A colectomy is a surgical procedure in which part or all of the colon is removed. This procedure is most commonly used as a treatment for colon cancer, although it may also be recommended for treating other forms of gastrointestinal cancer, such as stomach cancer, that have spread to the colon. In rare situations, a preventive colectomy may be recommended if an individual has a very high risk of developing colon cancer. Colectomies are also used to treat large polyps, as well as other conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
There are several different forms of bowel resection, depending on how much of the colon (and which sections) are to be removed. These include:
- A total colectomy, in which the entire colon is removed
- A partial colectomy (hemicolectomy), in which part of the colon is removed
- A proctocolectomy, in which both the colon and the rectum are removed
Typically, the goal of a colectomy is to remove the fullest extent of the cancer while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take into consideration a patient’s quality of life when making our treatment recommendations, helping patients select the options that are most appropriate for their unique needs. Furthermore, to help patients adjust to life after surgery, we have a skilled team of supportive care providers available to provide dietary counseling, colostomy care recommendations and other essential information.