Colectomy -- Open Surgery

This is a procedure to remove all or part of the colon. The colon, or large intestine, is the lower part of the intestines. In a partial colectomy, only part of the colon is removed. In a total colectomy, all of the colon is removed. ColonCopyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, warmth, drainage, or bulging at the incision site
    • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after surgery
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
    • Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
    • Not passing any stool
    • Blood in your stool, or black, tarry stools
    • Diarrhea
    • Feeling weak or lightheaded

    If you had a colostomy created, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Not collecting stool in the ostomy pouch
    • The skin around the stoma appears irritated, moist, red, swollen, or develops sores

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    This is a procedure to remove all or part of the colon. The colon, or large intestine, is the lower part of the intestines. In a partial colectomy, only part of the colon is removed. In a total colectomy, all of the colon is removed.

    Colon
    colectomy colon
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    A colectomy may be done to treat a variety of conditions, including:

    • Colorectal cancer

    • Inflammatory intestinal diseases such as
      colitis
      and
      Crohn’s disease
    • Intestinal blockage
    • Trauma to the intestine
    • Diverticular disease
      —small pouches in the wall of the colon
    • Precancerous polyps, especially those seen in familial polyposis
    • A hole in the bowel wall, or a dead piece of bowel
    • Bleeding from the colon

    For colon cancer, the goal is to remove all of the cancer. If you have a precancerous condition, then you may have prevented the development of cancer. If you had surgery due to other conditions, a successful operation will alleviate or improve your symptoms.

  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Damage to other organs or structures
    • Infection
    • Bleeding
    • Hernia
      forming
      at the incision site
    • Blood clots
    • Complications from general anesthesia

    Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

    • Smoking
    • Drinking
    • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity