Colorectal resection (colectomy)


A colectomy is a major surgery that involves the removal of all or part of the colon/rectum to treat colorectal diseases. Depending on the type of colectomy received, the transected ends of the colon may be attached together or a new opening from the body (stoma) may be created, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the disease being treated and the health of the patient.

The two approaches for colorectal resection, performed under general anaesthesia, include:

  • Open colectomy – where a long incision is made through the skin and abdominal wall to remove the colon/rectum. This is generally undertaken if the patient has a bowel obstruction with a distended bowel, has had multiple previous abdominal surgeries which have led to intra-abdominal adhesions, or has poor heart and lung function which don’t allow for the abdominal cavity to be inflated with carbon dioxide gas.
  • Laparoscopic colectomy – a minimally invasive procedure that uses three small incisions to access the colon. Laparoscopic procedures result in less postoperative pain and complications, an earlier return of bowel function, shorter hospital stay and faster recovery compared to open colorectal resection.

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