Colon removal, or “colectomy” can surgically resection varying amounts of the colon.
What are the most common reasons for colon removal?
- Cancer of the colon
- Diverticular disease or diverticulitis of the large intestine
- IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome), Chron’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis
- Physical trauma
Colon removal is typically performed through an incision in the abdomen; however, laparscopy, which can be minimally invasive, is growing in both popularity and states of the colon conditions which indicate it as a sensible method.
Following a colon removal, the patient and the surgeon are faced with two choices:
1. Creating a colostomy (which involves drawing the end of the large intestine through an incision in the patient’s abdominal wall and connecting to it a special medical device – a bag of sorts – into which the feces can pass), or -
2. Stapling or stitching the cut ends of the colon back together (known as “primary anastomosis”)
Out of these two options, a colostomy is evidenced to be safer; however, it can place physical, psychological and social burdens upon the patient. Anastomosis lacks the aforementioned patient burdens, however, it carries the risk of a breakdown of the stitches, which can result in the peritoneal cavity becoming contaminated, leading to peritonitis, sepsis and potentially, death. Deciding between these two choices is controversial; all over the world, it is debated amongst surgeons.
If a colostomy is opted for, the patient may have to modify their lifestyle (for example, avoid activities which tax the immune system, changing their exercise routine, changing their diet to one of quality and quantity which results in less waste). Both options must be carefully weighed following a colon removal.