What to Expect Prior to Surgery

Your surgeon and the team at UC Health will guide you each step of your journey through colon and rectal surgery. Our surgeons are committed to a multidisciplinary approach to your care, involving your primary care provider, oncologist, radiation oncologist, radiologist and home health services, as necessary.

Testing Before Surgery

Your surgeon will determine what tests you need to have done before surgery. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of your surgery, you may need:
• Visit with your anesthesiologist
• Blood work
• Chest x-ray
• Additional imaging

If you have a substantial amount of weight to lose prior to surgery, your surgeon may recommend a high protein, liquid diet for rapid weight loss prior to your colon and rectal surgery.

Colon Preparation

Depending on the type of surgery, your colon may need to be prepared. For rectal cancer surgery in which a diverting ileostomy (an opening in the abdominal wall used to move waste out of the body) is planned, you’ll need to prepare your colon and take oral antibitoics prior to surgery. In some other cases, you’ll administer an enema the night before and the day of surgery. For most other surgeries, however, a full colon prep is not required.

Staying Active Before Surgery

It’s also important to maintain a normal, robust level of physical activity leading up to the time of your surgery to facilitate “pre-conditioning.” The more active you are in the days and weeks before your colon and rectal surgery, the quicker your recovery time will be.

Additional Resources

These organizations may provide helpful information for patients facing colon and rectal surgery:
Colon Cancer Alliance 
Greater Cincinnati Ostomy Association 
American Cancer Society 
National Cancer Institute

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