What is the colon?
The colon is part of the digestive system. It is also called the large intestine or large bowel. The colon is situated inside the abdominal cavity and travels down the left side of the abdomen and ends at the anus.
One of the main functions of the colon is to regulate water levels in the body. The colon absorbs water from food. It also absorbs some vitamins and processes waste for expulsion from the body.
The colon consists of four parts that include
- descending colon,
- ascending colon,
- transverse colon, and
- sigmoid colon.
What are the reasons for laparoscopic colectomy?
Laparoscopic colectomy is used to treat and prevent diseases and conditions that affect the colon, such as:
- Bleeding that can’t be controlled. Severe bleeding from the colon may require surgery to remove the affected portion of the colon.
- Bowel obstruction: A blocked colon is an emergency that may require total or partial colectomy, depending on the situation.
- Colon cancer: Early-stage cancers may require only a small section of the colon to be removed during colectomy. Cancers at a later stage may require more extensive removal of the colon.
- Inflammatory intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Preventive surgery: If a patient has a very high risk of colon cancer due to the formation of multiple precancerous colon polyps, the patient may choose to undergo total colectomy to prevent cancer in the future. Colectomy may be an option for people with inherited genetic conditions that increase their colon cancer risk.
What is laparoscopic left colectomy?
A colectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing a segment of the colon. During a colectomy, a surgeon removes a damaged section of the intestine and reattaches the healthy parts of the colon. Removal of a section of the colon will not affect a person’s ability to digest food.
Left colectomy is performed under general anesthesia.
- In this procedure, a surgeon usually removes the descending colon before reattaching the transverse colon.
- The surgeon makes small incisions in the abdominal wall and inserts a thin scope. The scope has a lens and light for viewing purposes.
- The surgeon then inserts surgical instruments through the small cuts in the abdomen and removes the diseased part of the colon and reattaches the healthy colon.
- The instruments are removed and incisions are stitched with absorbable stitches. This type of procedure is also known as keyhole surgery.
- Left colectomy usually lasts less than three hours.
What are risk factors of laparoscopic colectomy?
Risk of complications is based on the general health of the patient. Typical complications of laparoscopic colectomy include:
- Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Injury to organs near the colon, such as the bladder and small intestines
- Tears in the sutures that reconnect the remaining parts of the digestive system
What type of diet is necessary after laparoscopic colectomy?
Individuals may notice very little change in their digestion after the removal of colon tissue. However, some people experience cramps or diarrhea. A doctor might recommend drinking more water and following a bland diet to help control bowel movements.
A bland diet consist of foods that reduce the risk of inflammation such as the following:
- Lean meat, poultry, and fish
- Nuts and nut butter
- Any fruits except for citrus
- Any vegetables
- Low fat or nonfat milk and dairy
It is important to avoid added fats, caffeine and alcohol, as well as condiments and foods with intense or spicy flavors. People should also avoid doughnuts, rich desserts, and chocolate.
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