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
9 Comments
Contributor
Geez Ben, No belly button, checked for leaks, filled inside and out with metal - there must be some cool name for you 🙂 You're gonna have a pretty cool scar too - hope you've got a good story worked out for it.
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Contributor
Hi Ben, I'd love to be there when you try to explain that one at the airport!
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Frequent Contributor
Wow you counted the staples! I was too scared to count the clips on my partner's head from his brain surgery. There were too many of them and even his GP was too scared to remove them for him.
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Regular Contributor
You win. I only had 33 staples. Yes, I too counted them as the student nurse gently removed them. I've never asked about the inside. Just assumed that the plumbing was done with normal sutures. There you go, you learn something every day. Yes Ben, they needed plenty of room for me as well as they weren't sure what the Hell they were going to find as my bowel had completely shut down and they were very concerned about the bowel rupturing/perforating. Then it would have been all over red rover! I often thenk the stars for modern medicine and quick thinking on-call surgeons. Yes, I have a "good" scar - lucky my bikini days have been over for a long time. Does get a little itchy at times. S
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Occasional Contributor
Hi Samez, so the itch sticks around hey? How long ago was your surgery? I'm not using my J pouch yet because of a stoma, the surgeons told me the pouch gives you 10 mins of storage time before things start to move whether you like it or not. Is that your experience? Ben
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Occasional Contributor
Hi Samex, so the itch sticks around hey? How long ago was your surgery? I'm not using my J pouch yet because of a stoma, the surgeons told me the pouch gives you 10 mins of storage time before things start to move whether you like it or not. Is that your experience? Ben
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Contributor
Hi Ben I have just read what you have written, im not sure how many staples i have etc but i know there is a few up there from a Scan done and the dr pointing them out! I have a J Pouch and its all good, i had a stoma for 9 months, had the reversal done in June and i am finding everything to be fine, i had heard lots of horror stories about the reversal etc and people not making it to the toilet but i havent had any dramas, and finding that as time gets by i am feeling more settled in the tummy. Hopefully when you are reversed yours works the same. All the best Stacey
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Regular Contributor
Hi, fortunately I didn't need a puch or a stoma - just the plumbing.My surgery was 4 years ago. I have found that since chemo, my skin in gneral is much more sensitive, perhaps as a result of the residual neuropathy, and so at times my scar does get itchy. As I often say about the neuropathy and the other parts of chemo that have decided to stick around- at least I am here to feel them.
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Occasional Contributor
"At least I am here to feel them." That is one of the best phrases I have ever heard. There has to be a t-shirt in a phrase that good. "Chemo killed my nerves. At least I am here to feel it." "Cancer took my colon. At least I am still here to poo."
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