A colectomy is an operation in which part of the colon is removed. Most colectomies are done through a small incision in the middle of the abdomen that runs up and down or side to side. Small instruments are inserted through the incision. This is to view and move the organs.

Laparoscopic colectomies, also called minimally invasive colectomy, enable the surgeon to perform the operation through small incisions (usually less than one inch in length). Although the exact same operation is performed on the inside of the abdomen as an open surgery, with a laparoscopic procedure, the recovery is often faster and the cosmetic results are significantly better.

Colectomy, or removal of part of the colon, is one of the most common laparoscopic procedures. After your surgeon locates the affected area with help of the laparoscope, the vessels surrounding the diseased portion of the colon are sealed and cut. Surgeon then extracts the diseased segment through a trocar, or, in some cases, through an enlarged abdominal incision. The healthy parts of the colon are then secured together. Surgical tape or stitches close the incisions following surgery.

The risks and complications of a colectomy include:

  • Side effects from the anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Bleeding, with a possible need for a transfusion
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs

You will be encouraged to walk as early as the day of surgery. Walking has been shown to reduce recovery time. Walking helps you to protect you from developing blood clots and breathing problems. It also helps to get your bowels functioning again after anesthesia and helps with gas pains that most people experience after this surgery. You will be encouraged to walk 4 times a day beginning your 1st day after surgery.

After your surgery, you will be given IV fluids through a vein in your arm and you will also be given ice chips. On the first day after your surgery you will progress to clear liquids and then all liquids as soon as you can tolerate them. By the second day after surgery you will most likely progress to a soft diet until you are discharged.

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