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1802 S. Yakima Avenue, Suite 202
Tacoma, WA 98405
Phone: 253-572-7120
Fax: 253-572-1071

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Laparoscopic Colon, Stomach and Small Bowel Surgery: 

These structures are commonly known as the gastro-intestinal tract, or GI  tract.   After food is swallowed, it begins to be digested and broken down in the stomach.  Food then empties into the small intestine, where the nutritional part of the food is absorbed.  The liver and pancreas add enzymes, which help with food breakdown and absorption. The remaining waste moves through the colon to the rectum and is expelled from the body .  Surgery on these organs is necessary for a wide variety of problems, from tumors to obstructions, strictures, infections, and many other diseases.            We have had very good results with laparoscopic surgery on the GI tract. We can often use 3 or 4 small incisions to perform most GI tract procedures.  Following sucessful laparoscopic surgery, patients are often able to go home after only one or two nights in the hospital. With conventional open surgery, a 6 to 12 inch incision is often needed as well as a one week or longer hospitalization following the procedure. 

The latest innovation in GI tract surgery is the use of the surgical robot.  We are now able to offer Robotic Surgery for a variety of GI problems.  The robot can increase our precision, and new developments continue to improve the lives of our patients.  The robot may be offered for selected patients and conditions.  Please feel free to discuss this with your surgeon.

     

Stomach Surgery

The stomach is a large pouch in the first portion of the intestinal tract.  There are a varietly of problems that require stomach surgery.  Several tumors, both benign and malignant, as well as a number of functional problems can be focused on the stomach.  Fortunately, the majority of them are readily approached with laparoscopic surgery.  Special diet changes are occasionally necessary following stomach surgery.  Please see our recommended Post Gastrectomy Diet in the Patient Education section.

Small Intestine

The small intestine, is the site of a variety of problems, including blockages (obstruction),  tumors, and other problems.  Because of the great length of the small bowel, small lesions can often be removed without any adverse problems.  Many of these problems can be repaired with laparoscopic techniques.

Appendix

The appendix is a small tubular structure that is attached to the end of the right colon.  For such a small organ it causes an enormous amount of trouble.  The appendix can easily become inflammed and infected.  This results in acute appendicitis, which is a true surgical emergency.  Several rare tumors can also appear in the appendix.  Fortunately, the appendix serves no clear function, and removing it has minimal consequence.

 

The Colon

The colon is the large intestine; it is the lower part of your digestive tract.  The rectum is the final part of the colon.  The colon and rectum absorb water and hold waste until you are ready to expel it.  A variety of diseases affect the colon.  Among the most common are Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis, which often affects the sigmoid colon, and colon cancer.  Each year, more than 600,000 surgical procedures are performed in the United States to treat a variety of colon diseases. Although surgery is not always a cure, it is often the best way to stop the spread of disease and alleviate pain and discomfort.

 

Colon Cancer

If you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer, the first thing you should know is that you’re not alone. It’s one of the most common types of cancer. And if it’s caught early, it’s also one of the most treatable.

Colon cancer occurs when cancerous growths form in or around your colon. There can be a variety of symptoms depending on where it develops – from blood in your stool to weight loss to abdominal pain. Sometimes, there are no symptoms at all.

Treatment for Colon Cancer

Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan based on a number of factors, such as which part of the colon is affected and the stage the disease. Colon cancer treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  •  Newer targeted therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies

 

Colostomy and Ileostomy

Occasionally an ostomy (bringing the colon or small bowel to the skin and attaching a bag) is required in colon surgery.  These are called colostomies if from colon, or ileostomies if from small bowel.  This is especially needed in emergency surgery, when operating on a dirty (un-prepped) or infected   colon.  Colostomies and ileostomies are most often temporary, and can be closed at a second surgery, usually after 3 months time.  Special diets are often recommended following stoma surgery.  Please see our Ileostomy Diet recommendations under Patient Education.

  

LAPAROSCOPIC AND OPEN COLON SURGERY

Patients undergoing open colon surgery can face a long recovery. Traditional open procedures are highly invasive.  In most cases, surgeons are required to make a long incision. Surgery results in an average hospital stay of a week or more and usually 6 weeks of recovery.  

Laparoscopic colon surgery allows surgeons to perform many common colon procedures through small incisions. Depending on the type of procedure, patients may leave the hospital in a few days and return to normal activities more quickly than patients recovering from open surgery.

In most laparoscopic colon resections, surgeons operate through 3 or 4 small openings (each about a quarter inch) while watching an enlarged image of the patient's internal organs on a television monitor. In some cases, one of the small openings may be lengthened to 2 or 3 inches to complete the procedure.

 

THE ADVANTAGES OF LAPAROSCOPIC COLON RESECTION

  • Less postoperative pain
  • May shorten hospital stay
  • May result in a faster return to solid-food diet
  • May result in a quicker return of bowel function
  • Quicker return to normal activity
  • Improved cosmetic results

 

Pre Surgery Preparation

  • The colon is the dirtiest organ in the body.  Special attention must be given to preparing your colon for surgery.
  • The rectum and colon must be completely empty before surgery. Usually, the patient must drink a special cleansing solution. You will be asked to take a combination of clear liquids, laxatives and enemas prior to the operation.
  • Antibiotics by mouth are commonly prescribed. Your surgeon will give you instructions regarding the cleansing routine to be used.  Our standard Bowel Prep Instructions for Colon Surgery can be found on the Resources page of this website.