Whether you’ve been advised that you might need a colectomy or you are already planning for your surgery, MIS may be for you. An advanced technique, MIS offers better outcomes, shorter hospital stays, lower hospital bills, less pain and reduced risk of complications.1
WHAT IS A COLECTOMY?
A colectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a portion or all of the colon. A colectomy may be recommended in cases of severe colon disease or colon cancer.
In extreme cases where the entire large intestine is removed, it is called total colectomy, and proctocolectomy denotes that the rectum is included.
Although considered a major surgery, advances in surgical techniques have greatly improved the outcomes seen with colectomy procedures of the past.5
Who Gets Colectomies
People of all ages, sexes, and backgrounds receive colectomies. Because of the diverse conditions that may require one, men and women receive nearly the same number. Age, however, does increase the risk.
The percentage of colectomies performed on men — 46% for women2
The number of colectomies performed each year in the United States3
The age at which colectomy becomes more common for doctors to recommend4
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR A COLECTOMY?
The colon sends out signals when it isn't working properly. It’s vital that you pay attention to these signals — early diagnosis is a key to the best possible outcome. Consult your doctor if you experience the following:
- Abdominal Pain — especially on the left side
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Persistent Diarrhea or Constipation
- Rectal Bleeding or Bloody Stools
- Weight Loss or Gain
Several diseases can interfere with the normal functioning of the colon. These diseases are classified as benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). They can cause symptoms including bleeding, infection, and perforation.
WHAT ARE THE 3 TYPES OF COLON DISEASE?
Colon disease is grouped into three categories, with more specific diagnoses around each. The first is inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Then there is diverticular disease, whether diverticulosis or diverticulitis. Lastly, there is colon cancer or colon polyps, which may signal the possibility of cancer.
In some cases, doctors treat the disease by removing a segment of the colon. Given that the average person has 8-10 feet of small bowel and 3-5 feet of colon, removing a segment generally doesn't affect normal colon functioning.1-4
WHAT ARE MY SURGICAL OPTIONS?
Colon surgery is primarily performed in two ways:
Open Colectomy — Open surgery involves making a longer incision in the abdomen to access the colon. A surgeon uses surgical tools to free the colon from the surrounding tissue and cuts out either a portion of the colon or the entire colon.
Laparoscopic Colectomy — Laparoscopic colectomy, also called minimally invasive colectomy, involves several small incisions in your abdomen. A surgeon passes a tiny video camera through one incision and special surgical tools through the other incisions.
The surgeon watches a video screen in the operating room as the tools are used to free the colon from the surrounding tissue. The colon is then brought out through a small incision in your abdomen. This allows the surgeon to operate on the colon outside of the patient’s body.
Once repairs are made to the colon, the surgeon reinserts the colon through the incision.
The type of operation depends on each individual’s situation and surgeon's expertise. Laparoscopic colectomy may reduce the pain and recovery time after surgery.1,5
Learn About Colectomy Surgery
DOWNLOAD OUR COLECTOMY DATASHEET
If all the information about colectomies feels overwhelming, download our colectomy datasheet.
It features key details and quick stats on why many patients choose minimally invasive surgery.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR SURGEON
The following is a list of questions to ask your surgeon:
- Which colectomy procedures are you most comfortable with/do you perform the most?
- Which one do you recommend for me and why?
- What risks are associated with this type of surgery?
- Do I have more than one option?
- What kind of anesthesia will I need?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- Will my insurance cover the surgery?
- Will I need pain medication after surgery?
- When will I be able to return to work?
- When and how often will I need to see you for follow-up visits?
LOOKING FOR A COLECTOMY SURGEON?
The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) can help you find MIS physicians, specializing in colectomies and related surgeries,Visit SAGES.ORG