Colorectal Surgery

Laparoscopic or Robotic colorectal surgery is a technique which involves operations on the colon and rectum through 4 or 5 small incisions. A laparoscope (a narrow tube having a tiny camera) is inserted through the incision which gives the surgeon, an enlarged image of the internal organs on a television screen.

Colorectal conditions that can be treated using laparoscopy include:

  • Diverticular disease (diverticulitis)
  • Appendicitis
  • Colon cancer or polys that could not be removed with a colonoscope
  • Severe constipation
  • Rectal prolapse (relaxed/unsupported rectal tissue)
  • Colon volvulus (twisting or displacement of the intestines)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis)

Procedure

The surgical procedure is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. Several small incisions (3 to 5) which are less than 0.5-1 cm are made in the abdomen. Trocar (narrow tube-like instrument) is placed through these openings. A laparoscope is inserted through one of the trocars, which gives an enlarged view of the internal organs on the television screen. The surgery is performed through the others trocars by inserting special instruments or by enlarging one of the incisions to remove part of the colon.

Preparation for Surgery

Preparation for colorectal surgery involves cleansing the colon or “bowel preparation”. Golytely (often used in preparation for colonoscopy) or an enema may be prescribed in anticipation of surgery. You should not eat solid foods for 24 hours before surgery.. You will be advised to discontinue your regular medications such as blood thinners, warfarin/coumadin, aspirin or ibuprofen.

Post-operative Care

You can resume normal activities in one or two weeks following the surgery. You can usually start walking the day of your surgery. Loose stools are normal for the first two weeks after surgery. Seek medical help if you come across following conditions:

  • Watery stools for more than 3 days.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Worsening pain in your abdomen
  • Pus discharge or redness around your incision
  • Fever with chills (temperature of 100.5 or higher)
  • Bleeding from the rectum