What Is The Colon?
The colon, a part of the large intestines, is an organ that is part of the digestive tract. Its main function is the absorption of liquids from digested materials that have passed through the small intestines. It sucks up any remaining nutrients and necessary liquids that may still reside in the material.
The colon is split into four segments:
- the descending colon
- the ascending colon
- the transverse colon
- the sigmoid colon
The sigmoid colon marks the end of the digestive tract, as it connects to the anus.
What Is Colorectal Disease?
Every year, doctors diagnose thousands of Americans with some form of colorectal disease. These diseases range from inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, to colon cancer and rectal cancer. Colorectal disease symptoms can include diarrhea, constipation, cramps, and any change in routine bowel habits that persists for more than a few days. Symptoms may not always be obvious or occur early on, so Dr. Lemus-Rangel always encourages regular exams to screen for colon cancer. Colorectal diseases are chronic, and can rarely be cured. However, they can be treated with medication and/or surgery.
What Is The Treatment?
Colorectal disease can be treated using medication and/or mitigated through dietary changes. For colorectal diseases that have advanced to the point where medication provides limited relief, doctors may opt to perform surgery to remove the diseased parts of the colon. Depending on the severity of the disease, this may require complete removal of the colon. Colorectal surgery can be performed in two ways, through ‘open surgery’ or laparoscopic surgery.
Why Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery?
Laparoscopic Surgery provides patients with a safer option to traditional surgery. For many patients, the recovery time from laparoscopic surgery is much shorter and less painful. Doctors increasingly perform colorectal surgery using laparoscopic techniques, as it is less invasive. In Laparoscopic colorectal surgery, doctors will make 4 to 5 small incisions in the abdomen and insert specialized surgical devices into the incisions. Using a laparoscope (surgical camera), doctors will identify the diseased tissue and remove it from the body.