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Left hemicolectomy

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A left hemicolectomy is used to treat unobstructed carcinoma of the splenic flexure or descending colon, or more rarely for widespread diverticulitis.

The left side of the colon is mobilised and the growth resected. An end-to-end anastomosis is performed. The more common radical left hemicolectomy involves regional lymph node clearance followed by the anastomosis of transverse colon to rectosigmoid colon.

If done as an emergency, the bowel ends may be brought out as a left iliac colostomy and closed later. If a stoma is to be fashioned electively, the patient must have full explanation and counselling.

The operation is done under general anaesthetic. The patient will be in hospital for 7-10 days and off work for 6 weeks.

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