectomy.
A variety of gastrointestinal issues and conditions may be treated with a colectomy. You may be an ideal candidate for this procedure if you have one of the following conditions:
- Large bowel obstruction. This is when a blockage forms in the colon—such as a tumor—and causes symptoms including severe nausea, abdominal pain and distention that do not respond to other treatments.
- Colon cancer. Colectomy may be performed to remove the part of the colon with cancer to prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of the body.
- Uncontrolled bleeding in the colon. The part of the intestine that is bleeding may be removed with colectomy.
- Crohn’s disease. Part of your colon may be removed to reduce symptoms.
- Ulcerative colitis. Colectomy may help relieve symptoms if other treatments are not helping.
Diverticulitis. This is an infection or inflammation in the digestive tract. Colectomy may be needed if you have recurring diverticulitis.
Colectomy can be performed as open or laparoscopic surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery is generally far less invasive than open surgery and requires a shorter hospital stay and recovery. However, not everyone who needs this procedure is a candidate for this type of surgery. In some cases, your colectomy may begin as laparoscopic surgery but convert to open surgery, depending on what happens during the procedure.
With open colectomy, one long incision is made across your abdomen so your surgeon can easily access your colon. A portion or all of the colon is cut away from surrounding tissues and carefully removed from your body. Then, the incision is closed using a series of stitches.
With laparoscopic colectomy, a series of tiny incisions are made across your abdomen, into which small surgical tools are inserted to perform the surgery. One of these tools is called a laparoscope, a tiny camera that projects the insides of your abdominal cavity onto a screen viewed by your surgeon. Next, your surgeon inserts other surgical instruments into the other incisions to remove a portion or all of your colon and then closes the incisions using stitches.
Recovery from colectomy can last anywhere between a few days to a week or longer, depending on the type of surgery you had and how quickly you can regain bowel function. Your hospital stay and recovery may be significantly shortened if you have laparoscopic surgery.
During your time in the hospital, you will be monitored closely for complications—including signs of infection—and be provided with soft or liquid foods until your bowel heals. When you go home, you may need another two weeks in which to relax and recover, and regain your strength. You will be advised to adhere to a low-fiber diet to promote the healing of your colon and to avoid any strenuous activities until your colon is healed.
You may be an ideal candidate for this procedure if you have any one of the gastrointestinal conditions listed above and your symptoms and/or conditions are not responding to other treatments.
A surgeon may also perform a colectomy, as a preventive treatment if you meet the risk factors for colon cancer. Your doctor can review your medical history and talk to you in greater detail about whether you are a candidate.
Advanced Laparoscopic Associates offers bariatric and general surgeries, including colectomy surgery. Contact us today to request an appointment to find out if you’re an ideal candidate for this procedure.