Subtotal Colectomy

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/6/2009 7:14 AM (GMT -7)   
I was just told I need a subtotal Colectomy (75% of my colon removed) The surgery will be done laparoscopy.  Mine is due to Polyps (if not removed I have a very high risk of colon cancer). I would like to know how it has affected your lives, know everyone is different but any information on what I can expect will be greatly appreciated.
My doctor say I will go to the bathroom 4 - 7 times a day.  I am so worried about this and would like to know how you deal with problems like this do you feel comfortable going out or traveling? Do you have much warning or control?  Any info. will be helpful......Please............

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 470
   Posted 2/6/2009 6:17 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Info-please and welcome,

I had a subtotal in July; I have 2 inches left...I had this surgery for colonic inertia (severe constipation)...for me  this was the best thing that has happened to me...I am very healthy now and haven't felt this good in many will see by my signature that I have experienced many years of challenges and discomfort so this surgery was a blessing.

My surgery was open...but you can expect about a 5 day might have an NG tube so ask about that...if you can have an epidural for pain, definitely get's the will have frequent bms in the beginning...I had 20+...but I only have 2 inches will not take long for your small intestine to adjust...I went back to work 6 weeks later and was only having 8-10 bms...I have never had an accident or even come close...there are urges but I can control them...I continue to be on a low residue/fiber diet and I watch what I eat to help control the bms...I am now down to 3-5...

It was a long recovery process...even though I went back to boby was and continues to heal inside...I did not have any problem traveling as my surgeon and GI dr are 3 hours get used to where bathrooms are lol...and just think you will be healthy...

If you have more questions you can email email address removed by moderator

I wish you the best and I'll keep you in my prayers,


Hi Judy

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Post Edited By Moderator (Shaz032) : 2/6/2009 9:58:17 PM (GMT-7)

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/7/2009 6:12 AM (GMT -7)   

Judy, thank you for the information. I am so glad things are better for you. Hearing others story helps me know what to expect,  I have been so scared of this surgery so talking to someone that has been there helps. Thanks again.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 2/9/2009 12:22 PM (GMT -7)   

I'm sorry you have to go through the surgery but there is life after a colectomy.

I had a sub-total colectomy (85% removed) Sept. 5, 2007 because of high-grade dysplasia in one of the biopsies from my last colonoscopy in May of 2007.  This was after about 28 years of ulcerative colits, mostly controlled through meds.  My surgery was with an open incision so if yours is done laparoscopic assisted your short-term recovery might be faster.  I was told I'd be in the hospital 5 days but ended up staying for 14 days because of an ileus (temporary blockage) that resolved on its own by the time I left the hospital.  Because of the ileus, I was not able to keep any food or drink down for the first 12 days post-op.  I'm not trying to scare you but there can be complications.  My surgeon thought that my intestines just didn't "wake up" and start working because of the narcotics used to put me under for the surgery.  I was 53 at the time of the surgery and my age may have been a factor, too.  By the way, in my case, there was very early stage cancer found after the colon was removed, so the surgery was really needed.

For my surgery, the surgeon left the rectum and re-attached the ileum to the rectum.  He pulled the end of the ileum past the top of the rectum and attached the side of the ileum to the top of the rectum.  The first month I had mostly liquid bm's about 8-10 times a day and I returned to work about 8-9 weeks after surgery.  I was still tired a lot from working full-time again but it did get better over time.  After a couple of months I was down to about 6-8 times a day and over the next few months things improved further.  I'm about 17 months post-op now and I have about 3-5 semi-formed bm's a day.  One thing that I've found that helps me is to take metamucil in water in the morning and sometimes in the evening.  It acts as a binding agent and helps the stool to be more formed.  A low fiber diet helps and I have to avoid raw veggies and tossed salads.  Also, I have found that using wipes in addition to TP is pretty much a must.

I hope this isn't too graphic a description.  I've been able to travel quite a bit and really haven't had any major problems in the long term.  I traveled to mexico last March for a week for a volunteer mission trip to help build a house in Juarez and didn't get sick.  This January I went to Uganda on another voluteer trip and was gone 12 days, 7 of those in Uganda and was able to able to delay for up to 15 hours without toilet facilities, and did not get sick there either.  My long-term quality of life is really good and I often go all day without having a bm at work.  I did lose about 20 pounds by the time I left the hospital but have gained back about 10.  I have managed to keep my weight a few pound less than pre-op, but mainly because I wanted to.  I did have a some control issues the first couple of weeks after the surgery but none long-term.  You get used to a new "normal" after this kind of surgery but I decided that I'd rather live without a colon than die with one from cancer. 

Let me know if you have any more questions or want more details and I wish you the best with your surgery. 

54 yr old male, UC since 1978
800mg Asacol x 3 daily
500 mg Pentasa x 4 daily
Boniva(for osteoporosis)
600mg calcium + 200 iu Vit. D x 3 daily
Advicor(for cholesterol)

Sub-total colectomy with ileo-rectal anastomosis 9/5/2007

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/9/2009 12:49 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you ucRick.

Is not too graphic every bit of information I can get helps. Want to know any and all I can find out, like to know what can or just might happen. I know the surgery  has to be done I sure do not want cancer. I am older then you, will be 65 next month. Just retired not long ago and looking forward to traveling a bit. Thanks again for all the information.

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