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Colectomy is a surgical procedure carried out to remove part or all of the colon (also known as the large intestine – a long tube-like organ located at the end of the digestive tract). The procedure is necessary to treat or prevent diseases affecting your colon. There are four main types of colectomy: total colectomy (the entire colon is removed), partial colectomy (part of the colon is removed), hemicolectomy (the right or left portion of the colon is removed), and proctocolectomy (the colon and the rectum are removed).
Colectomy can be performed with two different methods: open colectomy and laparoscopic colectomy, both are carried out under general anesthetic. Open surgery involves creating a large incision in your abdomen to access the colon, then the colon is cut out or a part of it is removed using surgical tools. If you have a laparoscopic colectomy, your surgeon makes small incisions in your abdomen to insert a tiny camera through one incision and surgical instruments through the other incisions.
You are required to stay in the hospital until you regain bowel function, which usually takes two to seven days. after you’re discharged, plan to stay in Austria for 7 more days as your doctor will schedule follow-up checkups to monitor your condition and remove your stitches.
You may be able to resume most of your normal activities within 2 to 3 weeks if you underwent open surgery, the total recovery time can take up to 6 weeks. Laparoscopic colectomy has shorter recovery time and with less pain and you may be able to go back to work within a week, but you should avoid any vigorous exercises and heavy lifting until you get your surgeon’s go ahead.
You will need to eat a low-fiber diet for about a month and follow a balanced, healthy diet even after your recovery period. Your surgeon will show you how to care for your wound. You may want to schedule a follow-up appointment and you can do this with your local doctor.
The success rate for colectomy is high. However, there are some side effects and risks that the procedure carries, such as bleeding, blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) and in the legs (deep vein thrombosis), infection, injury to nearby organs (the bladder and small intestines), and tears in the sutures.
There is currently no alternative to colectomy. You may be able to take medications, but for a long-term solution, you will need to undergo a colectomy to treat your condition.
Before a colectomy, you may experience symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day activities. You may also have life-threatening conditions, such as colon cancer. After the surgery, any symptoms will be relieved and your condition may be cured.
Whilst the information presented here has been accurately sourced and verified by a medical professional for its accuracy, it is still advised to consult with your doctor before pursuing a medical treatment at one of the listed medical providers. This content was last updated on 28/02/2023.