Using this guide What's covered
Here you’ll find the answers to many of your questions about colorectal surgery. Learn how it works, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.
To see how the surgery is done, view our procedure animation below. For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, surgery and recovery.
What's colorectal surgery?
Your colon, or large intestine, is the part of your gut that connects your small intestine with your rectum (the end of your large bowel) and anus (back passage). The term colorectal surgery, or ‘bowel surgery’, includes a number of operations in these areas.
If a section of your colon needs to be removed, the ends are usually sewn or stapled together. Sometimes your surgeon will bring the end of your colon to the surface of your abdomen creating a stoma (artificial opening) enabling faeces to be passed into a bag attached to your skin. This is called a colostomy. It may be a temporary measure (which your surgeon can reverse after your colon recovers), or could be permanent.
Why is it done?
Your surgeon may recommend colorectal surgery when there’s disease or damage to your colon. The damage may be caused by cancer or another disease including:
- inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- a benign tumour
- an injury or obstruction
- blockage in a vein or artery causing damage to your bowel (ischaemia)
There are different types of colorectal surgery:
- Partial colectomy – part of your colon is removed
- Hemi colectomy – approximately half your colon is removed (left or right)
- Subtotal colectomy – most of your colon is removed
- Total colectomy – all of your colon is removed, except for your rectum and anus
- Proctocolectomy – your colon and rectum are removed
- Abdomino-perineal resection – part of your left colon is removed, and your rectum and anus.
CONSIDERING THE PROCEDURE
Alternatives to colorectal surgery
There may be an alternative to colorectal surgery.
Results vs risks of the procedure
The benefits and potential complications of colorectal surgery.
Choosing a specialist
How to find a colorectal surgeon who specialises in your procedure.
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