Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

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The colon is also known as the large intestine located in the lower part of the digestive tract. After the food is swallowed in the stomach, it empties into the small intestine where the nutritional part is absorbed. The remaining food product moves through the colon where moisture is extracted first before it is expelled as solid material we call stool through the rectum. In some instances, uncontrolled growth of the cells that line the inside of the colon or rectum may occur. This may lead to colon or colorectal cancer.

What is Laparoscopic Colon Surgery?

Laparoscopic Colon Surgery is the minimally invasive technique for many common procedures on the colon through small incisions in the patient's abdomen.

In most laparoscopic colon resections, surgeons operate through 4 or 5 small openings (each about a quarter inch) while watching an enlarged image of the patient's internal organs on a television monitor. In some cases, one of the small openings may be lengthened to 2 or 3 inches to complete the procedure.

When is laparoscopic colon surgery indicated?

Laparoscopic colon surgery is an accepted alternative to conventional surgery for cancers of the colon and rectum. It has also been accepted as a very good option for benign diseases such as polyps, diverticulitis, rectal prolapse and the likes.

How do I prepare for laparoscopic colon surgery?

  • Take no food or liquids after midnight the night before surgery. This decreases the risk of vomiting after you receive anesthesia.
  • If you are taking medications daily, discuss the need to take them with your doctor prior to the morning of surgery (with a sip of water). If taking blood thinners, aspirin or arthritis medications, discuss the proper time to stop these before the surgery.
  • Speak with the anesthesiologist before surgery to discuss anesthesia and keeping you free of pain during surgery and pain management postoperatively.

What are the advantages of laparoscopic colon surgery?

  • Less postoperative pain
  • Shorter hospital stay as patients may leave the hospital after a few days
  • Faster return to solid-food diet
  • Quicker return of bowel function
  • Quicker return to normal activity
  • Improved cosmetic results

Are there any disadvantages to laparoscopic colon surgery?

Laparoscopic colon resection procedure takes a little longer than conventional surgery, but this is offset by the quicker recovery and faster return to normal activities.

In terms of direct hospital costs, laparoscopic colon surgery is more expensive than conventional surgery. However, when the quicker post-op recovery and early return to normal activity are considered, its overall cost is actually lower than that of conventional surgery.

Are there any post-operative concerns?

Make certain that you call your physician if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Worsening redness around the incision sites
  • Significant drainage from the incision sites
  • Persistent fever over 101F or chills
  • Persistent and/or productive cough
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Prolonged soreness or no relief from prescribed pain medication

Excerpt from St. Luke's Medical Center advertorial.