Colon and Rectal Surgery | Atrium Health (2024)

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Colon and Rectal Surgery | Atrium Health (1)

Safety and Appointment Updates

Whatever your medical needs are, we’re here for you – with COVID-Safe care. We’re setting the national standard with innovative safety measures, so you feel comfortable and confident each time you visit. See what we’re doing to keep you COVID-Safe.

To schedule an appointment, call your doctor’s office or 704-302-9234. We’ll help you decide if your next visit should be in person, by phone or a video chat.

Mobile video visits

Computer video visits

In a medical emergency, go to an emergency room or call 911 right away.

By visiting Atrium Health for surgery of the colon or rectum (also called colorectal surgery), you’ll get expert care from leading surgeons in the field. You can also expect a treatment plan designed specifically to give you the best possible quality of life after your procedure, helping you get back to what matters most.

With decades of experience and advanced training in minimally invasive techniques, our colon and rectal surgeons have a strong reputation for providing outstanding care for even the most complex conditions. We’ll work with you and your healthcare providers to answer questions and develop a personalized surgical solution that best meets your needs, and supports you and your family at every stage of your recovery.

Leading the way in colon and rectal surgery

Atrium Health offers patients innovative technologies only available in a few centers throughout the country, including transanal surgery to remove the rectum and the use of robotic technologies to perform reconstructive surgeries for cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.

Comprehensive, coordinated colon and rectal care

Our relationship with you extends far beyond the operating room. We pride ourselves on delivering personal, proactive service from your first consultation all the way through the completion of your care.

We’ll work closely with your healthcare providers and experts throughout Atrium Health to design the best treatment program for you. This close collaboration with primary care physicians, oncologists, gastroenterologists, proctologists and other specialists ensures you’ll have the comprehensive care and the support of your full healthcare team at every step along the way.

We also foster relationships with groups such as Charlotte’s Colon Cancer Support Network and Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to connect you with other patients and families for support and resources during and after your treatment.

Contact us

To learn more about colorectal surgery at Atrium Health, call a surgical specialist at 704-302-9233.

Colon and rectal conditions we treat

We offer tailored treatments for a wide range of conditions of the colon and rectum, including:

  • All types of colorectal cancer, including colon cancer, rectal cancer, anal cancer and presacral tumors
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Diverticulitis and diverticular disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Benign polyps
  • Appendicitis
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Anal fistula, anal fissure and hemorrhoids
  • Bowel obstruction and severe constipation
  • Fecal incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Injury to the anus

Your comfort is our priority

When you come to Atrium Health for colorectal care, you’ll benefit from the very best evidence-based practices both in the operating room and during your recovery.

Our goal is to help you return home and resume normal activities as soon as possible. Many surgeries of the anus or rectum, such as procedures to treat anal fistulas, anal fissures and hemorrhoids, can now be performed on an outpatient basis. For complex conditions such as colorectal cancer, we use a comprehensive evaluation process that includes MRI scans to find the treatments that will help you most – and help you avoid those you don’t need.

Advanced colorectal surgical techniques for a faster recovery

Our surgeons use advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques when appropriate to give you a fast recovery with less pain. These techniques typically involve threading a small tube with a tiny camera and other instruments to the surgical site via the anus or a small incision in the abdomen. In addition to allowing for a quicker recovery, minimally invasive surgery lowers your risk of developing procedure-related complications, both in the short term and years down the road.

When needed, we take every measure to preserve your natural bodily functions to the fullest extent possible. For example, patients with colorectal cancer may benefit from sphincter salvage techniques that can prevent the need for a stoma or colostomy bag.

An Introduction to Our Program

Learn more about our program and service offerings from 2 of our colorectal surgeons, Bradley Davis, MD, and Kevin Kasten, MD.


Colon and Rectal Surgery | Atrium Health (2024)


What are the long term side effects of colon surgery? ›

Changes to bowel function are among the potential long-term side effects of this type of surgery. The persistent diarrhea that your husband is experiencing is common. Additional symptoms can include dehydration, the production of excess gas and constipation.

What is the life expectancy after a colon resection? ›

The five-year relative survival rates for the open colectomy and National Cancer Data Base groups were 75 and 70 percent, respectively, for Stage I, 65 and 60 percent for Stage II, 46 and 44 percent for Stage III, and 11 and 7 percent for Stage IV.

What are the complications of colon and rectal surgery? ›

Possible problems after bowel cancer surgery include a leak where the surgeon has joined the ends of your colon together, or your bowel not working properly. Other risks include infection, blood clots and bleeding. Many problems are minor but some can be life threatening. Treating them as soon as possible is important.

What are the side effects of rectal resection surgery? ›

Problems during or shortly after the operation can include bleeding from the surgery, infections at the surgery site, and blood clots in the legs. When you wake up after surgery, you will have some pain and will need pain medicines for a few days.

How is life after colon surgery? ›

After colorectal surgery, your main job is to heal.

While specific post-surgery practices vary by individual, most patients will be able to eat, drink, and move around the first day after surgery. Movement is important after surgery to reduce things such as blood clots, fluid in your lungs or pneumonia.

Which complication is most likely to occur after a colon resection? ›

One of the most common problems after surgery is your bowel can shut down. It is called an ileus. This means food and gas have trouble passing through your intestines. If you do get an ileus, it usually lasts two to three days.

How long does it take to heal internally from a colon resection? ›

Recovery After Colon Resection Surgery

Colorectal Surgical Associates will instruct you when you can begin solid foods. Expect you will be sore at the incision(s) and weak for the first one to two weeks. It will take approximately six weeks for full recovery from colon resection surgery.

What are the changes after colon resection? ›

Surgery to the large bowel (colon)

Straight after surgery to remove part of your colon, your poo might be a bit looser and more frequent. But this usually settles down after a few weeks and medicines may help with some of the symptoms.

What is the best long-term diet after colon resection? ›

We recommend eating 6 times per day, or every 2 to 3 hours. Eat foods that are easy to swallow and digest. These usually consist of soft, moist foods such as soup, gelatin, pudding, and yogurt. Avoid gummy foods such as bread and tough meats, as well as spicy, fried, or gas-producing foods.

How much weight do you lose with colon surgery? ›

Before subtotal colectomy, the median body mass index decreased to 21.3 kg/m2, a reduction of 8.5%. One month after subtotal colectomy, the median body mass index was at its lowest level of 20.8 kg/m2, which represented a 10.7% decrease from the healthy weight.

Is colon surgery high risk? ›

Risks of bowel surgery

As with any major operation, surgery for bowel cancer has risks. These may include infection, bleeding, blood clots, damage to nearby organs, or leaking from the joins between the remaining parts of the bowel. After the operation, you will be carefully monitored for any complications.

What to expect after a colon rectal surgery? ›

It is normal to have some discomfort or pain at the surgical site for a few weeks after your surgery. The pain will vary with activity, but should decrease over time. Abdominal pain with mild cramps and bloating is also normal. This should improve slowly.

Why am I so tired after colon resection? ›

Fatigue is normal following surgery and should improve day after day as your body begins to heal itself. Some people have it worse than others due to age, health, and the type of surgery they had, but with time and proper care, most will be able to build up their strength and energy levels.

What not to do after rectal surgery? ›

Strenuous exercise, pushing, straining or heavy lifting is to be avoided for at least 4 weeks. One can drive when comfortable but prolonged driving is to be avoided. You will be seen in office one week after surgery. Call the office for an earlier appointment if you have excessive pain or fever.

How long do you have to stay on a low fiber diet after colon surgery? ›

For the first four to six weeks after bowel surgery, we recommend that you follow a lower fibre diet (also known as a lower residue diet). These foods are easier to digest while your bowel is healing. After this period, you should gradually reintroduce higher fibre foods one small item at a time.

How long does it take to fully recover from colon surgery? ›

Recovery and Outlook

Recovery at home takes up to six weeks. Many people get back to most of their usual routines within two weeks after surgery. Try to be extra gentle with yourself in the first few days after you get home. Getting up to walk around is good for you, but you may feel weak.

How much weight will I lose after colon resection? ›

Before subtotal colectomy, the median body mass index decreased to 21.3 kg/m2, a reduction of 8.5%. One month after subtotal colectomy, the median body mass index was at its lowest level of 20.8 kg/m2, which represented a 10.7% decrease from the healthy weight.

How serious is removing part of your colon? ›

Colectomy carries a risk of serious complications. Your risk of complications is based on your general health, the type of colectomy you undergo and the approach your surgeon uses to perform the operation. In general, complications of colectomy can include: Bleeding.

How do you know if your colon resection is leaking? ›

Clinical signs and symptoms of anastomotic leak include common, nonspecific markers of intra-abdominal inflammation and infection such as increasing abdominal pain, tachycardia, fever, tachypnea, and ileus. If an intraperitoneal drain has been placed, enteric, feculent, or purulent drain output is frequently noted.


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