Possible complications after a bowel resection include bleeding, infection and scar tissue formation, known as adhesions, according to WebMD. Bowel resection is the most successful treatment for colorectal cancer, and the operation is considered low risk, even for the elderly.
Bowel resection, or partial colectomy, is used to remove the part of the colon or rectum where cancer is found, explains WebMD. Lymph nodes in the area are also removed and tested for cancer. Healthy parts of the colon or rectum are then sewn back together. Open bowel resection is performed by opening the abdomen. Some cases can be treated with a laparoscopy performed through a small incision in the abdomen.
Bowel resection requires general anesthesia and a post-surgical hospital stay that lasts from four to seven days to up to two weeks, notes WebMD. If the two parts of the rectum or colon cannot be reattached, a colostomy is performed. A stoma, or opening, on the outside of the body is created so feces can pass through into a colostomy bag. The colostomy is usually temporary and used while the color or rectum heals. A colostomy is permanent if the lower part of the rectum is removed. Most colon cancer patients do not require a colostomy.