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Risks of Left Hemicolectomy

Colectomy is a medical procedure done to treat some diseases that damages our colon. One of the types of colectomy is the left hemicolectomy. This procedure is done to remove a part of the colon particularly the left or the descending colon.

Left hemicolectomy is usually carried out to patients that have colon cancer or other non-cancerous diseases like the diverticular disease or the Crohn’s disease. In some instances, the surgery is done with a laparascopic approach.

The left hemicolectomy involves the taking away of blood vessels and lymph nodes in the descending colon after the resectioning of the colon. Anastomosis is then done in which the remaining colon and the top of the rectum are joined together. This operation may be done as an open or a laparoscopy is needed in which a small camera and instruments are inserted in the incisions to aid the procedure.

Having a left hemicolectomy may have some risks. Nevertheless, risks can be treated. Below are some of the problems that may arise after this surgical procedure:

  • Wound infections – this may dawn in any type of surgery in the intestines whether open or laparoscopic. These infections may cause serious problems but it is rare. Antibiotic treatment may be needed.
  • Bleeding – rare but possible. Whenever there is transfusion, blood is needed.
  • Ileus – this a condition in which the stomach works slower compared with the normal functioning after the operation. When a patient has this condition, he or she may experience distension and vomiting. When this occurs, the doctor may suggest a period of bowel rest with continual intravenous fluids with a nasogastric tube which passes from the nose to the stomach.
  • Obstruction – this happens when a patient has undergone the left hemicolectomy and the bowel does not work properly. This may cause a blockage and the patient may experience abdominal pains, distension and vomiting. When obstruction occurs, the doctor may usually suggest a period of bowel rest with continual intravenous fluids same as of when a patient has ileus.
  • Anastomotic leak – this condition occur when the join that the doctor has made leaks. Patients that have Crohn’s disease and those that are on steroids have the greater risk of anastomotic leak. The leak can be treated with antibiotics or having a drain placed through the wall of the abdomen.
  • Peritonitis – this will develop only if the leak in the join is bigger. This will require another surgical operation to make a stoma.
  • Conversion – this happens during the operation where the surgeon finds out that a laparoscopic approach is not feasible, therefore a cut will be made to convert the surgery into an open procedure.

The left hemicolectomy may have the aforementioned risks but each risk has a corresponding solution to make the operation a successful one. If a hospital has a reputation to maintain, there is an assurance that the surgical procedure will become a success. When patients have diseases in their colon, there is no other procedure aside from having a hemicolectomy. Simply waiting or medicines will not help. Things will just worsen, therefore, a hemicolectomy is significantly recommended.