Minimally invasive colectomy in San Diego
Minimally invasive colectomy in San Diego
If you need a partial or total colectomy, you want a surgical team with lots of experience. Colectomy surgery is complicated, and it can cause long-term changes in bowel function.
Scripps colon and rectal surgeons are experts in their field. They’ve helped thousands of people overcome debilitating or life-threatening gastrointestinal conditions. And whenever possible, they use the latest minimally invasive techniques, including robotic colectomy.
About colectomy surgery
For many people, the benefits of colectomy outweigh the challenges. It can significantly improve quality of life for people with painful digestive disorders, and it’s a life-saving treatment for colon cancer.
But before you have surgery, it’s important to understand what to expect before, during and after your procedure. Learn more about colectomy, including why it’s performed and what types are available.
What is a colectomy?
Your colon and rectum are two organs that help your body digest food. They sit next to each other inside your large intestine. Together they help your body get rid of solid waste.
Colectomy is the medical term for surgery to remove all (or part of) your colon, and sometimes your rectum. This procedure is also known as a bowel resection or colon resection.
Types of colectomy include:
- Total colectomy, which removes your entire colon
- Partial colectomy, which removes only a section of your colon
- Hemicolectomy, which removes the entire right or left side of your colon
- Proctocolectomy, which removes your entire colon and your rectum
Colectomy is an extensive procedure. After your surgeon removes some or all of your colon, he or she must reattach your remaining digestive organs. And some people need extra surgery to create a new passageway for solid waste to exit the body.
Why do some people need a colectomy?
Colectomy surgery is used to treat or prevent several medical conditions. These include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Colon cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Chronic or severe diverticulitis
- Genetic conditions that increase your risk of colon cancer, including Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis
What colectomy surgery options does Scripps offer?
Scripps offers the full range of colectomy procedures, including the latest minimally invasive techniques that may reduce pain and recovery time. These include:
Open colectomy is the traditional technique used to remove the colon. Your surgeon accesses your colon through a long cut (incision) in your abdomen.
Laparoscopic colectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses several tiny incisions (instead of one large incision). Your surgeon guides a thin, flexible tube mounted with a tiny camera, as well as special surgical tools, through these incisions. The camera allows your surgeon to see inside your lower abdomen while detaching, removing and/or repairing your colon.
Robotic colectomy is nearly identical to laparoscopic colectomy. However, during this type of robotic general surgery, your surgeon doesn’t hold surgical instruments in his or her hands. Instead, the instruments are attached to robotic arms, which your surgeon controls from a nearby computer console.
Not everyone is a candidate for minimally invasive surgery. Your doctor will help you understand which surgical options are best for you.
About robotic colectomy
Hundreds of people across San Diego County have had robotic colectomy at Scripps. Learn more about this minimally invasive alternative to open surgery.
What is a robotic-assisted colectomy?
Generally, all types of minimally invasive surgery require fewer, or smaller, incisions. But robotic colectomy is different from laparoscopic colectomy. It uses robotic technology to increase precision and control, and to greatly magnify the colon, surrounding tissue and blood vessels.
During robotic colectomy, surgical instruments (and a tiny camera) are attached to robotic arms. These arms are controlled by a specially trained surgeon from a nearby computer console.
As your surgeon moves his or her hand, wrist and fingers, the robotic arms perform the same movements in real time. Not only do the robotic arms mimic delicate movements, they can bend and rotate in ways a human hand cannot. This may make it easier to access hard-to-reach areas inside the body.
The computer console also displays a high-definition, close-up view of the surgical site. Throughout the procedure, your surgeon can see inside your body in three dimensions. This is another key difference – during laparoscopic colectomy, surgeons only have a two-dimensional view of the surgical field.
During the procedure, your surgeon accesses your colon through several small incisions in your lower abdomen. He or she carefully separates your colon from surrounding tissue, then brings it outside of the body through one of your abdominal incisions.
Your surgeon will operate on your colon while it’s outside of the body, then reinsert it through one of your incisions once any necessary repairs have been made.
Is robotic colectomy covered by insurance?
It’s important to check with your health plan before having any surgical procedure. Many, but not all, insurance companies cover robotic surgery (including robotic colectomy).
Those that do cover robotic surgery often categorize it as “robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery.” In most cases, if your plan covers minimally invasive surgery, it will also cover robot-assisted surgical procedures.
Benefits and risks of robotic colectomy
Robotic colectomy surgery may not be appropriate for all patients. Talk to your surgeon about all your treatment options, including the risks and benefits of each.
Robotic colectomy may offer several benefits compared to traditional, open surgery. These include:
- Quicker return of bowel function
- Reduced risk of complications, including surgical site infection
- Less blood loss (reducing the need for a blood transfusion)
- Less pain (reducing the need for pain medication)
- Smaller, less visible scars
- Shorter hospital stay
- Faster recovery
Like all surgery, robotic colectomy also carries risks. These include:
- Damage to nearby organs and tissue, including the bladder and small intestine
- Tears in the stitches that reconnect the remaining parts of your digestive system
- Fecal incontinence
- Surgical site infection
- Complications from anesthesia
- Equipment failure
Why choose Scripps for robotic colectomy
If you’re a candidate for minimally invasive colectomy and prefer a robotic approach, you’ll find unmatched expertise at Scripps.
Our robotic surgeons are some of the most experienced in San Diego. With more than a decade’s experience using the da Vinci Surgical System, they’ve performed hundreds of robot-assisted colectomies.
Equally important, our surgeons are required to undergo continuous, highly specialized training in robot-assisted techniques. If you’re planning to have robotic colectomy surgery at Scripps, you can count on us to provide care that is both safe and effective.