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Colorectal Surgery: Meaning, Scope and Other Details

Team AckoSept 12, 2023

Colon-related diseases, such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and diverticulitis, are frequent in India. Because of changing lifestyles, food habits, and ageing populations, the prevalence of these illnesses has increased dramatically over the years. Colorectal Surgery is a subspecialty of surgery regarding ailments affecting the colon, rectum, and anus. It refers to a wide range of surgical treatments used to treat conditions such as colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, and rectal prolapse. In this article, we will learn about Colorectal Surgery and how to prepare yourself for one.




What is Colorectal Surgery?

Colorectal Surgery is a procedure that treats illnesses and ailments of the colon, rectum, and anus. The operation itself may entail the removal of a section of your colon or rectum, the repair or reconstruction of the anus or rectum, or the treatment of problems such as blockages or infections. The surgeon may execute the procedure with specialised devices and techniques to minimise discomfort and recovery time.

Common health conditions that warrant a Colorectal Surgery

Before proposing surgery as a therapeutic option, surgeons will take into account the intensity of your symptoms, the severity of the condition, and your general health. Here are some common health issues that can need Colorectal Surgery.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis can inflame and harm the digestive system. Surgery may be required to remove the damaged area of the intestine or to construct an alternate channel for waste removal if drugs and other therapies are unable to manage symptoms.

  • Diverticulitis: In the colon, there may develop tiny pouches called diverticula. Diverticulitis is a disorder that develops when these pouches become infected or inflamed. Surgery may be necessary to remove the tumour in severe or recurring occurrences.

  • Anal fistulas and haemorrhoids; These are very painful and can cause chronic bleeding. Left untreated, they can take the form of non-healing ulcers.

  • Colorectal cancer: Surgery may be used to remove the tumour and any nearby damaged tissues when malignant growths appear in the colon or rectum. It seeks to get rid of the cancer and stop it from spreading to other bodily areas.

Common colorectal surgeries and techniques

Now, let's take a look at the common Colorectal Surgeries.

  1. Hemorrhoidectomy: This procedure is used to remove large or painful haemorrhoids that have not responded to non-surgical therapy. Its goal is to alleviate the pain, itching, and bleeding caused by haemorrhoids.

  2. Colectomy: A section or the entire colon (large intestine) is removed to treat illnesses such as colon cancer, diverticulitis, or inflammatory bowel disease. Its goal is to relieve symptoms, restore normal bowel function, and prevent cancer from spreading.

  3. Rectal Resection: A part of the rectum is excised in this treatment to treat diseases such as rectal cancer or rectal prolapse. If required, a colostomy or ileostomy may be created to divert the faeces.

  4. Anal Fistulotomy: This is a surgical treatment used to repair anal fistulas, which are irregular connections between the anal canal and surrounding tissues. 

  5. Polypectomy: Polyps, which are abnormal growths in the colon or rectum, are removed in this treatment to avoid the development of colorectal cancer. It is frequently performed during a colonoscopy.

  6. Bowel resection: This is a surgical technique that includes removing a diseased or damaged piece of the small or large intestine. It may be required in the case of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or intestinal blockage.

Depending on the particulars of each patient, several procedures are used in Colorectal Surgery. While laparoscopic and robotic operations employ tiny incisions and specialised devices, open surgery requires a bigger incision. Rectal access is possible by transanal methods via the anus. Depending on the patient's health and the surgeon's experience, a technique is chosen to minimise invasiveness, encourage rapid recovery, and enhance patient outcomes.

How to prepare for Colorectal Surgery?  

Here’s how to prepare for a Colorectal Surgery. 

  1. Plan a consultation with your surgeon to go through the specifics of the procedure. Make sure you understand the procedure's expectations before, during, and after by asking any questions you may have.

  2. Before the procedure, your surgeon may request that you have blood tests or imaging scans performed. These tests assist in assessing your general health and ensuring that everything is in working order.

  3. Inform your surgeon of any prescription drugs or dietary supplements you are using. They'll let you know if you need to stop or modify them before the procedure.

  4. Alcohol intake and smoking need to be stopped before surgery. It's advised to give up smoking before surgery since it can interfere with recovery. Also, try to limit your alcohol consumption in the days before the OT.

  5. Your surgeon could instruct you to perform a "cleanse" to clear your intestines, depending on the procedure. You'll receive advice on how to use laxatives or adhere to particular diets. Just be careful to do them correctly.

  6. Pay close attention to your surgeon's instructions about what to do in advance of the procedure. You'll be instructed on how much to eat, which drugs to take, and when to visit the hospital. Just follow their instructions to be ready.

  7. Discuss any concerns or apprehensions you may have with your healthcare staff. Likewise, try to unwind and maintain mental comfort.

Risks and complications of Colorectal Surgery

While Colorectal Surgery might have sudden complications, it's crucial to realise that the majority of individuals get through the process without any serious problems. The surgical team takes several measures to reduce the chances of infection and bleeding, and patients are constantly monitored during the procedure. Furthermore, preventive measures are put in place to limit the probability of blood clots. Any possible issues can be discovered and handled early on by following the post-operative instructions and remaining in touch with your healthcare team.

Recovery from Colorectal Surgery

Recovering from Colorectal Surgery involves a few important things. Here’s a list. 

  • You'll stay in the hospital for a few days, and the doctors will give you medicine to manage any pain or discomfort. 

  • They'll also tell you how to take care of the wounds and keep them clean. 

  • It's good to start moving around gradually to help your body heal, but don't overdo it. 

  • Your diet might be limited at first, but you'll slowly get back to your regular eating habits. 

  • You'll have follow-up appointments to check on your progress, so make sure to go to those. 

  • If anything feels off or you have any problems, don't hesitate to reach out to your doctors. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a list of FAQs related to Colorectal Surgery.


What is Colorectal Surgery?

Colorectal Surgery refers to operations on the colon, rectum, and anus to treat illnesses such as colorectal cancer, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and haemorrhoids. It may entail removing a section of the colon or rectum, correcting damage, or creating a stoma.

What conditions can necessitate Colorectal Surgery?

Colorectal Surgery may be required if you have colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, rectal prolapse, anal fissures, haemorrhoids, polyps, or diverticulitis. The surgical method used is determined by the diagnosis and severity of the illness.

What is the procedure for Colorectal Surgery?

Depending on the situation, Colorectal Surgery can be performed utilising a variety of procedures. It may entail open surgery, which requires a big incision, or less invasive techniques such as laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgery. A temporary or permanent stoma (a hole in the abdomen) may be established in several conditions.

How long does it take to recuperate after Colorectal Surgery?

Colorectal Surgery recovery differs based on the complexity of the procedure and individual characteristics. Patients can anticipate being hospitalised for a few days to a week, followed by a period of limited activity and dietary adjustments. The rehabilitation procedure generally includes pain medication, wound care, and follow-up sessions.

What are the risks and problems associated with Colorectal Surgery?

Colorectal Surgery, like any other operation, has hazards. Infection, bleeding, blood clots, injury to surrounding organs or structures, leaking at the surgical site, intestinal blockage, or anastomotic leaks are all possible consequences. The hazards vary based on the surgery and the particular patient characteristics.

Is there an alternative to surgery for colorectal diseases?

Non-surgical techniques may be tried before surgery in some circumstances. Lifestyle adjustments, medicines, dietary changes, physical therapy, and other conservative therapies are examples. The need for surgery, on the other hand, is decided by the exact problem and its severity, which is best established by consultation with a colorectal specialist.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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