Surgery in Colon Cancer

What is Colectomy?

A colectomy is the surgical operation to remove a portion or all of the colon.

Sometimes only part of the colon is removed. It is known as a hemicolectomy, partial colectomy, or segmental resection. The surgeon removes out the part of the colon with the cancer and a small segment of normal colon on either sides. Roughly, one-fourth to one-third of the colon is normally removed, depending on the cancer’s size and location. Then, the remaining colon parts are re-attached. They also remove at least 12 surrounding lymph nodes, so they can be tested for cancer.

When the entire colon is removed, it is called a total colectomy. There is not always a need for total colectomy to treat Colon Cancer. It is mostly used only when there is another problem without cancer, such as hundreds of polyps (adenomatous polyposis) or, sometimes, inflammatory bowel disorder.

How is colectomy performed?

A colectomy can be performed in two ways:

  • Open colectomy: The Surgery is performed through a single long incision (cut) in the abdomen.
  • Laparoscopic-assisted colectomy: The Surgery is performed through many smaller incisions and special tools. A laparoscope is put into one of the small cuts, and flexible, thin instruments are put in through the others to remove part of the colon and lymph nodes.

Since the incisions in a laparoscopically assisted colectomy are smaller than in an open colectomy, patients often heal more rapidly and may be able to leave the hospital earlier than they would after an open colectomy. But Surgery of this type requires special expertise, and it may not be the best approach for everyone. If you are considering Surgery of this type, be sure to look for an experienced surgeon who has performed many of these operations.

What are the risks and side effects of colectomy?

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots in the legs.
  • Pain
  • Bowel block