Laparoscopic Colectomy

General information
Even today the majority of colon resections in the USA are performed through a long midline incision. Colon resection is usually indicated for certain inflammations of the colon such as diverticulitis and ulcerative colitis, colon cancer and fecal incontinence due to rectal prolapse.


Symptoms and diagnosis
Colonic diverticuli are very common in patients over 50 years but actual infection is not as frequent. Diverticulitis usually presents with left lower quadrant pain with or without fever. Colitis can present with pain in any abdominal quadrant depending on the part of the colon that is inflamed and can be associated with blood in the stool. Colon cancer can present with blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss and in some instances with black stool, intestinal blockage and vomiting. Diagnosis of any of these conditions is usually made by computed tomography of the abdomen or colonoscopy.


Procedure and postoperative course
Laparoscopic colon resection is usually performed with four small incisions, the largest of which is on average about 4 cm or 1 and ¾ of an inch long. Hospital stay is usually 3-4 days. Dr. Raftopoulos usually recommends that you stay on a clear liquid diet postoperatively until your first bowel movement. Once the bowel function returns then return to a solid diet is feasible. However of avoidance vegetables is suggested for 4 weeks postoperatively. There is no diet restriction after that.  You may shower right after your surgery and return to work is expected within 7-10 days postoperatively.


According to Professor Raftopoulos’ experience the incidence of complications occurs in less than 2% of patients. Postoperative bleeding, or infection due to an anastomotic leak are two of the most serious complications. None of them has occurred in Professor Raftopoulos’ experience. In addition, intestinal blockage and deep vein thrombosis may also occur.


Dr. Raftopoulos’ experience
Dr. Raftopoulos has extensive experience in laparoscopic colectomies. There are several laparoscopic techniques most of which require the performance part of the procedure through an open incision. This results to a larger incision minimizing the benefits of laparoscopic surgery. Dr. Raftopoulos performs these procedures completely laparoscopically without an open incision resulting to incisions of less than 4 cm. This technique is more complex but offers faster recovery especially for obese individuals. Professor Raftopoulos has presented his technique as a podium presentation at the annual Central Surgical Association and has been published at the prestigious medical journal Surgery 2006;140(4):675-683. For more information please contact our office.