Anterior

Resection

Anterior resection is a surgery to remove the rectum or a part of it.

What is rectum?

Rectum is a part of the bowel and forms the lowest part of the digestive system. It stores waste material.

Why is anterior resection

performed?

Anterior resection is performed to treat rectal cancer. During the surgery part of the rectum affected by cancer is removed and the remaining part is connected to the colon.

What are the symptoms of

rectal cancer?

The symptoms of rectal cancer are as follows:

  • Dark color or bright red stools
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Problem in the bowel movements
  • Diarrhea

How to get ready for the

surgery?

The doctor will advise a full physical examination before the surgery, to check for any other complication that needs to be addressed before surgery.

The doctor will inform the patient about the requirement of having a ‘stoma’ after the surgery.

A stoma is an opening in the belly wall that is made during the surgery by the doctor in order for the waste to leave the body, which doesn’t happen if there is no bowel movement through the rectum.

The waste from the stoma collects in the colostomy bag.

If you have a prior medical condition and you are taking medicines prescribed by a doctor please make sure you inform the surgeon beforehand.

If you have a habit of smoking you will be advised to stop smoking a few weeks prior to the date of the operation as smoking may result in other complications or may cause infections resulting in failure of the procedure. Quitting smoking enhances the chances of success.

The doctor will prescribe laxatives a few days before the surgery; this will help in clearing out the digestive tract.

The patient is required to stop drinking or eating anything before 12 hours of the surgery.

How is the surgery

performed?

There are two approaches that the doctor may opt for in order to remove the rectum, open surgery or minimally invasive surgery.

The surgery is carried out under the influence of general anesthesia. The patient will be put on IV drip so that there is a constant nutrient supply to his/her body.

The doctor will either perform a minimally invasive surgery or an open procedure depending upon the condition of the patient.

In an open surgery long incisions are made in the abdomen region and the affected part of the rectum is located, which is then removed.

The surgery is carried out under the influence of general anesthesia. The patient will be put on IV drip so that there is a constant nutrient supply to his/her body.

The doctor will either perform a minimally invasive surgery or an open procedure depending upon the condition of the patient.

In a laparoscopic surgery, once the patient is asleep the process begins by making incisions near the belly button and a small device is inserted which is called a port; it creates an opening that will used be filled with gas (carbon dioxide) in the abdomen region.

Through these incisions a Laparoscope (a Laparoscope is a small instrument with a narrow tube which has light source and camera at the end of the tube) is inserted and using the Laparoscope’s video camera the surgeon is able to locate the affected body part and through the other incisions that are made the damaged/affected part (in this case the rectum removed) is removed with the help of surgical equipment; after this the incisions are sealed using a surgical glue or staples.

After the cancer ridden part of the rectum is removed, the surgeon joins the healthy ends and staples them. This process is called anastomosis.

What can one expect after surgery and

how long does it take to recover?

It is a major procedure and after the surgery, the patient will require constant oxygen supply. So the patient will be put under a ventilator.

Supply of essential nutrients will be continued through IV.

A catheter will be attached to the patient, in order to drain urine.

The patient will be put on painkillers by the doctors to overcome pain from surgical wounds.

The patient will also be asked to follow a specific diet which will require him/her to consume soft or liquefied foods, including mashed potatoes, smoothies, and soups.

It is better to contact the doctor if complications like blood clots, excessive pain in the abdomen, high fever, pus and blood discharge from the incisions occur.

What are the complications that may occur

post-surgery?

Following complications may occur post-surgery:

  • Lack of sex drive in men, erectile dysfunction and difficulty in achieving orgasm
  • Temporarily patients may face problems in urination
  • Deep vein thrombosis may occur in legs
  • Deep vein thrombosis in lungs
  • Infection
  • Muscle cramps etc

If any of the following complications occur it is important to get in touch with the doctor as soon as possible.

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