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What to Expect During Colorectal Cancer Surgery

The Day of Colorectal Cancer Surgery continued...

Next, a small incision will be made near your bellybutton. The laparoscope is placed through this incision and is connected to a video camera. The image your surgeon sees in the laparoscope is projected onto video monitors placed near the operating table.

Before starting the surgery, your surgeon will take a thorough look at your abdominal cavity to make sure that laparoscopy will be safe for you. Some reasons why laparoscopy may not be done include multiple adhesions (scars that causes organs to stick together), infection, or any spread of abdominal disease.

If your surgeon decides that laparoscopic surgery can be safely performed, additional small puncture incisions will be made for the other instruments needed to do the operation. If needed, one of these small incisions may be enlarged to enable your surgeon to remove the diseased section of intestine, or to create a connection between two ends of your intestine.

Your surgeon will begin the main intestinal surgery by closing the larger blood vessels serving the diseased section of the small or large intestine. Next, he or she will separate the fatty tissue that holds the intestine in place. Once the diseased section of intestine is freed from its supporting structures, it can be removed.

The procedure occasionally requires the creation of a temporary or permanent stoma (an opening of part of the intestine to the outside surface of the abdomen). The stoma acts as an artificial passageway through which stool can pass from the intestine to outside the body where it collects in an external pouch, which is attached to the stoma and must be worn at all times.

Most of the time, the surgeon will reconnect the two ends of intestines. The intestine can be rejoined in a number of ways. One method uses a stapling device that places stainless steel or titanium staples to join the ends of the intestine. The surgeon may pull the intestinal ends up through one of the small incisions and stitch the ends together. Your surgeon will choose the best method at the time of your surgery.

Finally, your surgeon will check that there are no areas of bleeding, rinse out the abdominal cavity, release the gas from the abdomen and close the small incisions.

Recovery From Colorectal Cancer Surgery

When you wake up from colorectal cancer surgery, you will be in a recovery room. You will have an oxygen mask covering your nose and mouth. This mask delivers a cool mist of oxygen that helps eliminate the remaining anesthesia from your system and soothes your throat. Your throat may be sore from the breathing tube that was present during your surgery, but this soreness usually subsides after a day or two.

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