Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Bowel resection

Bowel resection is a surgical procedure used to treat and prevent diseases of the colon, such as colon cancer, by removing part of the large intestine. It is also known as a colectomy, colon resection or colon removal.

The large intestine is a long, muscular tube. The colon makes up the first four to five feet of the large intestine, while the rectum makes up the last several inches leading to the anus. The colon absorbs food and water and stores waste.

Surgery is a common treatment for colorectal cancer. Bowel resection involves the surgical removal of colorectal tumors, as well as surrounding tissue and several nearby lymph nodes. A bowel resection that involves removing the entire colon is called a total colectomy. A subtotal colectomy removes most of the colon. When a portion, or segment, of the colon is removed, it is known as a segmental colectomy.

Bowel resection is performed under general anesthesia and may be performed laparoscopically or with open surgery. During a laparoscopic bowel resection, a camera helps guide our surgeons to the area targeted for removal. Laparoscopic surgery is considered less invasive than open surgery because it uses a series of small incisions.