‘Hemicolectomy’ literally means removal of a half section of the colon, and a right hemicolectomy refers to the removal of a section of the colon on the right side of the body, which is the section that connects to the small intestine. The part of the colon that connects to the small intestine is called the ‘caecum’ - this is removed, along with the appendix (if it has not already been removed), and a join (anastomosis) is made between the remaining section of colon and the small intestine.
Sometimes it is also necessary to remove a section of the transverse colon which is the horizontal section that crosses the abdomen. In this case the procedure is called an ‘Extended Right Hemicolectomy’.
A right hemicolectomy may be necessary in the treatment of Crohn’s disease or to treat bowel cancer or remove non cancerous (benign) polyps.
The procedure can be carried out either as laparoscopic (keyhole) or conventional open surgery and is performed under general anaesthetic.
Other related medical terminology
Proctosigmoidectomy - removal of the sigmoid colon with part or all of the rectum.
Proctocolectomy - removal of the entire colon and the rectum.
Total Colectomy - removal of the entire colon.
Subtotal Colectomy - removal of a section of the colon, or all of the colon but without removing the rectum.