Laparoscopic Total Abdominal Colectomy

Total abdominal colectomy is the removal of the entire colon. This may be necessary due to ulcerative colitis, Crohn's colitis or familial polyposis. In many 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 to 1/2 inch) are made in the abdominal wall, one of which is usually just below the umbilicus (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 your surgeon to see the abdominal structures. The gas is removed from the abdomen before you wake from anesthesia (you will be asleep for the entire procedure).

What is the Postoperative Course Following Laparoscopic Total Colectomy?

After a two-hour stay in the recovery room, the patient is transferred to a surgical floor. Most patients are out of bed the evening of surgery. Injectable pain medication is given the first night and oral pain medication the day after. A tube in the nose (nasogastric tube) is not required. Clear fluids are given the day after surgery, and solid food when the patient passes gas. Discharge from the hospital is usually 4 or 5 days following surgery, and return to normal activities is around two weeks after the operation.

What are the Benefits of Laparoscopic Total Colectomy?

  • Four or five small incisions, avoiding a large scar.
  • Reduced pain after surgery.
  • Shorter hospital stay.
  • Shorter recovery time, and quicker return to daily activities.

Am I a Candidate for Laparoscopic Total Colectomy?

Many patients are candidates for this procedure, but not all. Patients should discuss this surgical option with their physician. Extensive training in laparoscopic techniques is required in order to complete this procedure laparoscopically. If performed by a qualified laparoscopic surgeon, it is as safe as traditional surgery.