I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to get access to our carefully selected top 3 researches click here.

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Understanding Resection Colon Cancer Surgery: Risks, Recovery, and Outcomes

Colon cancer, a formidable adversary in the realm of health, requires a battle strategy that is both effective and versatile. A key player in this strategic plan is surgery, more specifically, resection colon cancer surgery. This procedure, while intricate, plays an instrumental role in treating and managing colon cancer. But, what does it entail? What are the different types, and how do they work? What are the risks and potential complications, and how does recovery look like? Buckle up and journey with us as we delve into the fascinating world of resection colon cancer surgery!

Key Takeaways

  • Colon resection surgery is an effective treatment for colorectal cancer and other conditions.

  • Preparation, risks, recovery process and long-term outcomes are important considerations when undergoing colon resection surgery.

  • Alternative treatments such as chemotherapy may be available depending on the stage of cancer.

Colon Cancer Surgery: Types and Techniques

Illustration of colon cancer surgery

Surgery for colon cancer, acting as a potent frontline defense, is the primary treatment for early-stage colon cancers. The surgical field is vast and varied, providing several treatment options for patients, including those with stage iv colon cancer.

The two main types of colon cancer surgery are colectomy, a procedure aiming to remove part or all of the colon, and polypectomy or local excision, which focus on removing polyps and small tumors.


A colectomy, or colon resection surgery, is a major procedure that can be performed using two methods: open or laparoscopic surgery. The decision on the type of surgery, including a partial colectomy, depends on several factors such as the extent of the cancer, its location within the colon, and the objective of the surgical procedure.

During a laparoscopic colectomy, the surgeon’s small incisions lead to less pain, scarring, and expedite recovery. However, this minimally invasive surgery requires a skilled hand and can be technically demanding. Contraindications such as intra-abdominal adhesions or scar tissue can complicate the laparoscopic technique. Yet, it offers several advantages, including a shorter hospital stay and preservation of healthy tissue.

Polypectomy and Local Excision

While colectomy focuses on removing part or all of the colon, polypectomy and local excision present a less invasive alternative. These techniques are vital for the removal of early-stage tumors or polyps during a colonoscopy, aiming to achieve the complete removal of the tumor.

A polypectomy is conducted as part of a routine colonoscopy procedure and involves the extraction of polyps from the colon lining using specialized instruments. Local excision, on the other hand, utilizes a colonoscope to remove cancerous tissue from the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These procedures play a pivotal role in treating early-stage colon cancer.

Indications for Colon Resection Surgery

Illustration of indications for colon resection surgery

Colon resection surgery isn’t limited to the treatment of colon cancer alone. It’s a multi-purpose surgery employed for managing a spectrum of conditions. One of the primary indications for this surgery is colorectal cancer, where it proves to be an effective intervention.

In addition to colorectal cancer, colon resection surgery can be an effective treatment for slow-transit constipation, particularly a subtotal colectomy with an ileorectal anastomosis, subsequent to unsuccessful application of other medical interventions. Furthermore, bowel infarction, which is characterized by inadequate blood supply to the colon, can result in ischemic colitis and develop into a surgical emergency if not addressed by colon and rectal surgeons.

Hence, a comprehensive understanding of the indications for colon resection surgery could lead to successful treatment.

Preparing for Colon Resection Surgery

Photo of pre-surgery preparation

Undergoing any surgical procedure requires ample preparation, and colon resection surgery is no exception. Every step, from medication management to adherence to pre-surgery guidelines, plays a crucial role in ensuring successful surgery.

Moreover, bowel preparation is an essential part of the pre-surgery process. This process involves the ingestion of MiraLAX combined with a clear liquid, as well as the use of laxatives to mitigate the risk of infection and complications during surgery.

In addition, patients can utilize the MyMSK patient portal to communicate with their care team, access their test results, review their appointment schedule, and more.

Risks and Potential Complications

As with any major surgery, colon resection surgery carries potential risks and complications. A thorough understanding of these risks empowers patients and their families to make informed decisions regarding their treatment options.

One of the potential complications following colon surgery is an anastomotic leak. This occurs when there is inadequate healing or infection of the resection, resulting in colon leakage and potential occurrences of bleeding and severe infection.

Scar tissue formation in the abdomen, or adhesions, can also occur post-surgery, disrupting the normal movement of the intestines within the abdomen.

Another complication worth mentioning is ileus, a condition that can delay the return of normal bowel function after surgery. This common issue can hinder the recovery process, prolonging the patient’s hospital stay and overall recuperation.

Recovery Process

Illustration of recovery process after colon surgery

Post-surgery, the recovery process kicks into gear. This phase is twofold, encompassing both hospital and home recovery periods. Patients are closely monitored throughout these stages and given post-surgery care instructions to promote healing and deter complications.

Hospital Recovery

The first stage of recovery happens within the hospital walls. During this period, typically lasting 2 to 4 days, the patient’s condition undergoes close monitoring.

Post-surgery, patients go through the following steps:

  1. They are taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where a nurse monitors their temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.

  2. Once stable, patients are transferred to their hospital room for ongoing recovery.

  3. Nurses provide instruction to patients on self-care during the recovery process, encompassing methods for maintaining cleanliness of the incision and preventing infections.

Home Recovery

Once discharged from the hospital, the second stage of recovery begins at home. In this stage, patients are advised to:

  • Incorporate physical activities like walking and stair-climbing

  • Responsibly manage their pain

  • Strike a balance between active periods and rest to aid healing.

Dietary modifications are often recommended, including the avoidance of foods known to cause gas and adherence to a low-fiber diet for a month post-surgery. Furthermore, patients are advised on how to care for their incisions, including changing bandages daily, inspecting for signs of infection, and limiting unnecessary contact with the incisions.

Long-term Outcomes and Quality of Life

Post-recovery, many patients wonder about the long-term outcomes and quality of life after colon resection surgery. The news is quite positive on this front. Most patients do not experience long-term side effects related to bowel patterns and are able to resume their regular diet.

In some cases, however, patients might require a colostomy or ileostomy, procedures that create an opening in the abdomen for waste elimination. This can impact a patient’s lifestyle and require some adjustment. But it’s important to note that this doesn’t spell the end of normalcy. With guidance from ostomy nurses and support from ostomy groups, individuals can successfully navigate these changes and live fulfilling lives.

Alternative Treatment Options

While surgery is a primary colon cancer treatment option, it isn’t the sole choice available. Alternative treatment options for colon cancer patients include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and liquid biopsy, all of which are tailored based on the cancer stage and the individual circumstances of the patient.

Chemotherapy employs pharmaceuticals to either eliminate cancer cells or hinder their proliferation. It can be administered prior to surgery to diminish tumor size, following surgery to eliminate residual cancer cells, or as the primary cancer treatment for advanced stages of colon cancer.

Targeted therapy, on the other hand, uses drugs that exclusively target cancerous cells, sparing normal cells.

A liquid biopsy, a less invasive procedure designed to scrutinize circulating tumor DNA or other tumor markers in the bloodstream, is another alternative. This method offers crucial insights into the genetic mutations of the cancer and can be applied at different stages of the disease.

Support and Resources

Photo of support and resources for colon resection surgery patients

The significant event of undergoing colon resection surgery can trigger a spectrum of emotions and practical concerns. Hence, it’s important to highlight the support and resources available to patients. Emotional and psychological support services, including counseling provided by healthcare professionals or external organizations, can help patients navigate this challenging time.

In addition, nutrition services that provide tailored dietary advice are provided to patients to support their recovery. Financial aid programs and insurance options are also accessible to individuals undergoing colon resection surgery, making the process less burdensome.


In conclusion, understanding colon cancer surgery and the journey it entails is crucial for patients and their families. From understanding the types of surgeries and their implications to learning about recovery and long-term outcomes, each step on this journey matters. While it can be a challenging time, remember that you are not alone. With the right knowledge, support, and resources, you can navigate this process with strength and resilience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the success rate of colon resection?

Colon resection is a successful operation with relative survival rates up to 73% for Stage I cases and 61% for Stage II cases. However, those in more advanced stages have a lower chance of survival.

What is the recovery time for a colon resection?

It typically takes up to six weeks for a patient to fully recover from a colectomy at home.

Can you live a normal life after colon resection?

Yes, it is possible to live a normal life after a colon resection. Most patients who have the procedure go on to live full and comfortable lives, though they may need to continue treatment for any underlying diseases.

What happens when your colon cancer is removed?

Surgery to remove colon cancer is known as a total colectomy. The surgeon will join the ends of the bowel together, or create a stoma on your abdomen for healing purposes.

What are the different types of colon cancer surgery?

The two main types of colon cancer surgery are colectomy, which involves removing part or all of the colon, and polypectomy or local excision, which involves removing polyps and small tumors.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}