The surgeon will make a single, long incision in the abdomen. She will remove the section of colon through the incision. When possible, the colon on either side of the removed section will be sewn together.
In a total colectomy, a colostomy or ileostomy will need to be formed. This will create a path for waste to leave your body. Your doctor will make a small opening, called a stoma, in the front of your abdominal wall. The open end of your intestine will be attached at the stoma. The stoma may be either temporary or permanent. This part of the procedure may also be done if your intestine needs time to heal and rest.
The surgeon will close the muscles and skin of the abdomen with stitches or staples. A sterile dressing will be placed over the incision areas.
Immediately After Procedure
The removed tissue will be sent to a lab for examination. You will be taken to the recovery room and monitored.
How Long Will It Take
About 1- 4 hours or more
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia is given to prevent pain during the surgery. Pain is common during recovery. You will receive medicine to help manage pain.
Average Hospital Stay
This procedure is done in a hospital setting. The usual length of stay is 5-6 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer, however, if complications arise.
At the Hospital
If you had a colostomy or ileostomy, a pouch will be attached on the outside of your body. Waste material will be collected in it.
You will receive instructions about diet and activity. During the first few days after surgery, you may be restricted from eating.
You will wear boots or special socks to help prevent blood clots.
You will be encouraged to practice deep breathing to help open your lungs.
After your procedure, be sure to follow your doctor's
If you have a colostomy:
You will need to take it easy for 1-2 months.
A specialized nurse will teach you how to care for the stoma site and change the
You will progress from a clear liquid, to a bland, low-fiber diet, to your regular diet after about 6-8 weeks.
Alert your physicians and pharmacist that you cannot take medicines that are considered time-released or time-sustained.
Do not use laxatives, because postcolostomy stools are usually quite liquid.
Drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of liquid daily as extra fluids will be lost in your stool.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
Alves A, Panis Y, Mathieu P, et al. Postoperative mortality and morbidity in French patients undergoing colorectal surgery: results of a prospective multicenter study.
Archives of Surgery. 2005;140:278-283.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a