What you need to know about a Colectomy Procedure
Colectomy is a surgical procedure carried out to remove part or all of the colon (also known as the large intestine – a long tube-like organ located at the end of the digestive tract). The procedure is necessary to treat or prevent diseases affecting your colon. There are four main types of colectomy: total colectomy (the entire colon is removed), partial colectomy (part of the colon is removed), hemicolectomy (the right or left portion of the colon is removed), and proctocolectomy (the colon and the rectum are removed).
What Does the Procedure Involve?
Colectomy can be performed with two different methods: open colectomy and laparoscopic colectomy, both are carried out under general anesthetic. Open surgery involves creating a large incision in your abdomen to access the colon, then the colon is cut out or a part of it is removed using surgical tools. If you have a laparoscopic colectomy, your surgeon makes small incisions in your abdomen to insert a tiny camera through one incision and surgical instruments through the other incisions.
For an in-depth analysis of a Colectomy Procedure, watch this short video.
How Long Should You Stay in the Area?
You are required to stay in the hospital until you regain bowel function, which usually takes two to seven days. after you’re discharged, plan to stay in the area for 7 more days as your doctor will schedule follow-up checkups to monitor your condition and remove your stitches.
How Long is the Recovery Time?
You may be able to resume most of your normal activities within 2 to 3 weeks if you underwent open surgery, the total recovery time can take up to 6 weeks. Laparoscopic colectomy has shorter recovery time and with less pain and you may be able to go back to work within a week, but you should avoid any vigorous exercises and heavy lifting until you get your surgeon’s go ahead.
What Aftercare Should You Consider?
You will need to eat a low-fiber diet for about a month and follow a balanced, healthy diet even after your recovery period. Your surgeon will show you how to care for your wound. You may want to schedule a follow-up appointment and you can do this with your local doctor.
What is the Success Rate for a Colectomy Procedure?
The success rate for colectomy is high. However, there are some side effects and risks that the procedure carries, such as bleeding, blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) and in the legs (deep vein thrombosis), infection, injury to nearby organs (the bladder and small intestines), and tears in the sutures.
Are there Alternatives to a Colectomy Procedure?
There is currently no alternative to colectomy. You may be able to take medications, but for a long-term solution, you will need to undergo a colectomy to treat your condition.
What Should You Expect Before and After the Procedure?
Before a colectomy, you may experience symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day activities. You may also have life-threatening conditions, such as colon cancer. After the surgery, any symptoms will be relieved and your condition may be cured.
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