The term ‘colectomy’ refers to the surgical resection of the colon. This write-up provides information on the resection of the sigmoid colon.
The colon, also commonly referred to as the large intestine, consists of the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon, and rectum. While the right side comprises the ascending colon, the left side includes the descending colon, sigmoid colon, and the rectum. If any part of the colon gets adversely affected due to infections or diseases, then the waste products might get accumulated in the body. This can give rise to serious bowel problems. In severe cases, doctors might suggest the complete or partial removal of the colon as a treatment option. The surgical resection or the removal of the entire colon, or a part of it, is medically referred to as colectomy. This procedure is classified into various types, depending on part of the colon wherein the resection is performed.
Surgical Resection of the Sigmoid Colon
Colectomy is generally suggested when one is diagnosed with colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, diverticular disease of the colon, Crohn’s disease, or in the event of trauma to the colon. Sigmoid colectomy is mainly performed in case of those diagnosed with the cancer of the sigmoid colon or diverticular disease. It could be recommended in case of an injury to this section of the colon. If the patient has been experiencing pain in this part of the large intestine, certain tests will be performed to check the patient’s lungs, heart, and blood pressure, so as to ascertain if the patient is a suitable candidate for this surgery.
This surgery is performed after administering general anesthesia. An incision is made in the lower abdomen. Depending on the spread of the disease or the infection, the surgeon then removes the diseased part, or entire sigmoid colon. The two ends are then sewn together. Till the attached ends heal, the waste is diverted into a colostomy bag through an opening in the abdomen.
There are two ways in which the surgery can be performed. A large incision is made in the middle section of the lower abdomen and the diseased part is removed while performing an open surgery. In case of laparoscopic surgery, four to five small incisions are made and a laparoscope is inserted in order to view the colon on a monitor. The surgical tools are inserted through the incisions and the infected part is removed and the ends are attached together. Laparoscopic colon resection is a minimally invasive surgery, which is why, there are less chances of complications arising due to internal bleeding.
The recovery time will depend on the type of surgery performed, along with the extent of damage caused to the colon. It has been observed that one might take about three months to completely recover from this surgery. After the surgery, the patient will be asked to follow certain dietary guidelines. Whether a part of the sigmoid colon has been removed or it has been removed in its entirety, the body will take time to adjust. So, it is important that the patient follows a low-residue diet.
Post surgery, one must start with a liquid diet and then start taking semi-solid and solid food gradually. It is advisable to take smaller but frequent meals. One must refrain from consuming fatty foods or processed foods. Foods that cause gas, or the ones that are not easily digestible can cause problems and must not be consumed. The patient must give the digestive system time to restore its functions, and recover from the surgery.
If the stitches are disturbed, then there is a risk of internal bleeding and infection, therefore, one must refrain from strenuous activities post surgery. The patients should refrain from lifting heavy objects or performing any strenuous physical activity for about 6 weeks.
The patient can expect to stay at the hospital for 4-7 days. After being discharged from the hospital, the patient is likely to feel tired for some time. However, he/she would be able to resume normal activities, if aftercare measures are followed. If other complications, such as pain around the stitches, breathing problems, excessive bleeding, or problems in bowel movement are experienced, medical assistance must be sought immediately.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.