Surgical removal of the colon is commonly performed through an “open” incision, although in some cases it can be performed laparoscopically. Colon surgery is considered a major operation and is sometimes required for benign disease as well as carcinoma (cancer) of the colon. Several inches of the colon, and sometimes the entire colon may need to be removed depending on the indication for the surgery.
A bowel prep is required one to two days prior to the surgical procedure. After the surgery a drainage catheter is usually inserted into the stomach through the nose called an NG tube. This is because the patient is not able to eat for approximately four to five days after the surgery to allow the bowel time to heal. A bladder catheter is also frequently needed to drain urine.
In most cases, the intestine is reconnected, but sometimes a colostomy may be required. The surgeon will discuss these expectations and other details of the surgery with the patient prior to the operation.
A hospital stay of five to six days is to be expected with this surgery as well as a several week recovery period.