My ultra low anterior resection was an 'open surgery' because the surgeons needed a good look and lots of light, a better look and more light than if it had been laparoscopic.
Laparoscopic versions of my surgery leave you with four small holes and a small cut near the pubic bone where the actual tumour and colon is pulled out.
My open surgery left me with a 33 cm incision and 47 staples. Oh, and I lost my belly button because the incision went right through it, rendering any 'button' unrecognisable.
Staples are usually made of titanium mixed with a bit of nickel.
Staples were also used inside me to join healthy colon and rectum back together. Joining two tunnels back together is slightly tricky and was done by inserting a circular stapler up my bot bot. Circular staplers consist of two parts - the anvil and shaft. A circular stapler looks like a weapon in Star Trek.
Joining colon and rectum is as easy as 1, 2, 3
1. Put anvil in colon, make a J pouch out of healthy colon and then poke the anvil out.
2. Poke the shaft of the stapler through the rectum (entering the rectum via the anus) and attach to anvil.
3. Start stapling. A knife in the stapler cuts away excess tissue and staples at the same time so you are left with an open and clean tunnel.
Looking for leaks
Once the anvil and shaft are pulled out (via the same way it went in, the bot bot) the new join is tested for leaks. This is done in the same way you test a bicycle tire for leaks - water and air. The area outside the join is filled with fluid and air is pumped into the colo-rectum. Bubbles coming out of the colon mean a small hole is present.
The join is also tested by injecting dye inside the colon (again, via the bot bot) and watching for leaks outside the colon.
Unlike the 47 staples used to close my abdomen, the staples inside my colon will stay there for the rest of my life. I can't wait for my next x-ray.
See the original post with pictures here
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.