Undergoing medical procedures can feel overwhelming, especially when they have names like “colon resection.” However, this procedure simply describes removing a portion of your large intestine, which is also known as the colon or large bowel. But why have this procedure, and what are the benefits?
Scott A. deVilleneuve, MD, specializes in advanced laparoscopic and general surgery at Surgical Associates of North Texas in McKinney, Texas. He offered these insights into colon resections and who can benefit from this procedure.
The colon is part of your digestive tract and helps your body digest food.
When stretched out, it’s approximately 5 feet long. However, inside your abdomen, it coils up into a squarish shape that connects your small intestine and rectum. As partially digested food passes through this long tube, the colon removes water along with some nutrients and electrolytes. The remaining solid waste — or stool — continues to the rectum for storage until you have a bowel movement. Then it leaves your body through the anus.
Unfortunately, issues can arise in the colon that prevent it from functioning properly. This can lead to a variety of symptoms — such as abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, or vomiting — depending on the colon problem.
If your bowel condition doesn’t respond to conservative treatments, a colon resection can offer solutions by removing the problematic tissue entirely.
A colon resection — also known as a partial colectomy — removes damaged or diseased areas of the colon or rectum. Then, the healthy parts of the colon or rectum are sewn back together to restore healthy function in the bowel.
Sometimes, a colon resection also requires a colostomy, because, in some cases, the colon can’t be rejoined immediately or at all. With a colostomy, bowel waste is diverted to a special pouch outside of the body, instead of through the colon to the rectum. You then empty the pouch periodically throughout the day.
A colon resection can resolve numerous conditions, even colon blockages or uncontrolled bleeding. However, the most common reasons to undergo colectomy surgery include:
Dr. deVilleneuve could also recommend colon resection to treat colorectal cancer or remove precancerous colon polyps.
Whenever possible, Dr. deVilleneuve uses laparoscopic techniques to perform colon resections. This allows him to remove the problematic areas of your bowel in the least invasive way possible. So, instead of a large incision, he uses a few small ones. This allows for fewer surgical risks and faster recovery times.
Dr. deVilleneuve provides detailed instructions to prepare for your procedure, including what medications you should take and how to empty your bowel in advance. The colon resection itself can take from one hour to more than four hours, depending on the extent of your procedure. However, you’ll receive general anesthetic to ensure your comfort no matter how long it takes.
After having a colon resection, you should expect a short hospital stay. Dr. deVilleneuve can offer personalized recovery estimates based on your condition, along with instructions to support the healing process. This usually includes sticking to a low fiber diet for up to one month while your colon heals and increasing your water intake.
Do you have a colon problem that doesn’t respond to conservative treatments? Dr. deVilleneuve may be able to help. To learn more, call 972-947-2264 or book an appointment online with Surgical Associates of North Texas today.