Also known as: colon removal, total colectomy, partial colectomy.

What is a colectomy?

Colectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of all or part of the colon. This may be necessary to prevent or treat severe diseases of the colon.

What happens during the procedure?

The precise nature of a colectomy will vary based on the severity of the condition. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and the colon or a portion of the colon is removed. This may be done with an open procedure or in a minimally invasive manner with a laparoscope. Then the remaining portions of intestine are stitched back together or to another opening in the body, and the incisions are closed.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient will typically need to avoid food, drink and certain medications prior to the procedures. The body will also need to be free of stool before the procedure. This is typically taken care of with a laxative or an enema.

What are the risk factors?

Bleeding, infection, injury to surrounding organs and tissues and blood clots are all potential risks of a colectomy.

Reviewed by: Juan L Calisto, MD

This page was last updated on: November 11, 2020 03:02 PM

Colorectal Center

Specialized treatment for children, adolescents and young adults with abnormalities affecting the colon, anus, rectum, urinary tract and genitals.

Learn more

Learn more about

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the intestine anywhere from mouth to anus to become inflamed, and/or ulcerated, causing it to lose its ability to absorb digested foods. Learn more

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), in which the inner lining of the large intestine ( colon ) and rectum become inflamed, on and off, causing symptoms, which come and go. Learn more


Laparoscopy refers to the use of a thin camera and instruments inserted through small incisions in the abdomen to perform operations that had been done with large incisions in the past. Learn more