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What does colon surgery generally entail?

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Quick Answer

Colon surgery generally entails the removal of all or part of the colon, according to the University of Chicago Medicine. Such surgery is either a total or partial colectomy.

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One type of colon surgery is called hemicolectomy, where the right or left part of the large intestine is removed, according to Mayo Clinic. Another is proctocolectomy, which removes the colon and rectum.

Colectomies are either performed as open surgeries or laparoscopic surgeries, claims the University of Chicago Medicine. During an open colectomy, the surgeon makes an incision down the center of the patient's abdomen before he begins to operate. With laparoscopic colectomy, small incisions are made in the abdomen, and the surgeon uses special surgical tools to operate. A small camera is also inserted into the abdomen so that the surgeon can see what he is doing on a monitor.

The surgeon then frees the targeted part of the colon from the tissues that hold it in place and operates on it outside of the patient's body, explains Mayo Clinic. After the operation, the colon is replaced.

Patients who opt for laparoscopic colectomies have shorter and less painful recovery times, according to the University of Chicago Medicine. Some patients do not even require post-operative narcotics. The scars from this surgery are smaller as well.

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