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Bowel Resection for Colorectal Cancer


Anatomy of the colon and rectum

Picture of the colon and rectum and where they are in the body

The colon and rectum are the last parts of the bowel (intestine). The bowel extends from the opening where food leaves the stomach to the opening where feces leave the body (anus). The bowel helps to process food, absorb nutrients and water, and get rid of waste.

Colon cancer site

Picture of cancer in the wall of the descending colon

Cancer is shown in a section of the descending colon.

Bowel section removed

Picture of removing the affected part of the colon

Resection is another name for any operation that removes tissue or part of an organ. Bowel resection, also called partial colectomy, for colorectal cancer removes the tumor and part of the colon or rectum around the tumor. Both ends of the bowel section being removed are stapled and cut. Nearby lymph nodes, lymph drainage channels, and blood vessels are also removed.

Bowel reattached

Picture of reattaching the cut ends of the colon

The remaining ends of the bowel are reattached, either end-to-end, side-to-side, or side-to-end.

Surgery scars

Picture of laparoscopic surgery scars and open surgery scar

If you have laparoscopic surgery, you will have 3 to 6 small scars. An example is in the picture on the left. Your surgeon may make 1 or 2 of the small openings a little bigger to allow space to complete the procedure. If so, those scars will be a little longer than the others. If you have an open resection, you will have one long scar. An example is in the picture on the right.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerArvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last RevisedSeptember 30, 2010

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