Printer Logo

Large bowel resection

Colostomy - series
Large bowel resection - series

Definition

Large bowel resection is surgery to remove all or part of your large bowel. This surgery is also called colectomy. The large bowel is also called the large intestine or colon.

The large bowel connects the small intestine to the anus. Normally, stool passes through the large bowel before leaving the body through the anus.

Alternative Names

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; Abdominal perineal resection

Description

You will get general anesthesia before your surgery. This will make you sleep and keep you pain-free. The surgery can be performed laparoscopically or with open surgery.

Depending on what type of procedure you have, your surgeon will make one or more cuts in your belly.

With laparoscopic colectomy, the surgeon uses a tiny camera to see inside your belly and small instruments to remove part of your large bowel. You will have three to five small cuts in your lower belly. The surgeon passes the medical instruments through these cuts.

For open colectomy, your surgeon will make a 6- to 8-inch cut in your lower belly.

In most cases, the colostomy is short-term. It can be closed with another operation later. But, if a large part of your bowel is removed, the colostomy may be permanent.

Your surgeon may also look at lymph nodes and other organs, and may remove some of them.

Colectomy surgery usually takes between 1 and 4 hours.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Large bowel resection is used to treat many conditions, including:

Other reasons to perform bowel resection are:

Risks

Talk with your doctor about these possible risks and complications.

Risks for any anesthesia are:

Risks for any surgery are:

Risks for this surgery are:

Before the Procedure

Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

Talk with your doctor or nurse about these things before you have surgery:

During the 2 weeks before your surgery:

The day before your surgery:

On the day of your surgery:

After the Procedure

You will be in the hospital for 3 to 7 days. You may have to stay longer if your colectomy was an emergency operation.

You may also need to stay longer if a large amount of your small intestine was removed or you develop any complications. By the second or third day, you will probably be able to drink clear liquids. Your doctor or nurse will slowly add thicker fluids and then soft foods as your bowel begins to work again.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most people who have a large bowel resection recover fully. Even with a colostomy, most people are able to do most activities they were doing before their surgery. This includes most sports, travel, gardening, hiking, and other outdoor activities, and most types of work.

If you have a long-term (chronic) condition, such as cancer, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis, you may need ongoing medical treatment.

References

Fry RD, Mahmoud N, Maron DJ, Bleier JIS. Colon and rectum. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 52.


Review Date: 1/29/2013
Reviewed By: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.