Colon surgery

Colon surgery covers all diseases of the colon, rectum and appendix. The range of intestinal diseases is very wide.

It includes harmless conditions that are attributable to food intolerance, but also very serious and malignant diseases such as chronic inflammation of the bowel (Crohn’s disease), diverticulitis or intestinal tumours.  Colon cancer is one of the most common diseases that require colon surgery.

Appendicitis is also part of the repertoire of a visceral surgeon.

Treatments

Examinations of the large intestine are usually carried out via a colonoscopy, CT scan, and by taking tissue samples.

Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is the most important medical examination for the early detection of colon cancer and other diseases of the colon, rectum and intestinal mucosa.

Conservative therapies

Intestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal flu or other intestinal infections can be treated and, to some extent, cured by means of medication and dietary changes. In the case of chronic illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, medication is used to curb the inflammation, alleviate the symptoms and halt the progression of the disease. This is usually the responsibility of the gastroenterologist.

Surgical treatments

Depending on the severity of the intestinal diseases, there are different operations that may be performed on the large intestine. The spectrum of interventions ranges from the removal of intestinal polyps and intestinal constriction to the extraction of sections of or even the entirety of the intestine. The majority of surgical procedures carried out on the colon are minimally invasive.

Minimally invasive laparoscopy

In laparoscopy, surgery is performed with the aid of an endoscope. The surgical instruments, light sources and camera are inserted into the abdomen via several small incisions in the skin. The surgeon can then perform the procedure on the large intestine without too much injury to the soft tissue.

Radiotherapy

Rectal cancer is the colonic tumour that has the most serious consequences for patients. Apart from the emotional distress associated with a cancer diagnosis, patients may have to be fitted with a stoma (artificial anus), which is subject to many prejudices and may seriously interfere with the patient’s life, even if this is only temporary.

Local contact radiotherapy using the Papillon technique may offer an alternative to surgery for some rectal cancer patients.

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