Colon cancer is, perhaps, a well-known reason for having colon surgery, especially when cancer has progressed to a more serious stage. But colon cancer isn’t the only reason why colon surgery is performed.
At Desert West Surgery, our team is experienced in state-of-the-art surgical treatments for an array of serious bowel issues, helping patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, stay healthy. Here are three reasons why our team may recommend colon surgery for optimal outcomes.
Normally, the lining of your colon is smooth, allowing waste to pass through without any problem. But sometimes, tiny pouches called diverticula form in the colon wall. This is a condition called diverticulosis.
Diverticulosis typically causes no symptoms unless it moves into an inflammatory stage called diverticulitis. In diverticulitis, the tiny pouches capture waste as it moves along the colon, resulting in painful infections and, sometimes, bleeding. Sometimes, one or more pouches become perforated; a serious condition called acute diverticulitis.
For most people, initial treatment for diverticulitis is typically conservative, focusing on antibiotics and other medications to prevent infection and inflammation, along with dietary changes to improve bowel health and reduce flare-ups in the future. However, if symptoms recur or if they can’t be managed conservatively, then surgery to remove the affected part of the colon is typically recommended.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Also called IBD, inflammatory bowel disease includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Like diverticulitis, IBD usually is managed conservatively first, with medications and dietary and lifestyle changes. When these options don’t work, surgery is the next step.
IBD causes permanent damage to the digestive tract. In ulcerative colitis, this damage happens in the colon and rectum. In Crohn’s disease, damage can happen anywhere along the digestive tract.
Abscesses, perforations, and bowel obstruction are all potential complications of IBD, along with dangerous blood loss and life-threatening infections. Colon surgery is used to treat serious complications occurring in the large intestine and rectum.
Rectal prolapse is a condition where the last portion of the colon (the rectum) disengages from the tissues that support it and protrudes through the anal sphincter. Not surprisingly, rectal prolapse can cause significant discomfort. It’s also associated with stool leakage, fecal incontinence, and stool obstruction.
Surgery for rectal prolapse focuses on restoring the rectum and lower colon to their normal positions. Several approaches can be used to treat rectal prolapse, including minimally invasive surgeries that use tiny incisions.
Some rectal prolapse surgeries reposition the rectum and lower colon, anchoring them with sutures or a mesh sling. In other cases, the surgeon may remove part of the rectum and colon and reattach the remaining rectum to the lower intestine.
After colon surgery
Following surgery, you’ll need to follow a liquid diet initially. In some cases, you may have a period where food is completely restricted, giving your colon a chance to begin healing. Semi-liquid, soft, and finally, solid foods will be reintroduced over time.
Depending on the reason for your surgery and the type of surgical technique that’s used, your surgeon might recommend stool softeners to make bowel function easier and more comfortable during the days and weeks after your surgery. Most patients benefit from adding more fiber to their diets, although again dietary recommendations will also depend on your specific surgery and other factors.
Recovery typically takes several weeks. While healing, you’ll most likely be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection. It’s important to take all medications as prescribed and for the full duration of the prescription.
Learn more about colon surgery
Our team specializes in advanced colon surgery to promote optimal health while speeding recovery. To learn more about the surgical options we offer, book an appointment online or over the phone at Desert West Surgery today.