Types of surgery

There are five types of colon or rectal surgery.

  • right hemicolectomy
  • left hemicolectomy
  • subtotal colectomy
  • low anterior resection
  • abdominoperineal 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 before Right hemicolectomy after

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

 

 Left hemicolectomy before  Left hemicolectomy after

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

 

 Subtotal colectomy before  Subtotal colectomy after

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.

 

Low anterior resection before Low anterior resection after

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.

 

  Abdomino-perineal resection before  Abdomino-perineal resection after

An abdominoperineal 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, second edition, can-ah-95399
Reviewed By: Johan Nordenstam, MD, MS, PhD
First Published: 01/24/2013
Last Reviewed: 07/15/2015