Laparoscopic FAQ’s

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  • Am I a candidate of Laproscopic Resection?
    Over 90% of our colon surgeries are performed laparoscopically. It is usual that a patient is not a candidate for the minimally invasive technique During your initial consultation, we thoroughly review your medical history and decide if the surgery is appropriate for you. During surgery we sometimes feel that it is safest to convert the laparoscopic procedure to an open one. The decision to convert to an open procedure is strictly based on patient safety and occurs about 5% of the time.

    Do all surgeons perform this type of surgery?
    The disadvantage of laparoscopic surgery is that it cannot be performed by every surgeon. Extensive training and a dedicated surgical team is critical to perform this surgery safely. Even surgeons that are brilliant in open techniques require special training and may not offer this technique. In addition, not all hospitals have the equipment and supplies necessary for this surgery. Colorectal Surgical Associates are board certified surgeons with expert skills in advanced minimally invasive surgery. We have dedicated our practice to advancing the techniques of laparoscopic surgery and offer this technique to all of our patients who require surgery. We have helped establish state of the art operative room facilities at our hospitals to ensure a safe and smooth experience.

    Is Laproscopic Colon Surgery more risky than open surgery?
    As with any operation, colon surgery carries certain risks such as bleeding, infection and leakage of the anastomosis (where the bowel is joined together). However, the risk of one of these complications occurring is no higher when performed by experienced laparoscopic surgeons than if the operation was done with the open technique.

    Is this surgery safe for colon cancer?
    Yes! In one of the most important and anticipated studies in modern surgical history (New England Journal of Medicine – link??), patients who underwent laparoscopic colon surgery for cancer the same long term survival rates as those who underwent traditional open surgery. In fact, the only real difference was that those who had laparoscopic surgery had significantly less pain, shorter hospital stay and a much smaller scar.

    What is the colon?
    After food is swallowed, it begins to be digested in the stomach and then empties into the small intestine, where the nutritional part of the food is absorbed. The colon is the last 4 to 5 feet of the intestine. Its function is to absorb water from the stool and hold the waste until you are ready to expel it. The last one foot of the colon is called the rectum.

    Will I need a blood transfusion after surgery?
    This type of surgery does not routinely require a blood transfusion. If you are anemic before surgery, then you may benefit form a blood transfusion either before, during or after surgery. Our surgical institution utilizes the most current technology to screen donors and thoroughly test all blood products. There is opportunity to pre-donate your own blood. We respect religious beliefs regarding blood transfusion practices.

    Will I need colostomy bag after surgery?
    Most patients faced with colon surgery are concerned over whether they will have to wear “a bag” (colostomy) into which their bowel empties. It is rare that we need to give our patients a permanent colostomy bag after colon surgery. In our experience, we are able to remove the portion of the colon and join the ends back together without leaving the patient with a bag. Sometimes a temporary bag is given while the surgical area heals. Once healed, the intestine is then put back together and the bag is removed. A temporary colostomy may be used in emergency colon surgery as the bowel may be infected and joining it together immediately may not be safe. In this setting, the patient can be brought back in for surgery to restore their usual bowel function in a few months and remove the bag.

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    For more information, or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced doctors, please contact Colorectal Surgical Associates today.