Colectomy is used to treat and prevent diseases and conditions that affect the colon, such as:

  • Bleeding that can't be controlled. Severe bleeding from the colon may require surgery to remove the affected portion of the colon.
  • Bowel obstruction. A blocked colon is an emergency that may require total or partial colectomy, depending on the situation.
  • Colon cancer. Early-stage cancers may require only a small section of the colon to be removed during colectomy. Cancers at a later stage may require more of the colon to be removed.
  • Crohn's disease. If medications aren't helping you, removing the affected part of your colon may offer temporary relief from signs and symptoms. Colectomy may also be an option if precancerous changes are found during a test to examine the colon (colonoscopy).
  • Ulcerative colitis. Your doctor may recommend total colectomy if medications aren't helping to control your signs and symptoms. Colectomy may also be an option if precancerous changes are found during a colonoscopy.
  • Diverticulitis. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the affected portion of the colon if your diverticulitis recurs or if you experience complications of diverticulitis.
  • Preventive surgery. If you have a very high risk of colon cancer due to the formation of multiple precancerous colon polyps, you may choose to undergo total colectomy to prevent cancer in the future. Colectomy may be an option for people with inherited genetic conditions that increase colon cancer risk, such as familial adenomatous polyposis or Lynch syndrome.

Discuss your treatment options with your doctor. In some situations, you may have a choice between various types of colectomy operations. Your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks of each.

Nov. 13, 2012