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The colon, also known as the large intestine, is in the lower part of the digestive tract. The intestines consist of the small and large sections and rectum. It is the last part of the journey for digestion and where the major portion of nutrients are absorbed into the body. From there, waste moves into the rectum and is released through the rectum.
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At times, diseases and conditions can occur in this vital organ, including colon cancer and benign growths, infection or trauma, bowel obstruction, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some of these conditions can be treated with medications and dietary modifications, but in some cases, surgery to remove part of the colon is medically necessary.
In the past, surgeons have had to rely on traditional or open surgery to reach the colon and remove any damaged sections, but now, thanks to minimally invasive laparoscopy, they can perform these procedures without making large incisions.
In laparoscopic colon resections, the surgeon operates through four or five tiny openings that are no more than one quarter of an inch in size. One of the incision sites gives access to a camera that helps sergeons visualize the colon and surrounding region. The surgeon can see this magnified area on a monitor. The surgeon can carefully remove only the part of the diseased or damaged colon through the other incision sites.
After the diseased or damaged section is removed, the surgeon will then reconnect the digestive system. In some cases, the colon may be stitched together again and stool (waste) will continue to be expelled as before surgery. Some procedures may require that the colon is connected to an opening in the abdomen where waste leaves the body through an opening called a stoma. At the site, a bag is attached that can be cleaned as needed. An ostomy bag may be temporary or permanent based on the type of condition. If part of the colon and rectum are both removed, then the surgeon will use a portion of the small intestine to connect to the anus, so that waste is removed normally.
If you have an ostomy bag, you will meet with a member of WakeMed’s nursing team to teach you have to care for the stoma and how to change the bag.
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WakeMed has board-certified general surgeons on staff who perform minimally invasive, corrective procedures. Find the WakeMed general surgeon by searching or calling WakeMed Doctor Choice at 919-350-8900.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610