A colectomy is a surgery used to remove all of the colon or just parts that are affected by disease. It is used for people who have:

  • Polyps in the colon's lining
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diverticular disease
  • Colon or rectal cancer

There are two kinds of colectomies – laparoscopic or more traditional, open surgery.

During open colectomies, your physician will create an incision in the lower part of the abdomen. The colon will be removed and a bag will be placed outside of the body where waste will drain. This is also known as a colostomy. If only part of the colon is removed, the healthy ends are connected.  

During a laparoscopic procedure, the same procedure is performed, but your physician makes three to five small incisions in the abdomen where a camera and other instruments are inserted. With a laparoscopic procedure, there is less scarring and a quicker recovery.


For more information on colectomies, see The National Institutes of Health.

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