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What is a laparoscopic total abdominal colectomy?

A laparoscopic total abdominal colectomy is an operation that removes the large intestine. (See figure 1) The surgery is used to treat:

Fig 1: Total abdominal colectomy removes all of the large intestine (area shaded in diagonal lines).

  • Inflammatory conditions of the intestine, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Familial polyposis, an inherited (hereditary) condition in which hundreds to thousands of polyps (small growths) form throughout the entire length of the large intestine.
  • Severe, chronic constipation.

The term "laparoscopic" refers to a type of surgery called laparoscopy. Laparoscopy enables the surgeon to complete the surgery through very small "keyhole" incisions in the abdomen. A laparoscope, a small, telescope-like instrument, is placed through a small incision near the navel.