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colon resection
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colon resection

Hi.  I am almost 5 weeks post op from a laproscopic colon resection, due to multiple diverticulitis attacks ( 6 to be exact ) in the last 5 months. My surgeon was able to successfully remove 7 inches of sigmoid colon and re-attach so I was spared the colostomy. After the procedure, the surgeon told me that the part of the colon that he removed was very very small!  He said he had a difficult time and had to use a 25 guage (?) connector due to the narrowness of my large colon.  He also said that the diseased part was only 20 gauge and he could barely get his finger inside.  Two questions:  How long is it normal to have pain from this procedure?  My pain level is down but still in pain, especially later in day, after work.  ( I am a teacher ).  The second question is what would cause my colon to be so small in the first place?  Thanks so much.
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82861_tn?1333457511
What kind of pain are you having - sharp, dull, crampy?  Does it come and go or is it constant?  Any problems going to the bathroom?  Change in BMs?

I had about 2 feet of colon removed, but I had plenty to lose.  After a lifetime of constipation, it was severely redundant (stretched out).  It took a good 2 months before things finally calmed down pain-wise.  It was mostly crampy pain.  The colon is one organ that really doesn't like being messed with, and tends to go on strike for a while after surgery.  It's possible it just hasn't gotten its act together yet.  The good thing is that your pain levels are going in the right direction: down.

I have no idea why you would have a narrow colon, but it's likely just the way you're built.  Did your surgeon happen to mention if you had a lot of scar tissue in the diseased area?  That would definitely narrow things down.  Seven inches really isn't that large of a resection piece.  Some people have had the majority of their colons removed and the small intestine hooked directly up to the rectum.  They may end up with chronic diarrhea, but they're still alive.  The human body really is remarkable in that it keeps on going after all kinds of insults and organ removals.  

Give it another week or so, and if things aren't still improving it's reasonable to schedule another followup with your doctor.  You might ask him for a copy of the operative report and have him review it with you.  Because I've had so many surgeries, I always keep a copy of the operative and pathology reports for my own records.  Sometimes it's surprising how much they differ from what the surgeon actually tells you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Sue,  Sorry, your still in pain. But give it time, 5 weeks really doesn't seem to long considering "stuff" is constantly passing those stiches by.  Just trying to relivev your worry.  And yes that does sound weird to have narrow colon, is it narrow in other places??  And is that due to the diverticulitis? I dont know my mom had that and it made her constipated. Which is what I'am.  I would ask your Dr. Where you constpated?  
Jaybay, I was wondering if you could send me an email, as I wanted to ask you a bunch
of questions????   *********hotmail.com   I dont think I'm supposed to put the fiquire
for at in the middle, I have some major constipation and am so very scared, hoping it isn't something really bad, yes this is gross but I did want to kinda explain my issues with someone who has been there.  best to you guys...........Denise
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433485_tn?1321816990
Jay bay:  in answer to your question, the pain is dull and crampy....pretty constant except when taking meds.  Thanks to you both for the reassurance.  As for the narrowing of the colon, I know the surgeon said that there was a lot of scar tissue right before the section that he took out...probably from all of the infection over and over.  Also, thanks for saying about how touchy the colon is;;; I remember the doc told my hubby that I would be very sore as he had to do a lot of work in there.

Georgie:  good point about all of the stuff passing by the staples.  I remember the doc saying that the staples stay in and how shocked I was!!!  He also said that eventually skin cells will cover the connector piece and it won't be visible, even during a colonoscopy.  I really wasn't constipated until after the surgery and I think that was from the vicodin and percoset... Glad to hear that 5 weeks isn't really that long as it seems like I should be 100% by now, but I am a very impatient patient..lol
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82861_tn?1333457511
Sue - if that crampy pain keeps slowly getting worse instead of better, you'll need to make certain to tell your surgeon.  It's possible that scar tissue is closing up the anastomosis (where the 2 ends were joined).  You'd need a colonoscopy to confirm that, and sometimes the scope can bust up that scar tissue enough to take care of the problem.  Scar tissue is a normal part of healing, which is why it forms where any inflammation or infection exists.  In some people, it just keeps on growing and causing problems.

Vicodin and percocet will absolutely make you constipated, so start taking a stool softener like colace (generic is much cheaper!) to make things easier.  Don't forget to keep up with extra water intake too.  There's a whole lot of healing work still happening in your body, and you need to stay well-hydrated for that process to work properly as well as to help your colon do its job.

Georgie - feel free to send me a Private Message if you like.  Med Help blocks email addresses so that spammers and other vile persons don't pick them up off the board and harrass the users.  Float your cursor over my username and click Send Message.
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433485_tn?1321816990
Thanks.  It seems to be getting better however I noticed that when I get diarrea (diarrhea) (sp?), it is much sorer, like today.  I think I over did my diet yesterday so am trying to watch today.  That is good info...I go back in for my next surgeon follow up appointment on March 12th and will see how it does.  I also worked a longer day yesterday since returning back to work 3 weeks ago.  I notice that when I am on my feet for long periods of time, the pain is worse.  Thankfully, I am a teacher and do not do much physical but work in large facility so involves a lot of walking.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Saw your note to someone else that had a laproscopic colon resection and I'm planning on that surgery in a month.  They found a polyp (benign) they couldn't snag and now want to cut it out.  I'm 58 and have been in great health until this came along and I'm not impressed!  Just would like to know what to expect..how long in hospital, when can I go back to work (I work in a clinic as a biller), how about back to working out in the gym?  Will my bowels never be the same????  Just having a hard time adjusting to having any surgery at all and my Doc has a friend that does these laproscopically so I consented.  Maybe I'm just being a big baby!  Sounds, too, like alot of pain involved?  Would appreciate your opinion.  DALE0001
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry my "address" is DALEY001!
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433485_tn?1321816990
Hi.  I understand how you feel.  I fought this surgery tooth and nail!! However, due to what could be "catastrophic results" if I didn't, according to all the docs.  I consented.  I had it electively.  Mine was a hand assisted lapro procedure ( done lapro but the surgeon puts his hand in...makes sense right? lol) Anyway, I was in the hospital for 5 days, which is much shorter than if you have the open cut.  I am a huge baby and am just now starting to feel better.  My docs all think I am neurotic but I have been a clinical depressive, with anxiety since the age of 9.  Also, found out that I was going through menopause at the same time. Go figure...Well, I was back to work in less than 3 weeks.  I am a GED teacher.  I have a very low pain tolerance and stayed on pain meds much longer than they wanted.  Now, I take citrucell fiber shake, once per day, and am having "normal" bowel movements.  They generally do not let you out of hospital until you have started up again as it is a pretty invasive surgery and the bowels tend to "sleep" afterwards.  I also have a high pain med tolerance ( who knew) so was keep on liquid dilaudid while I was there.  Yes, there is pain involved for sure but in hind sight, I am glad I had it done.  If you re read my post you will see how scarred up I was from all of the attacks.  I am not sure about the polyps but maybe they will not have to take a lot.  They took 7 inches from me although reading through the many posts here, I am finding that that is not as much as some people have had done.  I hope this helps....Feel free to send me a message or note anytime.  Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for answering (am having a time navigating this site, just not too proficient in cyberspace)...am scheduled for July 25th and am glad you got back to work in a timely manner..I 'm giving myself two weeks max!  My Doc said I needed to quit saying "it's no big deal" as it really is major surgery but I 've never had anything this "big" before, in all my 58 years..guess I thought I'd just keel over some day!  Anyway I'm sure it will be a real eye opener and I won't be back in the gym that month! Is this getting older thing a real pain in the butt!!!???  Dale
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433485_tn?1321816990
Hi.  Glad you decided to do the surgery.  What exactly is he going to do? Has he told you?  It was funny to read your post as I was the opposite; I have been such a baby about this whole thing.  And yes, this over 50 thing is a trip!!!   Well, I am 51 and hit 2 milestones last week.  My first grandbaby was born ( Yay!) and I had to go on hormone replacement therapy due to very low estrogen levels. Back to the surgery, if he can do it lapro, then 2 weeks should be good to get back to work, just know that if they do an "open" incision, they say the recovery is a little longer.  Take care and keep me posted.  Sue
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Avatar_f_tn
I've never did this online chatting thing but it's really nice to know someone's out there with similar probs. Anyway, first of all, my surgery is hopefully lapracopic with a small incision to take the 4-5 inches of colon out..that's it!  Now doesn't that sound simple?????  So congrats on the new grandbaby, I have four!  Two with my son and his wife, and now two with my daughter and her hubby!  They are the best thing to live for!!!  I've been on HRT for about 8 years, kinda long but I feel so great with them and I really don't have any risk factors for breast ca except this "old" age thing!!  One of the Docs here had me try this c-bioest trocars and what it is, is a chemical compound that the pharmacy makes up that is exactly like the hormones we produce in our body and is not derived from a mare's urine.  It comes in several flavors and you melt the little squares under your tongue.  Anyway I guess the main thing about having surgery is that we just want to get it over with and be back to "normal!"  Thanks so much for chatting!  I feel like I have an advocate!  Dale
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433485_tn?1321816990
Hi.  Feel free to post notes on my profile or send me a message as this sight blocks emails.... 4-5 inches doesn't sound like a lot but I have been told that this is an invasive surgery so be patient with healing.  Keep me posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
Well I'm 4 weeks post op and can tell you laproscopic is the only way to go.  Have had no problems at all and can get back to the gym next week!  I went back to work after barely 2 weeks and just am tired at night but am walking in the evening anyway.  Bowels are looser for the most part which is quite wonderous to me but I'm sure that will get old eventually!  Anyway if anyone wants details just let me know.  The whole surgery went fantastic and I had a great Doc.  DALEYOO1
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433485_tn?1321816990
Hi.  Boy, you are lucky....lol.  I am over 6 months and still having some pain. Doc is gonna do a CT just to check but I know he is only doing for my peace of mind, which is fine.  Do you take fiber?  I just got back from a vacation and made the mistake of switching from Citrucell to Metamucill.  I ended up irritating ( I think) my colon as I found out that Metamucill has Psyllium Husks in it and Citrucell doesn't.  Anyway, I switched back and am trying to get back to "normal".  Has anyone else experienced probs with different types of fiber?  Take care and glad you are doing better.
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Avatar_f_tn
GEEZ AFTER READING THE COMMENTS IN THE GASTROENTEROLOGY COMMUNITY I'M FEELING VERY FORTUNATE WITH THE EXPERIENCE I'VE HAD!  I'VE HAD ABSOLUTELY NO PAIN, MY BOWELS ARE RATHER FREQUENT BUT NORMAL AND YES I TAKE A METAMUCIL TABLET EVERY DAY AND ONCE IN AWHILE A STOOL SOFTENER.  OTHER THAN THAT I'M BACK IN THE GYM FULL FORCE AND ONLY ON OCCASION DO I FEEL A PULL IN THAT AREA THAT THE DOC SAID I JUST NEED TO STRTCH A LITTLE MORE.  I'M HAVING A TIME FINDING "THIS" SPOT WHERE I'VE POSTED NOTES AND YOU'VE RESPONDED.  JUST NOT TOO GREAT AT NAVIGATING THROUGH HERE AND IT'S WHY YOU MAY NOT HEAR FROM ME TOO OFTEN!  TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!  DALE
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Avatar_m_tn
i see a few differrent people responsing and sharing that i might as well address this to everyone.  i'm 57 now and have had diverticular disease all my life but it wasn't until 1995 that it turned into very painful diverticulitis so my surgeon asked me if i wanted it removed and i agreed not knowing if it would help or not help.  in any event i was in the hospital for 8 days after he removed most of my sigmoid colon (the hard way).  it was a typical resection but in all honesty i have never felt so much pain in my life as when i woke up after the surgery.  i took all the morphine they would give me for 8 days straight just to keep a straight face.  after returning home i went on oxycodone for about a month straight and then tried hitting golf balls at the driving range which was very painful even with the oxycodone.  i finally realized that a lot of excercise helped me more than anything else but i still continue to take oxycodone on and off even today 13 yrs later but during that time after the first surgery i had to have my gallbladder removed as well as 3 differrent type hernias repaired too so with all those surgerys in 13 yrs time it's no wonder i'm still needing oxycodone.  all 5 surgerys were very painful due to all the scar tissue involved and sometimes i ask myself i wonder how i would feel now if i had never had any surgerys done.  with each and every surgery the surgeons explained to me that they don't always cure the pain but in my case i really had no choice unless i wanted to walk around with diverticulitis and gallstones and 3 hernias sticking out for the rest of my life.  i guess my comments will scare some people but not others but after having 5 surgerys i'm not afraid to have another one anymore if that consoles anybody.  once you have had one you know what to expect more or less.  i get along fairly fine nowadays but still use oxycodone when i need it since i don't beleive in walking around in pain when it's not necessary.  anyone else using opioid pain killers should also take generic colace to soften up your stool.  i find it helps both the pain and the constipation associated with oxycodone use so i consider that a must also unless your not taking opioid pain killers.  most importantly stick with a decent diet and get daily excercise (golf is my method) and i don't use a cart i walk the course.  even if it's painful the excercise tends to help the pain.  i mostly use the oxycodone so i can relax and get some good sleep without pain waking me up all the time so i don't feel i am abusing it.  i hope this has helped some of you.  diverticular disease never goes away so you have to learn how to deal with it somehow.  i also have been diagnosed with IBD and IBS as well and i also have diabetes and extreme anxiety and stress to deal with on top of it all but i do manage nonetheless.  good luck to everyone still suffering.  email me if you wish.  it's easier than using the forum for me.  cheers!  
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433485_tn?1321816990
Hi.  Just read your post.  Wow, you have had 5 surgeries...I have only had the one...scroll up and see my first post.  I still take a little pain meds, at nite, to help me sleep and with the pain.  I thought I was the only one.  My surgery was 7 months ago. I know what you mean about wondering whether it was worth it or not.  However, in my case, not only did I have multiple episodes of diverticulits, that were not responding to the antibiotics, I found out, after the surgery that all of the scar tissue in there was causing my sigmoid colon to stricture, so they removed 7 inches.  Some else on this site, who has had the same surgery and is a nurse, told me that at the point that I am, time wise, the nerves are just starting to regenerate so I think that explains the pain, itching and burning that I feel.  Apparently the colon is an organ that hates to be messed with.  Thanks for sharing.  By the way, I was also diagnosed, years ago, with IBS, but not sure what IBD is.  Take care.
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Avatar_m_tn
IBD is short for (inflammatory bowel disease) which is either the same or closely related to colitis.  there are so many bowel diseases that are so closely related to each other that even the GI specialists have a hard time diagnosing them all.  anyway i had 13 inches of my sigmoid colon removed so there isn't much left.  whether it helped or not who can say because we can't turn the clock back and undo the surgery to figure out how we would feel today if we wouldn't have had it done but it would be interesting to know if it really helped or not.  my surgeon called my resection an (elective surgery) which means the diverticulitis was not life threatening at the time but he still convinced me to have it done nonetheless stressing that it (might) rupture my colon at any time.  my bowels were never normal from the day i was born so maybe i'm lucky i'm even still alive no telling.  your right about the intestines or colon being an organ that hates to be messed with.  if they are messed with they will surely let you know about it that i can testify to.  anyhow my surgeon would like to remove all my bad scar tissue since it never goes away and always keeps getting worse but he wants to do it the hard way (not laparoscopically) so that he can find more easily anything that is wrong and attempt to repair it but i've been holding off on that idea for a long time now because i don't want to go thru another invasive surgery that could possibly go wrong and end up with another incisional hernia as well which always seems to happen after you are cut open down the middle.  the last one i had taken care of was the size of a baseball and was almost right in the middle of my belly button which was a gross thing to look at so i was sure grateful that he was able to fix it properly but even that hernia required another invasive cut right down the middle.  i know look like i have twin zippers running from my groin up past my belly button.  maybe they should invent a real zipper so people don't have to keep getting cut open anymore lol.
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433485_tn?1321816990
Hi.  Mine was elective, as well.  I had been hospitalized last Christmas Eve, for 5 days, for another attack.  They monitored me and determined it wasn't going to rupture.  That's when I made the decison to have the surgery.  They sent me home with a PICC line and I infused Levaquin and Flagyl daily .  1 X for Lev. and 3 X for the Flagyl.  Then, on Jan. 24 I went in for the surgery.  The PICC wasn't so bad as I was able to be mobile.  The home health nurse and company would send out these Balls, containing meds and I would stick one in a Fanny Pack and connect when it was time.  They empty on their own.  It was nice because I am a teacher and I would wear long sleeves and you couldn't tell.  Anyway, I was one of the lucky ones who did not develop a hernia.  My uncle has one so I know what you're talking about.  His is pretty big.  As for the scar tissue...I recently had a CT to check why I am still having  some residual pain.  Everything came up normal and the surgeon just feels that I am one of those people who can take up to 2 years to "forget you had the surgery".  However, CTs can't pick up adhesions/scar tissue so I am going to have a colonoscopy in a few months.  I wish you luck and hope you don't have to have the surgery but he did tell me that that is the only way to check for it unless colonoscopy can see it.  Take care.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a colon resection 4 years ago due to severe chronic diverticulitis which I suffered with for 25 years.  I had the big incision which made me feel like a gutted deer.  The recovery seemed to take forever and I never thought it would end.  Lived on milk of magnesia for a long while and still need it about once a week to get things going.  I get intermittant pain on the left upper side of my belly which is releived by milk of mag.  I also find I am the gassiest person I know.  The good news is it gets better.  I am so glad I had the surgery as I live a normal life.  No more excruciating pain and infections and I can eat almost everything I want now.  Before I could not eat any meat, fruit, veg without horrible consequences.  Lived on bread for many years.  I had about a foot of colon removed and have not been back to the doc since.  I am 57 and would not go through it again and hope it never comes back.  If you have insurance by all means, get your colonoscopies.  I have none now so will wait and hope for the best.  I waited a long time to have the surgery because I was not insured and no md is going to do this for free.  I am grateful every day for the 2 years I had insurance and was able to go under the knife.  Good luck to all who face this operation and dont let the docs blow you off.  Ask, question and do your own research.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had surgery May 15, they took 10 inches of my colon, i had colon sticture, do you think this will come back . I was in the hosiptal 11 days did not eat i could not keep anything down it was alfull. Does anyone know if this can happen again
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Avatar_f_tn
You and I are the same age and are feeling the same way about life right now.  Seems that getting older is only about medical issues these days, but the decision to shorten my redundant colon is getting easier to make.    Reading these posts have been a HUGE help, especially since they're made by those who've undergone the surgery and can speak from personal experience.
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Avatar_m_tn
I might have to get the colon resection , do you have any other advice.?
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