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Colectomy or bowel resection surgery is a common drastic surgery often given in desperate times. A piece of the bowel or intestine will be removed from the body. The reasons for this surgery are many:

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  • Cancer of the colon
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Colon damage or injury
  • Non-cancerous polyps and growths
  • Scar tissue

The surgeon removes the damaged portion of the colon. He then reattaches the rest of the colon sections. The large and small intestines are both targets of this surgery. Laparoscopic procedures are also available. These are much less invasive than full surgery. Bowel resection surgery has a 86% surgery survival rate.

The Procedure

A bowel resection surgery often begins with a laparosocpy but emergency conditions may require an immediate open colectomy. The basic procedure for a bowel resection follows these steps:

  • A dose of anesthetic
  • Cuts in the abdomen ranging from three to five, depending on the condition.
  • Expansion of the abdomen via gas
  • Taking out the afflicted bowel section
  • Re-sealing the bowel with the remaining sections
  • Sewing the cuts on the abdomen shut

There are some variations in this procedure. An open colectomy requires a six inch cut in the abdomen. In the case of resection impossibility, another procedure is undertaken. The doctor cuts an opening in the abdomen. This is the stoma. The stoma is then attached to the intestine and an external waste system is added to the stoma.

Small intestine surgeries are called ileostomy while large intestine procedures are called colectomy.

Potential Complications

As with any invasive surgery, there are potential complications. These complications include

  • Problems with breathing
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Organ damage
  • A hernia bursting through the incision
  • Infections
  • Re-opening of the resealed intestine, also known as anastomosis
  • Scar tissue which leads to blockage in the intestines

Negligence and Injury Possibilities

Doctor’s and nurse’s can make mistakes during any procedures. This is true for intestinal surgery. These rare occurrences can result in potential malpractice suits. These suits all depend on whether the patient received treatment that can be considered generally acceptable. Negligent behaviors a doctor or nurse may perform include:

  • Damaging other organs during surgery
  • Poor pre-op or post-op care or complete failure to administer these important procedures
  • Administrating the wrong medicine or administering medicine in the wrong dose
  • Poorly administered anesthetic
  • Responding poorly to complications during and after surgery

Negligence and Malpractice Suits

Doctor negligence can result in the doctor filing a malpractice suit. A medical expert must testify that the doctor or nurse was negligent. Common forms of compensation include:

  • Paying medical costs
  • Repaying income lost due to negligence
  • Mental and physical pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement or disability
  • Punitive damages
  • Death
  • Lost companion