Colectomy is the treatment procedure to remove a part or the entire colon, which is the main component of the large intestine. The technique is also known as bowel resection. When colectomy is performed on the sigmoid colon—the final section of the colon before the rectum and anus—the procedure is called a sigmoid colectomy.
You need to make sure you empty your bowels beforehand ??? you may be given medicine to help you do this the day before the operation.
The main benefits are to remove that part of the large bowel (colon) affected by disease and relieve any symptoms that you may be experiencing. Your Surgeon will discuss with you your individual benefits from having this operation.
The operation takes around one and a half hours and is performed under general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will make a cut in the abdomen and remove part of the colon. They will usually join the ends of the bowel back together inside the abdomen. Occasionally they will need to make a stoma (opening of the bowel out through the skin) for safety reasons. Finally, the cut will be closed with stitches.
After the operation a drip will be placed in a vein in your arm. A catheter will also be placed in your bladder to help you pass urine. For more information, and if you have any queries about the procedure, speak to your consultant. Continue your normal medication unless you are told otherwise.
This type of operation is classed as major surgery and as with any form of surgery, carries risks (including risk to life). Your Surgeon will discuss with you in more detail your individual risks. All operations carry a risk from anaesthetics but this is minimised due to modern techniques. You will meet the Anaesthetist prior to your surgery who will explain in more detail, the type of anaesthetic you will receive and any individual specific risks.
Tiredness after surgery is very common. Spending more time on rest is a must thing after the surgery. You will gradually improve so that by the time three months have passed you will be able to return completely to your usual level of activity. You can restart sexual relations within two or three weeks when the wound is comfortable enough. Sometimes the operation will upset the nerves which control sex in the male. This is more frequent if during the operation the surgeon believes that your back passage (rectum) has to be removed. The surgeon will discuss this with you. You should be able to return to a light job after about six weeks and any heavy job within 12 weeks.