Bowel resection is a surgical method that is used to remove the diseased part of the intestine, bowel, or rectum. Doctors can remove all or a part of the colon, as per the requirement of the individual's case, with the help of this procedure. This operation is performed to treat many conditions such as colon cancer, intestinal obstruction, traumatic injuries to the colon, Hirschsprung's disease, and other bowel problems. Furthermore, it is also performed in case of ulcerative colitis, precancerous polyps, and familial polyposis, etc.
There are two ways to perform this surgery. Doctors may go for the open surgical approach or laparoscopy. In laparoscopic operation, known as colectomy, the surgeon makes a small incision. He/she then enters the camera and a small tool inside the belly. The belly would then be filled with gas, usually carbon dioxide. This enlarges the belly and thus, it becomes easier for the doctor to observe the inside carefully.
Once he/she observes the damaged part, it is removed with the surgical tool. Then the doctor would sew the healthy ends of the bowel and intestine. Once the surgery is over, the incisions would be closed with the stitches again. During this operation sometimes, the doctors cannot reattach the two parts of colons or rectum.
In such a case, the temporary opening called stoma is created outside the body through which stools and feces are thrown out of the body. This procedure is known as colostomy and is generally temporary, unless the lower part of the rectum is removed.
The following risks are associated with the surgery:
- Excessive bleeding
- Scar tissue formation
- Side effects of anesthetic medicines
- Incisional hernia
- Breathing problems
- Narrowing of the stoma
- Blood clot or air bubble in the lung air supplying veins
- Infection to internal organs
- Blood clots and inflammation in legs
- Wound infection
- Internal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Scar tissue obstruction in the intestine
These are some of the complications that may occur during the surgery. So it is advisable to discuss one's overall health with the doctor. One should give their complete information, that is, their entire medical history to the doctor and also show all the drugs that one is consuming if any. Almost 80% people achieve good results after the surgery and recover completely.
The recovery time depends on the overall health of the affected person and the length of the bowel that is removed. One may have to be in the hospital for 8 to 10 days and may have to stay longer if a larger amount of colon is removed or in case of emergency colectomy. Moreover, it is better to stay in the hospital as the doctors can come immediately if any complications occur.
One would have to follow a specific diet before and after the surgery. The doctors advise to follow a high-fiber diet for two weeks before the surgery. Further, it is also advised to increase the water intake. On the previous day of the surgery, one would be asked to eat light breakfast and lunch.
Furthermore, one may also be advised to consume only liquid diet, such as, fruit juices and clear soup, etc. The night before the operation, one is not supposed to consume anything and not even water. Sometimes, the doctors also advise to take enema or laxatives so that the intestine is clear and clean.
After the operation, one would have to follow a diet that is light and smooth and does not strain the digestive system. So foods that are easy to digest should be included in one's diet after the surgery till the wound and organs are healed completely. Food should include banana, rice, apple sauce, breads, cereals, pasta, egg, yogurt, baked chicken, fruit juice, and clear soups, etc.
Also, one should try to consume less spicy foods that are low on fibers. Avoid eating whole grains, red meat, vegetables, and fruits such as orange and melons, and various nuts and seeds as some of them are difficult to digest and some are high on fibers. Gradually, one can start consuming normal food as per the directions given by the doctor.
The doctors generally try to treat the colon, rectum, or intestinal diseases with drugs and diet. However, when it cannot be cured with drugs then only a bowel resection is suggested. In case of severe and serious conditions such as colon cancer, the disease is cured with operation as well drugs.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.