What is the Colon?
When you hear the term “large intestine,” that is what is referred to as the colon. The intestine is a tube-shaped organ consisting of many parts: the large intestine (colon), small intestine, and the rectum. Once food is digested in the stomach, it goes into the small intestine where nutritional absorption occurs. Once nutrients have been filtered out, the remaining waste passes through the colon and on to the rectum, where it is expelled from the body.
Laparoscopic Colon Resection Surgery
Dr. Leong focus’s on surgical techniques that are minimally invasive to provide our patients with the most advanced and least painful treatment possible. With Laparoscopic Colon Resection surgery, our doctors can perform colon surgery using small instruments and tiny incisions, which can help patients shorten their hospital stays and return to normal daily activities more quickly than that associated with “open” colon surgery. Typically 4 or 5 small incisions are made, allowing your surgeon to perform the surgery with small instruments and a tiny video camera that relays images to a television screen, giving your doctor a clear and precise view of the area.
Advantages of Laparoscopic Colon Resection Surgery
The results of Laparoscopic Colon Resection surgery will depend on the type of colon condition being treated and your overall condition; however, with many patients, the procedure has distinct advantages over traditional surgery, including:
- Quicker recovery times
- Less visible scarring
- Less pain after surgery
- Potentially shortened hospital stay
- Potentially quicker return to a diet with solid foods
- Potentially faster return of bowel function
Are You a Candidate for Laparoscopic Colon Resection Surgery?
Laparoscopic Colon Resection is a specialized surgical technique that can be very helpful to many patients; however, each patient is unique and the procedure may not be the best option for some. Dr. Leong will meet with you in consultation to determine whether you are a candidate for Laparoscopic Colon Resection surgery.
A colonoscopy or barium enema are the usual diagnostic tools uses to discover most diseases of the colon. A colonoscopy involves the insertion of a soft tube through the anus and into the colon for examination. A barium enema utilizes a special fluid that is flushed into the rectum, allowing for an x-ray of the area. A CT scan of the abdomen may be necessary in some cases. Blood tests, electrocardiogram (EKG) tests, and/or a chest x-ray may also be required.
Preparation for Surgery
Depending on your medical condition and your age, pre-operative preparation for Laparoscopic Colon Resection surgery often includes medical evaluation, blood work, EKG, and a chest x-ray. All risks and benefits of the procedure will be explained to you, and you will need to sign consent for surgery. Depending on your condition, you may need blood products and/or a blood transfusion. Showering the night before or the morning of your operation is recommended, and patients will often need to drink a special cleansing solution to empty the colon and rectum before surgery. Prior to the operation, you may need to spend several days drinking clear liquids, taking laxatives, and undergoing enemas in preparation. Our surgeon will likely prescribe oral antibiotics as well. All pre-operative instruction must be followed carefully, and your surgeon should be contacted if you are unable to fulfill the requirements or take the antibiotics. You should not eat or drink anything, except the medications our surgeon has approved for you to take with a sip of water, after midnight on the night before your surgery. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories such as arthritis medication, Vitamin E, and blood thinners will need to be temporarily stopped up to a week before the procedure. St. John’s Worth and/or diet medications should be stopped two week before the procedure.
Smoking must also be stopped in the weeks before surgery. Also, please arrange for any assistance at home that you may need during recovery.
How Laparoscopic Colon Resection is Performed
Laparoscopic Colon Resection surgery typically utilizes a small tube-like instrument called a cannula to enter the abdomen. A small instrument called a laparoscope, which is rather like a telescope connected to a video camera, is pushed through the cannula. The laparoscope gives your surgeon a monitored view of your internal organs. Other cannulas are inserted to give your surgeon the ability to work on the large intestine and remove the affected areas. The idea is to create the smallest incisions and most minimally invasive procedure possible, increasing the chances of a quicker and more comfortable recovery.
What if Laparoscopic Colon Resection is Not a Surgical Option
Open colon surgery may need to be performed in some patients with certain conditions. The possibilities of choosing or converting to an open procedure include:
- Dense scar tissue caused by previous abdominal surgery
- Bleeding problems during surgery
- Inability to visualize organs
Your surgeon will decide that open surgery is a better option before the procedure, or during the actual operation if he or she feels that an open procedure is safer. This is typically not a complication, only the result of sound surgical judgment based on your safety.
It is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions after surgery. Patients often feel better in just a few days; however, remember that your body needs time to heal. You will be advised to be up walking one day after your surgery to reduce muscle soreness. In about one to two weeks, you will likely be able to resume normal daily activities. You will need to schedule a follow-up appointment within two weeks after surgery so that we can evaluate your progress.
Risks of Complications
As with any surgery, Laparoscopic Colon Resection does have risks, including:
- Leakage at the resected area
- Injury to nearby organs such as the bladder, ureter, or small intestine
- Blood clots in the lungs
Fever, chills, rectal bleeding, and/or severe pain in the abdomen may be warning signs of complications. Please contact your surgeon or primary care physician immediately if you notice any problems.
When to Call Your Doctor
If any of the following conditions develop after surgery, please call Dr. Leong or primary care physician:
- Rectal bleeding
- Inability to eat or drink liquids
- Redness around your incisions that seem to be getting worse or getting bigger
- Pus draining from any of the incisions
- Persistent cough
- Persistent shortness of breath
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Persistent fever over 101 degrees
- Increasing swelling in the abdomen
- Pain that is not reduced by taking your medications