Anterior Resection Surgery

Anterior Resection Surgery

Anterior Resection Surgery ` During the surgery, the part of your rectum with the cancer will be removed. The remaining part of your rectum will be connected back to your colon. You will be able to have bowel movements (poop) as normal as soon as you recover from your surgery.

Anterior Resection Surgery can be done using different techniques. Your doctor will discuss with you which options are right for you. Depending on what type of surgical operation you have, your doctor will make one or more incisions in your abdomen.

  • When one long incision is made on your abdomen, it is known as open surgery. The part of your rectum that has the cancer will be taken out thorough the incision.
  • When several small incisions are made on your abdomen, it is known as minimally invasive surgery. Small surgical equipment and a video camera will be put into the incisions to remove the cancer. Some doctors use a robotic device to assist with the surgery.

Once the part of your rectum with the cancer is taken out, the remaining part of your rectum will be connected back to your colon with small metal staples or sutures (stitches). The region where the two ends are reconnected is called an anastomosis. Anterior Resection surgery normally takes about 4 hours.


You might need to have an ileostomy for a short time after Anterior Resection surgery. An ileostomy is a little opening in your abdomen where bowel movements can leave your body. The ileostomy will prevent your bowel movements from passing through your colon and rectum. This allows the anastomosis heal.

If you will have an ileostomy, a part of your small intestine may be taken out through the opening in your abdomen during your surgery. The part of your intestine that’s outside your body is known as stoma. Your stoma will be pink or red and appear shiny and moist. Bowel movements and gas will leave your body through your stoma and enter into a plastic pouch that covers your stoma. Usually, your doctor will know before your surgery if you will need a temporary ileostomy. But the final decision will be made during your surgery.

If you will have a temporary ileostomy, a wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) nurse will help teach you how to take care of it prior to and after the surgical procedure. The ileostomy will be closed some months after your surgery. Few people require a permanent ileostomy.

Getting Ready for Your Surgery

You and your healthcare team will work together to prepare for your surgical operation.

Help us keep you safe during your surgical operation by letting us know if any of the following statements apply to you, even if you aren’t sure.

  • I take a blood thinner. Some examples are aspirin, heparin, warfarin (Coumadin®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), enoxaparin (Lovenox®), dabigatran (Pradaxa®), apixaban (Eliquis®), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto®). There are others, so be sure your doctor knows all the medicines you’re taking.
  • I take prescription medications (medications prescribed by a doctor), including patches and creams.
  • I take over-the-counter medicines (medicines I purchase without a prescription), including patches and creams.
  • I take dietary supplements, like herbs, vitamins, minerals, natural or home remedies.
  • I have a pacemaker, automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or other heart equipment.
  • I have sleep apnea (shortage of breath when sleeping).
  • I have had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • I am allergic to some medication(s) or materials, including latex.
  • I am not willing to get a blood transfusion.
  • I drink alcohol.
  • I smoke.
  • I use recreational drugs.

About Drinking Alcohol

The amount of alcohol you drink can have an effect on you during and after your surgery. It’s necessary to talk with your healthcare team about how much alcohol you drink. This will enable us plan your care.

  • If you quit drinking alcohol suddenly, it can cause seizures, delirium and death. If we know you’re at risk for these complications, we can prescribe medicines to help prevent them from happening.
  • If you drink alcohol regularly, you may be at risk for other complications during and after your surgical operation. These include bleeding, infections, heart issues, and a longer stay in the hospital.

Here are things you can do before your surgery to avoid having problems:

  • Be truthful with your healthcare providers about how much alcohol you drink.
  • Try to quit drinking alcohol once your surgery is planned. If you develop a headache, nausea, increased anxiety, or can’t sleep after you quit drinking, inform your healthcare provider immediately. These are early signs of alcohol withdrawal and can be treated.
  • Inform your healthcare provider if you can’t quit drinking.
  • Ask your healthcare team questions about drinking and surgery. As always, all of your medical information will be confidential.

About Smoking

If you smoke, you can have breathing problems when you have the surgical operation. Quitting even for a few days before your surgery can help.

About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common breathing problem that causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. The major type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA, your airway becomes totally blocked during sleep. OSA can lead to serious problems during and after surgery.

Please inform us if you have sleep apnea or if you think you might have it. If you use a breathing machine (like a CPAP machine) for sleep apnea, bring it with you the day of your surgery.

About Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)

ERAS is a program to help you get well faster after your surgery. As part of the ERAS program, it’s necessary to do certain things before and after your surgery.

Before your surgery, be sure you’re ready by doing the following things:

  • Read this guide. It will let you know what to expect before and during your surgical operation. If you have questions, write them down. You can inquire about them from your doctor or nurse at your next appointment.
  • Exercise and follow a healthy diet. This will help get your body ready for your surgical operation.

After your surgery, help yourself recover faster by doing the following things:

  • Read your recovery pathway. This is a book on educational resource that your nurse will give to you. It has goals for your recovery and will let you know what to do and expect every day during your recovery.
  • Start moving around once you can. The sooner you’re able to get out of bed and walk, the faster you will be able to get back to your regular activities.

DisclaimerThe information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by

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