Sigmoid colectomy for colorectal cancer

In this procedure, the surgeon removes the diseased portion of the rectum and the sigmoid colon. Some lymph nodes and surrounding tissue are also removed.

doctor holding scope in surgery

Sigmoid colectomy methods

Your surgeon may perform your colectomy as an open surgery, laparoscopic surgery, or robotic-assisted surgery.

The technique will depend on:

  • your overall health
  • tumor size
  • the surgeon's experience and preference
woman in green with ostomy

Will I need a colostomy bag?

It's important to talk to your surgeon about your specific case and whether you will need a colostomy.

Some sigmoid colectomy surgeries do not require a stoma if the surgeon is able to connect the two ends of the colon together. The part of the colon that is joined is called an anastomosis.

male patient resting in bed


After sigmoid colectomy surgery:

  • You will have some pain that can be controlled with medication.
  • For a few days, you may be on a liquid diet to let your colon heal.
  • Bowel function usually returns within three days after surgery.
  • You may have a longer hospital stay if a your surgeon created a temporary or permanent ostomy.
  • Your doctor will determine when you can return to work, driving, and other activities.
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Risks and possible complications

Risks of any surgery depend on several factors, including your overall health and the extent of the surgery.

Problems are rare but can include:

  • infection
  • bleeding
  • blood clots in the legs (DVT)
  • leak at the anastomosis
  • scar tissue in the abdominal cavity (adhesions)

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