The colon (large intestine) is the last part of your digestive tract. This part of the bowel works to soak up water and store food waste. The colon is a tube-like muscle. This tube has a very smooth lining. The lining is made up of millions of cells. The colon in an adult is about 4 – 6 feet long. The rectum is the last 6 inches of the colon. A colectomy is surgery to remove all or part of your colon.
Minimally invasive or laparoscopic surgery involves using multiple trocars (thin tubes) placed through 3 to 5 small incisions. These incisions are usually less than 0.5 cm (less than ¼ inch). Carbon dioxide gas is then used to slowly inflate the abdomen. A thin telescope is placed through one of the trocars. This allows the surgical team to view the inside of the abdomen on a TV monitor. Specialized instruments are placed through the other trocars to perform the operation. For colon surgery, one of the incisions is enlarged to remove the piece of colon. This larger incision can also be made initially, allowing one hand to be placed within the abdomen along with the camera and long instruments to assist with the operation. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.