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Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery is a minimally invasive technique employed during surgery to remove parts of the colon (large intestine). In these minimally invasive techniques, a camera is introduced into the abdominal cavity for visualisation, and small instruments are used to perform the surgery.

Almost all types of colorectal surgical procedures can be performed with this minimally invasive approach. This can be used for treatment of both malignant (cancer) and benign colorectal disease.

There are different types of minimally invasive techniques:

  1. Laparoscopy – small cuts and instruments are used to access the organs.
  2. Hand assist – a special port is used to allow the surgeon to insert a hand into the abdominal cavity.
  3. Robotic surgery – a robot and other special equipment are used for the procedure.
  4. Single port surgery – the entire operation is performed using one small incision.

Surgery for the large intestine (colon and rectum) may need to be performed for malignant diseases (for example colorectal cancer) or benign diseases (such as diverticular disease).

Laparoscopic surgery utilises a minimally invasive approach – the operation performed is the same as in conventional open surgery.

This is an excellent patient education video produced by Patient Education Institute ( It gives a very good overview of what colorectal surgery entails and the differences between open and laparoscopic colorectal surgery.

The procedure is performed under General Anaesthesia. Depending on the actual operation performed, the patient will need to stay in the hospital for about 3 to 7 days.

Regardless of the approach, the procedure performed remains the same as in conventional open surgery. In general, the affected part of the large intestine is removed, and the cut edges are joined back if it is possible. Some patients may require a stoma formation after this procedure. The stoma is usually temporary. This depends on several factors, which your surgeon will discuss with you.

Postoperatively, the patient is usually kept fasted overnight, and fluid intake is commenced the following day. The patient is gradually advanced to solid food, depending on the rate of bowel recovery.

There may be tubes left in the abdomen to remove excess fluid. There will usually be a tube that allows urine to drain out, as it is difficult for the patient to move around the first couple of days after surgery.

The patient will experience wound pain after surgery. This is much less compared to the pain experienced in open surgery, and will be controlled by strong pain relief medication. The patient will be encouraged to ambulate as soon as possible, preferably on the day after surgery.

Upon discharge, the patient will be able to take solid food, and is able to ambulate well. If there is a stoma created, the patient and care-givers will be instructed on stoma care and the use of stomal appliances.

The general risks of this operation are:

  1. Risks of General Anaesthesia
  2. Heart attack or strain on the heart
  3. Stroke
  4. Infection in the lungs
  5. Infection in the urine
  6. Wound infection
  7. Blood clots in the lungs (Pulmonary Embolism)
  8. Blood clots in the deep veins of the legs (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

The specific risks of this operation are:

  1. Poor healing or breakdown of the intestine that has been joined together (Anastomotic Leak)
  2. Pelvic abscess
  3. Increased bowel frequency


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