Whether you are scheduled for a colectomy or just interested in how and why this bowel resection surgery is performed, you have clicked on the right article. We have asked the best experts in the field to provide you with answers to all of your questions related to a colectomy. What is a bowel resection surgery, and why is it performed? Who are eligible candidates for this procedure? What does recovery look like, and how long does it last? Find out everything you want to know about colon resection surgery below.

Nevertheless, your first step should be to consult with a medical professional. If you have any doubts or questions regarding your health, talking to a trusted medical professional at a safe clinic is your best option. If you are in the area or searching for the best, we suggest colon surgery in Wellington, FL.

That said, here are the must-know facts about getting a colectomy.

What Does a Colectomy Mean?

In short, a colectomy or colon resection surgery refers to a surgical operation involving the colon’s partial or total removal. For reference, the colon is a part of the large bowel. This means that a colon resection surgery is a large bowel resection type. The colon is part of the large intestine, where food waste gradually solidifies into fecal matter. If you have any additional questions related to your health or you want to find out if you require a colectomy, contact Advanced Surgical Physicians today.

Who Might Need a Colon Resection Surgery?

Woman Having Bladder Pain Problem Sitting on Bed in Bedroom

A colon resection surgery may be performed for several reasons. For instance, the patient may have cancer or a disease that doctors cannot treat with medications. By removing affected parts, the rest of the gastrointestinal tract may continue functioning.

Many health complications may require colon resection surgery. Some of the most common include:

  • Precancerous conditions. If you have had a colonoscopy and the results revealed abnormal changes in the colon that could be linked to cancer progression, you may be recommended a colon resection surgery. Patients may also opt for an elective colectomy if they are dealing with a genetic condition with a high chance of progressing to colon cancer. For instance, this includes patients with Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis or FAP.
  • Colon cancer. If medical professionals locate cancer in the colon, it is vital to have the cancerous part of the colon removed. By doing this, the expert will determine the cancer stage and help prevent the illness from spreading.
  • Large bowel obstruction. Patients with a severely blocked colon who cannot be treated with conventional methods may require surgery. In this case, surgery is performed to remove the blockage. Some of the reasons why blockage may occur include stricture or narrowing and volvulus or twist of the large intestine.

Additionally, patients may require a colectomy to treat the following medical conditions:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease. If the patient has Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and the colon is severely affected, the medical expert may suggest a colon resection surgery.
  • Uncontrolled bleeding. Unfortunately, bleeding and injury in the colon are hard to treat without surgery. When the patient is dealing with unstoppable gastrointestinal bleeding, colectomy may be the best treatment option.
  • Diverticulitis. When a patient has diverticulitis repeatedly and medical treatment is ineffective, colon resection surgery may be the safest choice.

Is Colon Resection Surgery Serious?

Most people claim that colon removal is a major surgical procedure. While the standard definition of minor and major surgery does not exist, the colon removal procedure lasts several hours. Moreover, the recovery time can last a maximum of six weeks, which, compared to other procedures, is a long time. On top of that, colon removal can impact the way food travels via the gastrointestinal tract. Some colectomy versions may influence the way you use the toilet in the future. That said, colectomy can also be performed using less invasive methods. For instance, some patients may be candidates for robotic or laparoscopic surgery, which involves a shorter recovery time. Overall, the patient’s condition will determine the type of operation.

How is a Colectomy Performed?

You will need to prepare correctly before undergoing colon removal. Here is a brief overview of what to expect from the preparation stage. Firstly, you will need to get a health screen. Besides gathering your health history and doing a physical exam, you will also need to get the following:

  • An x-ray
  • Blood tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Colonoscopy
  • Electrocardiogram or EKG test

Before the operation, you will also require pre-operative counseling. This is useful to help you understand the procedure, the possible surgical risks, your options for managing pain, and how to live with a colostomy (in case you have one).

Your bowel will need to be prepped as well. Your doctor may ask you to fast before surgery, consume a clear liquid diet, or use an enema or laxative.

What to Expect from a General Procedure

The specifics of the surgery will depend on your operation type and the surgical method utilized. Generally, this is what you can expect.

Typically, the healthcare professional will administer general anesthesia to put the patient to sleep. Next, they will create incisions in the belly area or the abdomen and carefully take out the colon tissue that is affected. After this, the healthy bowel ends will be connected via sutures or staples. Alternatively, a stoma will be created. The healthcare professional will redirect the patient’s bowel end to the created stoma. Finally, the abdominal incisions will be closed.

Variations of Colon Resection Surgery

There are two main variations of colon resection. These include partial and total colectomy. 

Total Colectomy 

Patients undergoing total colectomy will have their entire colon or most of the large intestine removed. Your healthcare provider will tell you whether you are a candidate for this variation or not.

Subtotal or Partial Colectomy

A patient undergoing subtotal or partial colectomy will have parts of the colon removed. The operation’s name can vary depending on the section of the colon that will be removed. For instance, this involves sigmoid colectomy, proctocolectomy, and hemicolectomy.

  • Sigmoid Colectomy: A sigmoidectomy or a sigmoid colectomy refers to removing the colon’s last section (also known as the sigmoid colon).
  • Proctocolectomy: This refers to the complete or partial removal of the rectum and the colon.
  • Hemicolectomy: One side of the colon is removed.

Recovering: What to Expect

Abdominal Pain Patient Woman Having Medical Exam With Doctor

Recovery from these procedures can take up to six weeks. On average, patients will have to spend a couple of days in the hospital before being discharged. Sometimes, patients may need to stay in the hospital for up to a week. During this period, you will be:

  • Slowly weaned from pain-relieving medication.
  • Closely monitored for complications.
  • Fed with a soft or liquid diet.
  • Patiently waiting for the bowels to begin working again.

Your doctor may also provide you with help regarding ostomy care, dietary advice, and wound care.

Give Us a Call Today

Keep in mind that this blog is for informational purposes only. If symptoms do not resolve or if they return, seek medical attention as soon as possible at your primary care physician or with our office.

Are you ready to get started with your healing journey? We are here to help you achieve your wellness dreams. Contact Dr. Eldredge at Advanced Surgical Physicians to get started today.