This is an operation to remove the right side of the colon or part of it and usually part of the end of the small bowel. It is commonly performed for bowel cancer, other tumours, large polyps that cannot be removed at colonoscopy, and inflammatory conditions of the bowel, especially Crohn’s disease. Occasionally, appendicitis can be sufficiently damaging that it needs a right hemicolectomy to be performed.
It can be performed “open” with an incision in the abdominal wall or laparoscopically, commonly called “key hole surgery”.
After the end of the small bowel and the resected part of the right colon are removed, along with their blood supply, the two ends of bowel are joined together (anastomosed) with stitches or stapling devices.
It is uncommon to require a bag or stoma in association with a right hemicolectomy.
You will require some time in hospital following the surgery – 2-5 days after laparoscopic procedure and up to 7 days after an open procedure, depending on how soon after the surgery you are able to tolerate a diet and comfortable enough to move around. As with any major bowel resection, there are risks/complications – either specifically related to the bowel, either a leak or a bleed at the join (anastomosis), or generally related to an operation, such as wound infection, chest infection, leg and lung clots (deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary emboli). The surgery can also be associated with exacerbations of other medical conditions such as problems with your heart and lungs, diabetes, blood pressure and kidney problems.
It is important to discuss the specifics of your operation with your surgeon.