What Is The Colon?
The colon, a part of the large intestines, is an organ that is part of the digestive tract whose main function is absorption of liquids from the digested materials that have passed through the small intestines in order to suck up any remaining nutrients and necessary liquids that may still reside in the material.
The colon is split into four segments:
- the descending colon
- the ascending colon
- the transverse colon
- the sigmoid colon
The sigmoid colon marks the end of the digestive track, as it connects to the anus.
What Is Colorectal Disease?
Every year thousands of Americans are diagnosed with some form of colorectal disease. These diseases range from inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, to colon cancer and rectal cancer. Systems of colorectal disease can include diarrhea, constipation, cramps, and any change in routine bowel habits that persists for more than a few days. Colorectal cancer, however, may not present symptoms until it has spread, so regular exams are encouraged after a certain age to screen for colon cancer. Colorectal diseases are chronic, and can rarely be cured, but they can be treated with medication and surgery if necessary.
What Is The Treatment?
Colorectal disease can be treated using medication and or mitigated through dietary changes. For colorectal diseases that have advanced to the point where medication provides limited relief, doctors may opt to perform surgery to remove the diseased parts of the colon or the entire colon. Colorectal surgery can be performed two ways, through ‘open surgery’ or laparoscopic surgery.
Why Laparoscopic Surgery?
Laparoscopic Surgery provides patients with a safer option to traditional surgery. For many patients, the recovery time from laparoscopic surgery is much shorter and less painful. Doctors increasingly perform colorectal surgery using laparoscopic techniques, as it is less invasive.
In Laparoscopic colorectal surgery, doctors will make 4 to 5 small incisions in the abdomen and insert specialized surgical devices into the incisions. Using a laparoscope (surgical camera), doctors will identify the diseased tissue, clamp off connecting blood vessels to reduce bleeding, disconnect the diseased tissue from other parts of the colon, and remove it from the body.