When Is a Colectomy Advised?

ColectomyPatients dealing with chronic colon conditions may benefit from colectomy. Depending upon the type of disease, all or part of the colon may require removal. The doctors at Piedmont Colorectal explain the details regarding colectomy.


With a complete colectomy, the entire colon is removed. A partial colectomy, also known as subtotal colectomy, involves removing some portion of the colon. Another procedure, hemicolectomy, involves the removal of either the right or left side of the colon. Patients who must have their rectum removed as well as their colon undergo proctocolectomy.

The surgeon also performs procedures allowing feces to leave the body. Some patients will eventually expel bowel movements naturally, while others will have to rely on a stoma, an opening in the abdomen with a waste bag to collect stool.

When a Colectomy is Necessary

Patients dealing with chronic colon issues that do not respond to medication or other treatment may find a colectomy their best option. Common diseases or colon-related problems for which colectomy is recommended include:
• Colon cancer
• Crohn’s disease
• Diverticulitis
• Obstructed bowel
• Ulcerative colitis
• Uncontrolled bleeding

Those facing an especially high colon cancer risk may undergo preventive colectomy. Such individuals usually have a significant history of colon cancer in their families, and genetic conditions indicate a prophylactic colectomy is wise.

Colectomy Procedure

Two methods are used to perform a colectomy. The first is the open colectomy, in which the surgeon accesses the colon via a significant abdominal incision. All or part of the colon is then removed.

The second method is less invasive, but not all patients are candidates. In a laparoscopic colectomy, small incisions are made in the abdomen, and the surgeon inserts a tiny video camera into one of them. While watching the colon on a screen, the surgeon can then use minute tools to remove the necessary length of colon through another incision, or perform any needed repairs. For the latter, the colon is then put back inside the body.

Keep in mind that while performing a laparoscopic colectomy the surgeon may discover that it is necessary to use the open surgical method.

Colectomy Recovery

Expect to spend some time in the hospital recuperating after the operation. If applicable, the patient must wait until bowel function returns before going home. It may take a few weeks to recover from a colectomy. The patient must consume a liquid diet initially and gradually add solid foods.

For More Information, Arrange a Consultation

If you suffer from chronic, serious colon issues and a colectomy is advised, schedule a personal consultation with the team at Piedmont Colorectal. Contact our Atlanta practice to make an appointment and have your questions and concerns addressed.