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Common Questions about Colorectal Procedures/Surgery

What common conditions could lead to surgery on the colon/rectum?

Diverticulitis/diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis), colon and rectal cancer, polyposis, rectal prolapse, or anal fistula.

Will the surgery be laparoscopic or robotic assisted?

Many colorectal procedures are performed laparoscopically, so that the incisions are small. If the surgeon is unable to perform it this way, open surgery can also be performed.

What patient preparations are there before the surgery?

How long is the hospital stay after surgery?

The length of hospital stay varies based on the type of surgery you have and how your body responds. Most colorectal surgeries that require hospitalization average 3-5 days in the hospital.

How will my pain (if any) be managed after the surgery?

Pain is managed through a combination of IV medication, pills, patches and ice/heat packs. Using fewer narcotics helps lessen side effects.

Will I be able to get out of bed?

We get patients up and out of bed slowly and with assistance starting the day of surgery. Walking three times per day for about 50 feet supports a faster recovery.

Can I eat normally after surgery?

Following the first few days after surgery, we advise clear liquids such as water, juice or broth and avoiding carbonation. Once the patient has return of bowel function, we advance to low fiber intake. We suggest less than 15 grams per day. Our registered dietitians are available to answer any questions regarding post-operation nutrition.

What symptoms should prompt me to call my surgeon’s office after discharge?

You should call the surgeon’s office if you experience:

  • Prolonged abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting or abdominal distention
  • Fever >101° F
  • Sudden onset shortness of breath/chest pain
  • Incision – redness, swelling, opening of the incision or drainage
  • No bowel movement for 3 days
  • Colostomy – no output over the day
  • Ileostomy – no output in 8 hours
  • Excessive thirst, dark urine, weakness, lethargy, ileostomy output >1200 ml/24 hours
  • Pouching issues or peristomal skin problems
  • Leg swelling, especially in one leg