The colon is also known as the large intestine.  It attaches to the last portion of the small intestine and extends to the rectum.  The function of the colon is to form stool by removing water and other substances from digested food.  The remaining stool then moves through the colon to the rectum, where it is eliminated from the body.

There are four basic parts to the colon:


Ascending Colon – travels up the right side of the abdomen and includes the appendix

Transverse Colon – runs across the upper portion of the abdomen

Descending Colon – extends downward on the left side of the abdomen

Sigmoid Colon – short curved part of the colon that attaches to the rectum




Disease can strike any portion of the colon.  Some of the most common disorders and diseases of this organ include:


  • Bleeding of the colon
  • Colon cancer
  • Colon polyps
  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Diverticulitis
  • Diverticulosis
  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis



Treatment for diseases of the colon may vary from medication and lifestyle changes to surgical procedures.  At Missoula Surgical Associates, we offer a variety of options in colon surgery to treat a wide range of disorders and help patients achieve better health and a higher quality of life.  Colon surgery typically involves removal of the diseased portion of colon and reattaching the open ends to form a fully functioning colon once again.  There are a number of benefits colon surgery may provide:


  • Relief from painful, debilitating symptoms
  • Restored function of the colon
  • Necessary step in curing some diseases
  • Different techniques allow us to customize your procedure
  • Some techniques are much less invasive and involve shorter recovery



There are numerous options in colon surgery, depending on the area of the colon that requires treatment, the specific disease to be addressed and the patient’s previous medical history.  At Missoula Surgical Associates, we use the following techniques to perform colon surgery:


Laparoscopic Colon Surgery – This procedure utilizes specialized tools and an instrument known as a laparoscope to perform colon surgery through a number of tiny incisions.  A special camera is placed into the abdomen that allows the surgeon to see the surgical site without completely opening up the area.  Laparoscopic surgery results in less discomfort afterward and a shorter recovery period.  However, it is not recommended for all patients.


Robotic Colon Surgery – This revolutionary surgical technique takes advantage of a robotic system to improve the precision and control during colon surgery.  The team at Missoula Surgical Associates uses the da Vinci robotic system to remove portions of the colon with even less trauma to the body than laparoscopic procedures.  Specialized wristed instruments and 3D imaging allow for better vision and control throughout the surgery.


Open Colon Surgery – This traditional form of colon surgery is still the best option for some patients.  Open surgery requires a larger incision that allows the surgeon to see directly into the surgical site.  This procedure may be used when the entire colon must be removed or in cases where the amount of damage to the colon cannot be fully determined with other techniques.


Colon surgery is a major procedure that often involves a minimum of a one-night stay in the hospital and a few days to weeks of downtime after the procedure.  You want a surgeon for your procedure who is experienced in all types of colon surgery, thus ensures you have the best surgical techniques used to give you the greatest possible outcome.  To learn more about colon surgery options, contact the experienced team at Missoula Surgical Associates today at 406.542.7525.

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500 W Broadway
(5th Floor of the Broadway Building, attached to St. Patrick Hospital)

Missoula, MT 59802

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