The surgical procedure aimed at removing a section or all of your large intestine is known as a colectomy. This procedure may become crucial if you fail to control symptoms of some bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or colon cancer. Colon cancer is yet another condition necessitating a colectomy.
If you have colon cancer, you may be able to get rid of it by getting surgical removal combined with other cancer treatments. However, a colectomy doesn’t come without some risks. In this article, we will discuss some benefits and risks associated with colectomy.
A colectomy can help improve the quality of your life significantly by eliminating the root cause of problems in your bowel. In some cases, this surgical procedure can prove a life-saving treatment.
Symptoms of some bowel health conditions such as Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bleeding. These symptoms can get severe. At that time, conservative treatment methods may prove insufficient. A colectomy can treat those conditions by removing the infected portions altogether. That also eliminates the need for further treatment of those conditions. The case with colon or colorectal cancer is different, though. Even after the removal of cancer cells, chemotherapy and radiation are usually necessary to prevent cancer from coming back.
During colectomy surgery, you may also get a colostomy, which is an opening in the abdomen to evacuate feces. In case of a temporary colostomy, your colon gets some time to heal. The case with a permanent colostomy is different, however. Your surgeon will remove the diseased part of your colon permanently in such a scenario. As a result, you will have to adapt to an ostomy care regimen for the rest of your life.
While risks related to a colectomy are quite rare, they are hard to predict. Some people consider a colostomy a risk of colostomy. Even your surgeon may not know if the colostomy you have to get will be permanent or temporary. The best way is to be ready to face the risk of complications. For that purpose, be sure to discuss everything with your surgeon.
Here are the risks associated with a colectomy.
- Pain, bleeding
- Damage to organs near the intestinal tract
- Obstructions due to scar tissues
- Blood clots
- Perforations in the inactive part of the bowel
Life after a colectomy
You may think of having to manage your daily routine after a colectomy as a daunting aspect of your life. But the fact is it can help improve your lifestyle significantly. That is because any condition that necessitates a colectomy is pretty hard to live with due to its painful symptoms. A colectomy provides much-needed relief from those symptoms by eliminating their root cause. In some cases, a colectomy may even help save your life.
After surgery, you will have to be careful with your diet. Because your colon will be in a vulnerable position, you will not be able to eat solid foods. You will have to remain on a diet consisting of liquids and soft foods until your bowel recovers.
A colectomy usually gives a patient an ostomy, meaning that he will have to live with an ostomy bag for a few months, years, or the rest of his life. The best way is to discuss post-surgery care with a qualified healthcare provider.