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Health Encylopedia

 
Bowel resection
 
SubjectContents
Definition Surgical removal (resection) of diseased part of bowel (large intestine: colon).
Alternative Names Colon resection; Resection of part of large intestine; Colon removal; Colectomy
Description The patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia). An incision is made in the abdomen. The diseased part of the large intestine (colon) is removed. The two healthy ends are then sewn back together and the incision is closed. If it is necessary to spare the colon from its normal digestive work while it heals, a temporary opening of the colon onto the skin of abdominal wall ( colostomy ) may be created.  The proximal end of the colon is passed through the abdominal wall and the edges sewn to the skin. A removable bag is then attached to the skin around the colostomy and stool then pass into the bag, which is emptied by the patient 2-4 times per day.  In most cases, depending on the disease process being treated, colostomies are temporary and can be closed with another operation at a later date. If a large portion of the bowel is removed, or the distal end of the colon is too diseased to reconnect to the proximal intestine, the colostomy may be permanent. The large intestine (colon) absorbs a significant amount of water from digested food. When the colon is bypassed by a colostomy, the patient should expect loose or liquid stool (feces) from the colostomy. Careful skin care and a well-fitting colostomy bag are necessary to reduce skin irritation around the colostomy.
Indications Large bowel (colon) resection is recommended for a variety of disease processes. The most common include:
  • Cancer
  • Diverticulitis
  • Blockage of the intestine (
  • intestinal obstruction ) due to scar tissue Other indications include:
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • refractory to medical therapy
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Pre-cancerous polyps
  • Familial polyposis
  • Risks
  • Risks for any anesthesia are:
  • Reactions to medications
  • Problems breathing
  • Risks for any surgery are:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Additional risks include:
  • Bulging through the incision (incisional
  • hernia )
  • Narrowing (stricture) of the opening (stoma)
  • Blockage (obstruction) of the intestine from scar tissue
  • Expectations after surgery The outcome depends on the disease. Most patients have a good outcome with relief of symptoms.
    Convalescence Most patients will stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days. Complete recovery from surgery may take 2 months. During the first few days after surgery, eating is restricted.