A hemicolectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a diseased or damaged part of the large intestine and reattach the healthy parts together. It is performed in cases of damage to the intestine because of trauma and/or in colon cancers, intestinal infection, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and growth in the colon. Hemicolectomy can be performed in all age groups.
Right or left colectomy
Ascending or descending colon of the large intestine
Depending on which part of the intestine is affected, the surgeon will perform a right or a left colectomy accordingly. The ascending colon is removed in a right colectomy. In this, the transverse colon is attached to the small intestine. A left colectomy involves the removal of the descending colon and reattaching the transverse colon to the rectum.
There are two ways of approaching the intestine. One is through laparoscopic surgery, in which a small tube with a tiny camera attached is inserted through a hole to visualize the diseased part of the intestine, and the diseased part is removed by inserting instruments via the hole. Another approach is open surgery, where a large incision is made, and the intestine is removed.
Laparoscopic or open surgery
A regular follow-up is necessary after hemicolectomy surgery. Stitch removal is usually done two weeks post-surgery. A dressing is done more often to prevent infection. If indicated, one may need a rehabilitation session with a physiotherapist.
One needs to monitor for signs of infection such as swelling, pain, redness, tenderness, and foul-smelling discharge at the operated site. If any of the signs occur, inform the health professional immediately.
Care must be taken not to overexert oneself during daily activities. General precautions include avoiding lifting, pushing or pulling heavy objects, keeping yourself hydrated, and maintaining a physically-active lifestyle.
A hospital stay of 3-7 days is required to monitor the individual for any signs and symptoms of distress. A urine catheter is inserted to empty the bladder at regular intervals. One is encouraged to begin walking as soon as possible, which prevents blood clot formation. A dietician will provide you with a diet chart to be followed for 6-8 weeks. A bland diet with adequate fluids is recommended in the initial few days after surgery. Driving and lifting weights should be begun as per the advice of the surgeon.