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Anterior Resection Surgery

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Consultants who perform this procedure

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Why would I need anterior resection surgery?

An anterior resection is usually recommended for patients who have a bowel condition that has caused the lower part of the large intestine (the sigmoid colon) and the rectum to become diseased.

What symptoms does anterior resection surgery address?

This kind of surgery aims to help treat the pain and discomfort of a diseased sigmoid colon and rectum that may have been caused by conditions such as diverticular disease.

When should you speak to your specialist about anterior resection surgery?

Anterior resection surgery is normally performed after being under the care of a specialist colorectal surgeon. However, if you have pain and discomfort in your lower bowel, particularly on the left hand side, speak to your specialist.

If you’ve been recommended to have this surgery, your specialist will talk to you about the possibility of a stoma, or colostomy bag. This is a bag that sits over an exposed piece of colon to give your large bowel a rest after surgery. It may be temporary or permanent.

This surgery can also be carried out in an emergency situation outside of the immediate care of your GP.

How is anterior resection surgery performed?

Anterior resection surgery is always performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes between two and four hours. Due to it being fairly major surgery, you can be in hospital for up to two weeks whilst you recover from surgery.

This operation can be performed in one of two ways – laparoscopic, or keyhole surgery, or open surgery. Your surgeon will discuss your best option with you.

Keyhole surgery involves a number of small surgical incisions to your abdomen, and open surgery involves one longer, thin incision.

Your surgeon will then surgically remove the diseased parts of the sigmoid colon and rectum, and stitch together the two healthy remaining ends. You will need a stoma procedure if there isn’t enough bowel to connect together or if your surgeon thinks it necessary.

What is the recovery like for anterior resection surgery?

Your recovery from anterior resection surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.

When you wake after surgery, you may have a catheter in your bladder to drain urine and a tube in your abdomen to drain away excess fluid. Your medical team will also provide you with pain relief which may include morphine and/or an epidural to numb your lower body.

You will also be provided with advice on when you can start eating and drinking, and what’s best to consume. Your medical team will advise you when you can expect to return to work and your normal activities, which will be around six weeks after surgery.

Are there any risks/complications associated with anterior resection surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.

Anterior resection surgery has a risk of serious complications. The following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

  • Anastomotic leak, where the bowel leaks where it’s been joined back together
  • Paralysis of the bowel
  • Nerve damage
  • The two sections of the bowel separating
  • Damage to the bowel or surrounding organs
  • Wound infection
  • Incontinence
  • Constipation

How can I prepare for anterior resection surgery?

Prior to anterior resection surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare for surgery, as each patient is different.

Common preparations for anterior resection surgery include:

  • Routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon
  • Taking steps to stop smoking if you smoke
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Remaining active and doing regular exercise

In the days leading up to surgery, you may also be asked to follow a special diet and take a laxative bowel preparation to clear out your bowel. Your specialist will provide you with specific details.

Are there alternatives for anterior resection surgery?

If your surgeon has recommended that you have this kind of surgery, it means that any other kind of treatment is unlikely to benefit you.

Call 020 7467 4344 or fill in your details below to make an enquiry
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