Mostly the involved part of the colon is removed in case of colon cancer. Additionally, all lymph node stations that filter the tissue water that drains back to the heart and which can harbours potential metastases will be removed along with the main specimen (so called oncologically adequate resection). A minimum of 12 better more than 18 lymph nodes should be removed and investigated by the pathologist. The procedure is mostly done laparoscopically, but also open. Both techniques yield the same long-term results because the operation inside the body is the same just the access is different. After removal of the involved colon portion the last part of the small bowel or large bowel is connected to the rest of the colon downstream.
Possibilities of complications include the failure of anastomotic healing between the connected bowel loops. This is found in about 3% of the cases and can be dangerous if not treated promptly. Hospitalisation is usually between 5 and 8 days.