Large bowel resection

Large bowel resection is surgery to remove all or part of your large bowel. This surgery is also called colectomy. The large bowel is also called the large intestine or colon.
  • Removal of the entire colon and the rectum is called a proctocolectomy.
  • Removal of part or all of the colon but not the rectum is called subtotal colectomy.

The large bowel connects the small intestine to the anus. Normally, stool passes through the large bowel before leaving the body through the anus.

Description

You will get general anesthesia before your surgery. This will make you asleep and pain-free. The surgery can be performed laparoscopically or with open surgery.

Depending on what type of procedure you have, your surgeon will make one or more cuts in your belly.

For open colectomy, your surgeon will make a 6- to 8-inch cut in your lower belly.

  • The surgeon will find the part of your colon that is diseased.
  • The surgeon will put clamps on both ends of this part to close it off.
  • Then the surgeon will remove the diseased part.
  • If there is enough healthy large intestine left, your surgeon will sew or staple the healthy ends back together. Most patients have this done.
  • If you do not have enough healthy large intestine to reconnect, you may have a colostomy.

In most cases, the colostomy is short-term. It can be closed with another operation later. But, if a large part of your bowel is removed, the colostomy may be permanent.

Your surgeon may also look at lymph nodes and other organs, and may remove some of them.

Colectomy surgery usually takes between 1 and 4 hours.

Why the Procedure is Performed

Large bowel resection is used to treat many conditions, including:

Other reasons to perform bowel resection are:

  • Familial polyposis
  • Injuries that damage the large bowel
  • Intussusception (when one part of the intestine pushes into another)
  • Precancerous polyps (nodes)
  • Severe gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Twisting of the bowel (volvulus)
  • Ulcerative colitis