What to Expect from Partial Colectomy

Prior to Surgery

  • Talk to your doctor about any medications/vitamins/herbs you are taking as you may need to stop certain ones before surgery.
  • Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners one week prior to surgery.
  • Discontinue any diet medications or St. John's Wort two weeks before surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have
  • Patients complete a through a colon cleansing prior to surgery by drinking a solution that will remove all waste from the region.
  • Based on physician recommendations, patients may also need to go on a clear liquids diet and take laxatives and self-administer enemas prior to surgery.
  • It's critical that the colon and rectum be completely empty prior to surgery.
  • Most surgeons will prescribe oral antibiotics to be completed in advance of surgery.
  • The day before surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • Laparoscopic colon resections require a few days to up to a week in the hospital. Patients have to remain hospitalized until they regain bowel function.
  • Expect some soreness in the lower abdomen around the surgical site during the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery.
  • Walking is encouraged, based on your energy level.
  • Patients are first given a modified liquid diet after surgery and will graduate to solid foods as the intestines recover.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

Most patients will be fully recovered in two weeks and can resume some normal activities, such as driving, walking and some duties at work. Since this surgery requires internal stitches, patients should refrain from any heavy lifting pushing or pulling until it is approved by the surgeon.

Alternative Names

Colectomy, laparoscopic colon surgery; laparoscopic colon resection.
Other terms: ostomy, stoma, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis


Partial Colectomy Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

The surgeons makes four ¼ inch incisions in the region of the damaged colon and will insert a tiny camera to the surgical site. This gives clear visualization of the surgical field and allows him to go in through the other ports to remove the section of the diseased or damaged colon. Once the damaged section is removed, the colon will be reattached to the rest of the digestive system. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia (completely asleep.)

How many incisions are made?

Four tiny incisions are made in the lower abdomen around the site of the damaged colon. Patients will stay a few days up to a week and will not be discharged until their bowels are functional.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients are fully recovered within a few weeks.

What reasons would the surgeon have to perform an open surgery instead of a minimally invasive procedure?

The surgeon may recommend an open procedure due to a patient’s weight or history of prior surgery that has left scar tissue, making visualization of organs with the camera more difficult. If a tumor is too large to remove using minimally invasive techniques, then the surgeon will recommend an open procedure.

WakeMed has many board-certified general surgeons who perform laparoscopic colectomies. Find a WakeMed surgeon by calling WakeMed Doctor Choice at 919-350-8900.