MORE ABOUT LAPAROSCOPIC COLECTOMY
Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery
GARTH HADDEN BALLANTYNE, M.D., M.B.A.,F.A.C.S., F.A.S.C.R.S.
Board Certified in General Surgery & Colon and Rectal Surgery
OFFICE: 4 Shaw's Cove, New London, CT 06320
Surgeon In Chief
Lawrence & Memorial Hospital
New London, CT 06320
CONTACT US AT:
This page last updated: September 11, 2010 10:49 AM
MORE ABOUT ADVANCED LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY
MORE ABOUT LAPAROSCOPIC COLORECTAL SURGERY
Until recently, colorectal surgery required a large incision and an extended recovery
period. Now the minimally invasive technique of laparoscopy can be used to treat a wide
range of colorectal diseases. Laparoscopy achieves the same results as traditional
surgery, but patients recover faster and experience less pain.
Because laparoscopic colorectal surgery requires extensive and highly specialized
training, few surgeons are qualified to perform these procedures. The Center for Advanced
Laparoscopic Surgery at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center is one of only a few medical
centers in the country with a surgeon certified to use laparoscopic surgery in the
treatment of colon conditions including diverticulitis, Crohn's disease (occurring in the
small intestine as well as the colon), chronic ulcerative colitis, constipation, sigmoid
volvulus, and endometriosis. Dr. Ballantyne may also use laparoscopy to repair rectal
prolapse, remove non-cancerous polyps, and treat some types of colon cancer.
The Center for Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery is equipped with the latest laparoscopic
technology, including three-dimensional imaging equipment and the most advanced ultrasound
instruments in use anywhere.
The Advantages of Laparoscopy
Traditional "open' procedures to correct colorectal disorders begin with a large
abdominal incision, 8 to 12 inches long. Because of the healing time required by this
wound, patients may spend a week or more in the hospital, and they experience significant
With laparoscopic surgery, patients experience less pain and return home in four or
five days. Within a week or two they can return to all normal activities, including work.
The laparoscope, which is a telescopic videocamera, usually gives surgeons a better
view of internal organs than they can achieve with the naked eye in a traditional open
procedure. Patients lose less blood during laparoscopic surgery than during traditional
surgery, and they experience fewer infections and other complications.
Virtually all patients who need colorectal operations are candidates for laparoscopy.
There are a few patients, however, who require the open procedure.
THE LAPAROSCOPIC COLORECTAL OPERATION
Minimally invasive surgery begins with three to five small incisions through which Dr.
Ballantyne inserts narrow, tube-like devices called trocars. Through one trocar, the
surgeon inserts a laparoscope. Other instruments are inserted through the other trocars.
Dr. Ballantyne watches a video monitor as he manipulates the surgical instruments to
perform the same operations as would take place during a traditional open colorectal
Colectomy, or removal of part of the colon, is one of the most common laparoscopic
procedures. After Dr. Ballantyne locates the affected area with help of the laparoscope,
the vessels surrounding the diseased portion of the colon are sealed and cut. Dr.
Ballantyne then extracts the diseased segment through a trocar, or, in some cases, through
an enlarged abdominal incision. The healthy parts of the colon are then secured together.
Surgical tape or stitches close the incisions following surgery.
In a small percentage of cases-about one in 20 (about 5 percent) -Dr. Ballantynemay be
unable to complete a procedure laparoscopically and must revert to an open procedure.
Under these circumstances a traditional approach is used.
Dr. Ballantyne carefully reviews each patient's condition before recommending any
procedure. lf you are a candidate for colorectal laparoscopy, he will discuss the
benefits, risks, and possible complications of the operation.
A pre-admission evaluation, including routine blood testing, must be completed in the
five days before the procedure. This provides your surgeon with important information
about your health before operating. Generally, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center
conducts this evaluation. However, under certain circumstances, your personal physician
may complete the necessary pre-admission tests.
Before surgery, you will also meet with an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist who
will ask questions about previous surgeries and explain the anesthesia.
Like all patients undergoing colorectat surgery, you are required to be on a clear
liquid diet the day before your operation. The night before surgery you will begin taking
antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection as a result of the procedure.
Because colorectal laparoscopy is performed under general anesthesia, you cannot eat
or drin anything after midnight the day before the surgery. You will be admitted to the
hospital on the morning of your procedure.
In the hours following the operation, you will experience some pain from the small
incisions made to perform the procedure. In a day or two, you will be able to drink
liquids. On the third day, you will probably begin eatin solid foods again.
When you return home, typically four or five days after surgery, you will be able to
take care yourself Within a week or so of leaving the hospital, you can resume your normal
schedule. You can return to work, and if you are an athiet or enjoy working out, you can
begin exercising and playing sports again.
After a few months, the surgical incisions will be barely visible.
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Copyright 1996, Garth Hadden Ballantyne, M.D., P.C. All rights reserved.
50 East 69th Street, New York, New York 10021 (212)-249-2626 or (800)-LAP-SURG