Colon Surgery / Colectomy Mobile, AL
The colon, also known as the large intestine, is the final part of the digestive system. There are four parts of the colon – the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon and sigmoid colon. Once nutrients of the food we consume are absorbed through the small intestinal walls, the waste product continues into the colon. The colon absorbs water and processes the waste as fecal matter, which is then expelled during a bowel movement.
Common Diseases of the Colon
Colon cancer is a prevalent but often preventable and a highly treatable condition if found in its early stages. Colon cancer occurs most likely after the age of 50. As a result, it is recommended that patients get prescribed regular screenings in the form of a colonoscopy starting at age 50. High risk individuals may be advised to start their screenings at an earlier age. Many times, those regular screenings will discover polyps in the colon that could eventually lead to cancer. Treating polyps is key to prevention. If cancer has already formed in the colon, it must be evaluated by a qualified oncologist and treated with some combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, a small appendage of the colon. When the appendix becomes infected, usually due to blockage, it can begin to inflame. If left untreated, it can rupture. Patients feel pain (usually severe) in the umbilical area that may travel to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. An infected appendix is most often treated with surgery before it ruptures in order to avoid peritonitis or the inflammation of the abdominal cavity, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. It can affect people of any ages, but it is more common in the very young or the very elderly.
Over time, commonly due to pressure in the colon possibly caused by a low fiber diet, small sacs can form in the colon. These sacs, known as diverticuli, are not usually considered problematic unless they cause pain and tenderness from infection. This infection can lead to bowel obstruction, which is an emergency situation that requires a colectomy, or removal of some or all of the large intestine.
Surgical Treatment / Colectomy
Surgery to remove some or all of the colon is typically performed in a minimally invasive manner. Once the diseased portion of the colon is removed, the surgeon can determine whether the healthy parts of the colon can be reattached. Risks and considerations of the procedure will be discussed during consultation and will vary based on the condition involved. In severe cases of uncontrolled infection or contamination, a temporary or permanent (rarely) colostomy may be necessary.