If the cancer is larger, the doctor will perform a partial colectomy (removing the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue around it). The doctor may then perform an anastomosis (sewing the healthy parts of the colon together). The doctor will also usually remove lymph nodes near the colon and examine them under a microscope to see whether they contain cancer.
Resection and colostomy: If the doctor is not able to sew the 2 ends of the colon back together, a stoma (an opening) is made on the outside of the body for waste to pass through. This procedure is called a colostomy. A bag is placed around the stoma to collect the waste. Sometimes the colostomy is needed only until the lower colon has healed, and then it can be reversed. If the doctor needs to remove the entire lower colon, however, the colostomy may be permanent.
In general the hospital stay is usually a 2 to 3 day stay compared to a 5 to 7 day stay for an open procedure. The patient’s are able to take liquids on the same day that their surgery is completed and they are usually discharged home 2 to 3 days following the procedure. After the operation, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions. Although many people feel better in just a few days, remember that your body needs time to heal.
Results may vary depending upon the type of procedure and patient’s overall condition. Common advantages are:
- Less postoperative pain
- May shorten hospital stay usually a 2 to 3 day stay compared to a 5 to 7 day stay
- May result in a faster return to solid-food diet
- May result in a quicker return of bowel function
- Quicker return to normal activity
- Better cosmetic results
- Cancer treatment can be initiated sooner, i.e. 2 to 3 weeks following the surgery as opposed to 2 to 3 months following open procedure.