Hm, first it depends how they intend to reconnect your small intestine: to the rectum or toward the abdominal wall (stoma). Next - you can expect having lose stools at least on the beginning, since colon usually absorb about 1-1-5 liter of water. But small intestine should adapt after some time to absorb additional water.
Polyps may be from Crohn's disease, ischemic colitis or Clostridium difficile infection or other cause(?) . You should ask about the casue, they surely made several biopsies. If it was genetic type, you'd have developed cancer in your 40's.
Hi - I underwent a total colectomy four years ago (when I was 58) for torrential diverticular bleeding. You can actually live quite satisfactorily without a colon and my life has pretty much returned to normal. There are two aspects which it might be helpful to share with you as follows:-
aa) my recollections of the surgery:-
- purgative administered the day before
- IV anaesthetic just before the operation
- the operation lasted about four hours
- the wound was 10-11 inches long from the base of the sternum to the pubic area
- I woke up feeling pretty groggy and "beaten up"
- pain was quite well controlled via a spinal epidural
- nutrution etc was administered via IV for ~6 days afterwards
- on the day after the operation a heartless physio forced me to get out of bed and walk around. In all fairness she was probably only doing her job and minimising the risk of blood clots/DVT etc
- some people develop an ileus afterwards. This is caused when the intestines are slow to "restart" following their manipulation during the surgery.
- you may require a nasal gastric tube to suck out stomach contents/bile juice if the ileus prevents these fluids from passing through the small intestines.
- during the period in hospital you are given numerous drugs/injections for all sorts of reasons. Strong antibiotics are given in case of any minor leakage from the newly joined parts of the bowels which would cause peritonitis. If peritonitis were to develop (1-2% - but ask your surgeon) then another operation is required to close the leak.
- if you do not have an ileus you can start to eat after 5-6 days
- if you have healed well you can go home after ~7 days
- thereafter the wound requires careful attention/anti-infection procedures etc
- sutures/staples are removed after about two weeks
- when you go home - no heavy lifting, car driving for ~4-5 weeks. Lots of rest.....
This is a big operation and you will take time to recover. I was back on the tennis court after about 3 months.
bb) changes in life
You will find that you need to visit the toilet for a #2 maybe 6-8 times during the day and 2-4 times during the night. This will lessen as time passes. Your motions may be liquid/runny. I found that a diet with plenty of fibre helped (pulverised fruit, vegetables, wholemeal bread and blend organic bran into the fruit + veg and also into yoghurt). This will help make your motions more muddy/sludgy.
Your motions may be more corrosive so, in order to avoid anal soreness, ensure that the last "toilet paper wipe" is done with soapy water. Take mild baby wipes when you are away from home.
If you think that the number of toilet visits is excessive, how many times do you visit the toilet to do a #1?? ~ 8 per day?? Well now you will do a #1 and a #2 at the same time. Not so bad really.....!!
Hope this helps. Do ask more questions if there is anything else on which I can elaborate.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I just learned from you more in one response than I have had from my doctor in the two years we have been contemplating doing this operation. I will find out tomorrow when I visit the surgeon if I am still on for a "direct connect" and will not have to have a permanent colostomy. My father (who is still with us at the age of 87) has had a permanent colostomy since he was 57 so I am familiar with all that entails.
I will keep you posted on my progress.
Thank you again!!
I am just reading your post now. I know it was back in May and you may have addressed this issue but I just had my entire colon removed 5 days ago and I believe things have progressed a little more than the above post indicated. I had an excellent surgical team and the procedure was performed lapro. I have 3 tiny incisions and 1 large in the belly button where the colon, 4.3 feet of it was removed. They did a complete resection to the rectum and I dont even have a temporary bag. I am not eating yet because everything is still asleep but it should be any day now. If you did chose to do this operation I hope you found the best surgeon possible. I debated this surgery for over a year also. I have had chronic constipation and colonic inertia for over 10 years. I wish you the best.
Would you please tell me where you had your surgery done and who the surgeon was? I am attempting to find someone GOOD who does a lot of these and who can do them Using the minimaly invasive proceedure you discribe. Thank you
Have you gotten any responses to your request for a good surgeon? My GI dr has just told me I need to have this done and I am still in a quandry about what's really best. I would like to talk to some people locally who have had this done and get a recommendation for the BEST surgeon. I live in Des Moines, IA.