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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Ileocolectomy and Right Colectomy (Removal of the Right Colon)

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What Is a Laparoscopic Ileocolectomy and Right Colectomy?

A laparoscopic ileocolectomy is an operation that removes a diseased section of the ileum (last segment of the small bowel) and ascending colon.

In a right colectomy, the surgeon removes the ascending colon, but leaves the ileum. Both surgeries are used to treat the following:

  • Cancer
  • Noncancerous growths
  • Areas of swelling (inflammation) caused by Crohn's disease

The term "laparoscopic" refers to a type of surgery called laparoscopy. Laparoscopy enables the surgeon to operate through very small "keyhole" incisions in the abdomen. A laparoscope, a small, telescope-like instrument, is placed through a small incision near the bellybutton.

What Happens During a Ileocolectomy and Colectomy?

There are four main steps to these surgeries.

Step 1: Positioning the Laparoscope

Once you are under anesthesia, the surgeon will make a small cut (about 1/2 inch) near the bellybutton. A laparoscope will be inserted into the abdomen through this incision. Images taken by the laparoscope will be projected onto video monitors placed near the operating table.

Once the laparoscope is in place, the surgeon will make five or six more small incisions in the abdomen. Surgical instruments will be placed through these incisions to complete the surgery.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Step 2: Freeing the Bowel

In the ileocolectomy, the diseased section of the ileum and ascending colon must be cut away from the healthy bowel. Before this section can be removed, it must be freed from its supporting structures. In the right colectomy, the ascending colon must be freed from its supporting structure.

The bowel is attached to the abdominal wall by a layer of tissue called the "mesentery." The mesentery also contains the main blood vessels (arteries) that supply blood to the ileum and ascending colon. These arteries will be carefully cut and closed. In an ileocolectomy, the surgeon will then free the ileum and ascending colon from the mesentery. In a right colectomy, only the ascending colon will be freed from the mesentery. After the bowel is free from the mesentery, the surgeon will cut away the diseased section of bowel.

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