What is Colon Resection?
Colon resection is surgery to remove part of the large bowel. The large bowel, also called the large intestine or colon connects the small intestine to the anus and is part of the digestive tract. During colon resection, the diseased or damaged section of the intestine is removed and the two healthy sections of the colon are reattached.
Who are candidates for Colon Resection?
Large bowel resection is used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
Diverticular disease – when small sacs or pouches that develop in the colon become chronically infected and inflamed.
Intestinal blockage caused by scar tissue
Bowel resection may also be performed for these conditions:
Ulcerative colitis – a form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes swelling and ulcerations.
Precancerous polyps – swollen thick membranes that grow on the lining of the colon that may eventually cause cancer.
Familial polyposis – an inherited condition in which polyps (swollen thick membranes) develop on the lining of the colon.
Depending on the type of resection, a colostomy may be required. A colostomy is a surgical opening made through the abdomen to allow a path for elimination of waste. It may be a temporary or permanent condition to allow the colon to heal. A colostomy may be required under these circumstances:
Intra-abdominal infection, such as perforated diverticulitis
Injury to the colon or rectum (for example, a gunshot wound)
Perineal wounds or fistulas – abnormal connections between that occur between parts of the intestine
What is the Colon resection recovery process?
The length of your hospital stay will depend on the type of procedure. In general, you can expect the following:
You will have sutures (stitches) or metal clips (staples) to hold your incision together with gauze bandages covering the incision. Stitches under the skin dissolve, but in almost all cases you will have to have some sutures or staples removed about seven to ten days after surgery.
You may need assistance standing up, but you will be encouraged to walk around your room and to the bathroom.
You should expect to stay in the hospital two to seven days following the procedure at which time the medical staff will evaluate your pain levels, fluid intake, increase walking/sitting times and getting nutrition by mouth.
Your activity should be limited for a couple of weeks. Your body will need almost two months to return to a normal activity level. Walking and other gentle activities are very important to regaining your strength. Avoid any strenuous physician activity such as heavy housework such as vacuuming, until approved by your physician. Do not lift anything heavier than 5 kgs for at least six weeks after surgery. Walk a little more each day.
The diet recommended by your doctor, drink plenty of fluids and do not take laxatives unless approved by your doctor.
What are alternatives to Colon Resection?
Depending on your condition, alternative treatments may be available. Medications to treat particular conditions may be advised. Discuss with your physician if there are alternative treatments that would be appropriate for your situation.