Hemicolectomy is a surgical procedure done to remove part of the colon. Your colon, also known as the large intestine, is part of your bowel. Hemicolectomy is done to treat diseases like cancer, polyps and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, and also to relieve the signs you’ve been having, such as bleeding, blockage and pain.
Procedure for Hemicolectomy
A doctor can carry out hemicolectomy using either laparoscopic or open surgery.
Laparoscopic procedure: During a laparoscopic procedure, the doctor makes small cuts in the abdominal wall and inserts a thin scope. The scope has a lens and light for viewing purposes. The doctor then inserts surgical tools through the small incisions in the abdomen.
This type of procedure is also called keyhole surgery. If a doctor cannot carry out the surgical operation using this method, they will need to use open surgery.
Open surgery: An open hemicolectomy entails making longer incisions in the body to access the colon. Since the incisions are larger with an open procedure, recovery may take longer. The colon consists of 3 parts:
- The ascending colon, which attaches to the small intestine.
- The descending colon, which attaches to the rectum.
- The transverse colon, which is amid the ascending and descending colon.
Types of hemicolectomy
A hemicolectomy may include removing part of the colon on the right or left side.
- Right hemicolectomy: A doctor removes the ascending colon. Then, they reattach the transverse colon to the small intestine.
- Left hemicolectomy: A doctor removes the descending colon before reattaching the transverse colon.
Risks and complications of Hemicolectomy
- Excessive bleeding
- Internal injury
- Anastomotic leak
- Recovery from a hemicolectomy depends on if the procedure is laparoscopic or open surgery. However, recovery normally takes up to 1–2 months.
- A person’s underlying health issue may also affect recovery. In most cases, a hemicolectomy without complications requires a hospital stay of 3–7 days.
- Usually, a bladder catheter will remain for 1–2 days after the procedure to drain urine from the body. The doctor may also insert abdominal drains to get rid of fluids.
- An anesthetist will normally administer pain medication through an epidural, which they insert into the person’s back, close to the spine. After removing the epidural, a medical team may administer oral pain medications.
- Although it varies, people can usually resume eating and drinking when they feel ready. However, it may take up to 6–8 weeks before they can resume their normal diet.
- The doctor may encourage a person to start walking right after the procedure. Walking reduces the risk of a blood clot developing and also helps digestion.
- After discharge from the hospital, a person will get detailed recovery instructions. These may include when to resume normal activities like driving and lifting heavy objects.
Follow-up Care for Hemicolectomy
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by the doctor.
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