Skip to Content



What do I need to know about a colectomy?

A colectomy is surgery to remove part or all of your colon. The colon, or large intestine, is the long tube that connects your intestines with your anus.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. You may need a laxative solution or an enema to clean out your colon before surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.

What will happen during surgery?

You may have several small incisions or one long incision in your abdomen. Your surgeon will use tools to cut your colon away from the surrounding tissues. Part or all of your colon will be removed. Your surgeon may attach the remaining parts of your colon with stitches. If your entire colon and rectum are removed, your small intestine will be attached to your anus. He may attach your colon or small intestine to an opening in your abdomen. This allows bowel movement to leave your body through the opening. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage.

What are the risks of surgery?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Nearby organs, such as the small intestine or bladder, may be damaged. You may get an abscess near your incision. Your colon may leak and cause an infection in and around your intestines. You may develop a serious infection in your blood. An adhesion (buildup of tissue) may block your colon. You may need another colectomy. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.