‘Hemicolectomy’ literally means removal of a half section of the colon, and a left hemicolectomy refers to the removal of a section of the colon on the left side of the body. This is the ‘last’ section of the colon that connects with the rectum.
A left hemicolectomy may be necessary in the treatment of Crohn’s disease or Diverticular Disease, or to treat bowel cancer or remove non cancerous (benign) polyps.
The affected section of the colon is removed by the surgeon and a join (anastomosis) is made between the remaining section of colon and the rectum. Very occasionally it is also necessary to remove the rectum at the same time as the hemicolectomy is performed.
The procedure can be carried out either as laparoscopic (keyhole) or conventional open surgery and is performed under general anaesthetic. It normally takes under three hours to perform this procedure and requires a hospital stay of 5-7 days post operation.
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.