Laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer

When compared to traditional open surgery, the recovery from a laparoscopic colectomy can be shorter and less uncomfortable.

What is laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery. Instead of one large incision, the surgeon makes a few very small incisions (about ¼ to ½ inch) into the abdomen to insert a small surgical camera and instruments. A slightly bigger incision, about two inches wide, is made to remove the tumor and any other tissue.

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laparoscopic surgery

Why have laparoscopic surgery?

Advantages to laparoscopic surgery versus open procedures include:

  • Less recovery time
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Smaller scars
  • Less pain and discomfort after surgery
  • Shorter hospital stay

Speedier return to normal activities

Who is eligible for a laparoscopic colectomy?

Many colorectal cancer patients are good candidates for laparoscopic colectomy surgery.

The best option for you depends on several factors, including:

  • your overall health
  • your medical history
  • your surgeon’s experience
  • the cancer stage
  • the cancer location

What happens during a laparoscopic surgery?

  • Carbon dioxide gas is used to inflate the abdomen and create space for the surgeon to operate.
  • The laparoscope (a small camera) sends video images from inside the body to monitors in the operating room.
  • During the procedure, the surgeon moves the instruments by watching the monitors.
  • The surgeon will remove the segment of the colon or rectum that contains the tumor through the larger incision.

Brittany's story: open versus laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer

This short video tells the story of Colorado resident Brittany Slater, whose life was turned upside-down by a colon cancer diagnosis at age 23. Her tale demonstrates the differences between an open procedure and a laparoscopic surgery.

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