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Types of surgery

There are five types of colon or rectal surgery.

  • right hemicolectomy
  • left hemicolectomy
  • subtotal colectomy
  • low anterior resection
  • abdomino-perineal resection

Each surgery can be done two different ways.

  • Open surgery: An incision (cut) is made on your abdomen to reach the colon.
  • Minimally invasive surgery: Small incisions are made on your abdomen. The surgeon will insert medical instruments and a camera through the incisions to do the surgery.

You and your surgeon will decide which way is right for you.

If cancer is found in your colon, it is also important to remove the lymph nodes during surgery. One of the main blood supplies to the colon will also need to be removed.

right hemicolectomy before200x259right hemicolectomy after200x259

A right hemicolectomy removes the ascending (right side) colon. The rest of the colon will be attached to the small intestine.

left hemicolectomy before200x259left hemicolectomy after200x260

A left hemicolectomy removes the descending (left side) colon. The right side of the colon will be attached to the sigmoid colon.

subtotalcolectomy before200x263subtotalcolectomy after200x263

A subtotal colectomy removes the ascending (right side) colon and the descending (left side) colon. The small intestine will be attached to the sigmoid colon or the rectum. You may need to have an ostomy pouch.

lowanteriorresection before200x260lowanteriorresection after200x261

A low anterior resection removes the rectum and the sigmoid colon. The rest of the colon will be attached to the remaining part of the rectum. You may need to have an ostomy pouch, but this is usually only for a short time.

abdominoperinealresection before200x261abdominoperinealresection after200x261

An abdomino-perineal resection removes the rectum and anus. Since these parts of the colon are removed, you will no longer have an anus. You will need to have an ostomy pouch.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Understanding Your Colon or Rectal Surgery, can-ah-95399
First Published: 01/24/2013
Last Reviewed: 08/15/2017