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Colorectal surgery is the broad term for surgical procedures performed on the colon, the rectum and the anus. There are various different surgical procedures which fall under colorectal surgery and these are used to treat a vast array of disorders, such as:
- Anal cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Severe complications related to constipation
- Anal injuries
- Inflammatory conditions of the gastro-intestinal tract
- Congenital defects
The surgeries under colorectal surgery are performed after diagnostic tests such as proctoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and defecating proctography. The most common diagnostic test is colonoscopy. These help to identify the origin and nature of the problem and decide which surgical procedure is to be followed. The procedures under colorectal surgery are as follows:
- Colectomy: This procedure involves removal of a section of the large intestine. This is known as partial colectomy. In extreme cases, such as advanced cancer or severe gastrointestinal infection, the entire colon is removed and this is called total colectomy. Sometimes, the rectum is also taken out along with the colon and this is called proctocolectomy.
- Colonic polypectomy: An abnormal growth of tissues of the inner lining of an organ is known as a polyp. Colonic polypectomy is done to eliminate polyps from the colon and rectum before they become malignant. This can be done endoscopically. Surgery is required in case of large polyps.
- Strictureplasty: Chronic or repeated bowel inflammation causes scar tissue to accumulate in the large intestine. This results in the narrowing of the colon. Stricturoplasty removes the scar tissue so that proper flow of digestive contents is resumed.
- Colostomy or Ileostomy: A damaged section of the colon is removed and the shortened intestine is then attached to another opening (stoma) in the anterior wall of the abdomen.
- Hemorrhoidectomy: This surgical process is used for swollen hemorrhoids or blood vessels which form in the anal canal. Hemorrhoidectomy is extremely effective in removing hemorrhoids but the surgery also involves a number of complications.
- Anoplasty: Anoplasty or imperforate anus correction is done to correct birth defects in the rectum and the anus. The structural flaw does not allow the stool to pass properly from the rectum and so it is repaired using surgery.
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