• Is it normal to have 18 inches of your colon removed during colon surgery?

    Asked by StegalMan on Saturday, April 20, 2013

    Is it normal to have 18 inches of your colon removed during colon surgery?

    This seems like a lot. I'm going over the information I was given and just trying to get it in my head what's going to happen.

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • CAS1's Avatar

      If you were with a Dr who you trust I just don't see the benefit of second guessing the treatment. I can do the same but I don't let myself because I cannot bring anything back. I have LC and I did agressive target treatment of chemo and radiation. I then had surgery to remove the left upper lobe and the majority of lymph nodes in the center of my chest. I was T1.Small tumor.

      The surgery was brutal and not vats. The cancer was all completely dead. I will never ever be able to get my lung back. I was a runner and very healthy before DX..Can't do that anymore.

      If I allow myself to comb over all my records..which I have I could drive myself crazy because I know enough about cancer to question everything..I just won't because it will not do me any good. Instead I try and look for cures, new reserch for my cancer and exercise and relax and take good care of myself and others.

      If they took 18 inches its because they needed to do this to save your life.

      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Just read a big report..Radical resection of Colon cancer GREATLY improves 5 year survival.

      over 3 years ago
    • Beaner54's Avatar

      StegalMan - I had a hemicolectomy in Sept. 2012 and the surgeon removed 18" of my colon. Stage 2 cancer.

      I am doing well and the only change I see is the more frequent emptying of the bowels. I will need
      annual colonoscopy's to keep an eye on things.
      Best of luck to you.

      over 3 years ago
    • KarenN@StF's Avatar

      It's perfectly normal to be a little apprehensive about surgery and to have questions about something you've never had done before. Try not to worry! The average colon is about 5 feet in length. The colon's primary functions are to serve as a conduit for waste to exit the body and along the way, to reabsorb water and sodium from the waste as it moves through the colon. Once a section of colon is removed, waste has a shorter distance to travel and therefore bowel movements after eating may occur sooner and more frequently. Also, the consistency of the stool will likely be softer as less water has been reabsorbed by the body.
      A person can live a very normal life even if 95% or more of the colon is removed. So, the more colon that is removed the greater the adaptation is. A person who has a total colectomy (the entire colon removed) definitely has increased frequency of bowel movements, looser stools and a need to prevent dehydration. 18" is a normal amount and after it is removed, your body will have to adapt, but after it adjusts (maybe several months), your new normal should be very workable. Good luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • StegalMan's Avatar

      Thanks CAS1 and Beaner, I really am not doubting what they are doing, just wondering if it's "normal" as in everyone gets this done or am I different?

      over 3 years ago
    • PaulaT's Avatar

      I had almost my entire ascending colon removed - about 25"- in Dec 2009 and have had no bad, lasting side effects. Like Karen said, you have about 5 feet of colon so although 18" sounds like alot, it's not compared to what you have left.

      over 3 years ago

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