Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

Basics: The Colon

The colon is the large intestine-- the lower part of your digestive tract, The intestine is a long tubular organ made up of the a) small intestine, b) the colon (large intestine) and c) the rectum, which is the last part of the colon. After food is swallowed digestion begins in the stomach, and then continues in the small intestine where the nutritional part of the food is absorbed. Waste products move past into the colon to the rectum and are then expelled from the body.

Diseases Of The Colon

Diseases of the colon and rectum that might require surgical intervention include diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's colitis, colonic polyps not amenable to removal by colonoscopy, tumors (benign and malignant), and hemorrhage.

Open Colon Resection

The surgery is performed while you are under general anesthesia. This means you are unconscious and pain-fiee. A cut is made in your abdomen. The diseased part of the large bowel is removed and the two healthy ends of the bowel are sewn back together (resected). The cut is closed. If the entire colon and rectum is removed, it is called a proctocolectomy.

Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

Advantages of laparoscopy over the open method of surgery include the following: Colon function normalizes quickly, faster recovery time and shorter hospitalization, less postoperative pain, quicker return to normal activities and smaller scars. The surgeon makes about four or five small one-half inch long incisions. A laparoscope (a tiny telescope attached to a video camera) is inserted into one of the openings, allowing the surgeon to see inside the abdomen. Instruments are inserted through the other openings and are used to remove the diseased section of bowel and reattach the healthy segments ('end-to-end anastomosis'). A slightly larger incision is usually made to remove the diseased section of colon from the body. The surgery takes 2 to 3 hours. The patient is frequently out of the operating room more quickly than after an open procedure.

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