Colectomy Laparoscopic Colon Resection
A colectomy, or colon resection, is removal of either part or all the colon depending on what the doctor determines. Most often, colectomies are used to treat:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
- Colon or rectal cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
A laparoscopic colectomy is a minimally invasive version of conventional surgery. Instead of a long incision on the abdomen, a laparoscopic colectomy involves several small incisions. A small port is inserted into the incision to pump carbon dioxide inside to create more space. A tiny telescope attached to a camera (laparoscope) is inserted through the port, allowing the surgeon to see a magnified version of the internal organs. Additional ports are inserted into different incisions depending on where the surgeon is working. After freeing the part of the colon needing removal, the remaining ends of the colon are connected, and the incision is closed with sutures.
The benefits of minimally invasive surgery are numerous. These include shorter hospital stay, faster recovery time, quicker return of bowel function, less scarring, and faster return to a normal diet and activities.
Some early-stage colon cancers and most polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy. A polypectomy is the surgical removal of a polyp or cancer. When they are removed this way, the surgeon does not have to cut into the abdomen. The surgeon places a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera (colonoscope) into the rectum and colon. This enables the surgeon to see the internal colon and access the bowel with surgical instruments. The doctor will remove the cancer as part of the polyp, which is cut at its base. This is usually done by passing a wire loop through the colonoscope to cut the polyp off the colon wall with an electric current.
The surgeon will also remove surrounding tissue for further examination. The goal is to remove the affected area in one piece. If some cancer is left behind or, based on lab tests, the cancer has thought to spread, a colectomy may be advised next.
A local excision of early rectal cancer is less invasive versus radical surgery and results in less postoperative pain and hospital time. The surgery preserves normal bowel function without the use of a stoma (an opening in the belly’s wall made for waste to leave the body).