Diverticular disease is a very common indication for colon surgery. Due to Western diets often being low in fiber and high in refined food, diverticula can form in the colon (almost always in the sigmoid section of the colon). These diverticula may remain asymptomatic and no treatment is needed if that is the case. Sometimes diverticula become inflamed and this is called diverticulitis. If the inflammation is mild, it can be treated with antibiotics. If it is severe, the colon may perforate and an emergency surgery from a may be necessary to prevent severe sepsis. Emergency colon surgery usually requires a temporary colostomy. Without a colostomy the anastomosis will frequently leak and lead to further abdominal sepsis which can be life threatening. The colostomy is almost always temporary and can be reversed with another surgery usually in 3 months. Some patients never have severe episodes but will have repeated painful episodes and to prevent these, the sigmoid part of the colon may be removed. In these cases, a colostomy is usually not required. This can often be done laparoscopically or robotically.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. There are usually not any symptoms until a tumor is large enough to cause significant bleeding or bowel obstruction. For this reason, screening colonoscopy is done to detect colon cancer early or prevent it from developing by removing precancerous polyps. If colon cancer is found and has not spread away from the colon, a section of the colon is usually removed in hopes of curing the patient. Even if all of the cancer appears to have been removed surgically, chemotherapy may be administered under the direction of an oncologist. If cancer has spread to isolated areas of the liver or to the lung, under certain circumstances resection of the cancer in those locations can be undertaken along with the primary tumor. Chemotherapy for colon cancer has gotten much better in the last decade and even patients with cancer that can not be removed surgically are living many years. Schedule an appointment with our intestinal surgeon if you have questions about colon surgery or other colon surgeries.
Your Birmingham Colon Surgeon
If you're looking for a colon surgeon in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Adam Harris can help you with your issues. Dr. Harris is the go-to colon specialist in Birmingham. Specialized in colon surgery and more.