Colon resection is the removal of a portion of the large intestine. This may be necessary due to benign or malignant tumors, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, and volvulus. In the majority of patients, this procedure can be performed using laparoscopic technology.
What is Laparoscopic Surgery?
The laparoscope is a fiberoptic telescope that is connected to a high-resolution video camera. Four or five small incisions (1/4 inch) are made in the abdominal wall, one of which is usually just below the umbilical (belly button). The images from the laparoscope are projected onto a television monitor to be viewed by the surgeon in the operating room. Small specialized surgical instruments are inserted into the abdomen to perform the surgery. The abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas in order to allow the surgeon to see the abdominal structures. The gas is removed from the abdomen before the patient awakens from general anesthesia (the patient will be asleep for the entire procedure). A portion of the colon is removed using a small incision. The size and placement of the incision is dependent on which side of the colon is removed and the exact reason for removing it. The same amount of colon is removed as would be done in traditional surgery.
What Can I Expect After the Surgery?
Most patients stay in the recovery room for two hours after the surgery and take oral pain relievers for a few days. Patients are out of bed the day of surgery. Discharge from the hospital is usually on the fourth day following surgery, and the majority of patients are back to normal activity in 10 to 14 days.
Are There Benefits to Laparoscopic Colon Resection?
- As there are small incisions, the amount of pain following surgery is reduced.
- The length of stay in the hospital is shorter than with traditional surgery.
- Return to normal activity is more rapid.
- There is evidence that the incidence of infectious complications is lower than with traditional surgery.
Am I a Candidate for Laparoscopic Surgery?
Most patients with diverticulitis, benign or malignant tumors, or Crohn's disease are candidates for laparoscopic colon resection. However, some patients are not. It is important to consult with your surgeon beforehand. If performed by a qualified surgeon experienced in laparoscopic techniques, laparoscopic colon resection is as safe as the traditional operation.