What to Expect from Your Hemicolectomy

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You have recently been advised by your doctor to have an hemicolectomy and has planned the surgery date already. You may never have heard of a hemicolectomy before that very moment. While your doctor may explain what will happen during the surgery, you may still be having a hard time grasping what exactly will be happening. The following is what to expect from your hemicolectomy procedure.

What to Expect from Your Hemicolectomy

Your hemicolectomy is soon, and you are still wondering what to expect on your surgery day. You don’t have anything to fear; we have some things you can expect from your hemicolectomy. The hemicolectomy can be open or the keyhole procedure and your doctor will inform you which type of procedure he will be performing on the day of the surgery. There are things to expect with your upcoming hemicolectomy

What are they going to do?

As mentioned before, the hemicolectomy will be an open or keyhole procedure and they will remove half of your colon and attach the remaining half of the colon to your small intestine. The joining process made surgically between adjacent blood vessels, parts of the intestine, or other channels of the body is called the anastomosis. The estimated surgery time will be 2 hours, but surgery can vary with the situation. In order to join the colon and the small intestine, the doctor will use either special staples or sutures to join them.

Your hospital stay will depend on whether you had the keyhole procedure or the open procedure. It will be two to five days recovery in the hospital for the keyhole procedure and you will be recovering for five to seven days in the hospital if you have the open procedure.

What will happen after my hemicolectomy?

During your hospital stay and immediately after the hemicolectomy, you will be placed in an intravenous drip until your fluid intake returns to normal. You are able to eat and drink as normal once you feel ready to do so and there is not a restricted diet after your surgery. You should be able to eat and drink in the same day as the procedure. It will be recommended that you move around after your procedure

After you are discharged from the hospital, the following are restrictions for physical activities:

  • Avoid heavy lifting and intense physical activities for about 6 weeks after the surgery
  • You may resume driving about two weeks after the surgery but should wait longer if you had the open procedure
  • You should arrange to meet with your doctors after the first two weeks of the surgery

What are the risks for a hemicolectomy?

Before your procedure, the doctor will conduct a pre-assessment of your heart and lung conditions to ensure that you are able to handle a procedure like the hemicolectomy. The procedure does not involve a large amount of blood loss but blood will be made available if a transfusion is needed. During your hospital stay, you will receive regular injections to prevent thrombosis, which is blood clots.

With any surgery, wound infections may occur but can easily be treated with antibiotics. A risk that may also occur is the joining of the bowels could leak. The leak is called an anastomotic leak and has a low mortality rate. It is recommended to address the issue quickly as to resolve it before it becomes a bigger risk. It may take some time for your bowel to become regular, in which the doctor will look into what could be causing the blockage and may suggest bowel rest accompanied by continued intravenous fluids. The blockage could also dissolve on its own overtime.

Plan Your Hemicolectomy

If your doctor has recommended a hemicolectomy procedure, be sure to speak with the specialists at the Nevada Surgery and Cancer Center if you have any additional questions about the procedure.

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