Hemicolectomy Recovery: A Brief Overview

A patient with hemiplegia (partial or total paralysis) may need to undergo hemicolectomy surgery. Hemi means blood and colecto means chest.

Colecto refers to the chest cavity. Hemi means heart, so a person having a complete heart block will require a colectomy operation. Hemiectomies are usually performed when there is no other option available to treat the condition.

The most common type of hemicolectomy involves removing part of the heart from outside the body. Other types include removing only a portion of the heart, or all of it.

There are many different types of hemicolectomies, but they have one thing in common – they remove part or all of your heart.

What Is Hemiectomies?

Hemiectomies are the removal of a portion of the heart. They are generally done to treat conditions such as:

Heart failure. Heart failure is a medical condition where the heart muscle does not function properly.

If left untreated, it can cause death due to cardiac arrest or stroke. A hemicolectomy removes part of your heart which helps keep your blood pressure up and oxygenated throughout your body while at rest.

Heart block. Heart block is a condition where your heart does not send an electrical signal to your heart muscle.

It prevents the atria and ventricles from pumping blood, so they must be removed.

Metabolic conditions. There are some congenital and metabolic disorders that manifest themselves in congenital cardiac conditions.

These include cardiomyopathy and arrythmias.

What Are the Types of Hemiectomies?

There are different types of hemicolectomies. The type performed will depend on the condition being treated, as well as an individual’s medical history. The most common types of hemicolectomies are:

Partial. A partial hemicolectomy removes part of your heart.

A partial left hemicolectomy removes part of your left atrium. This increases your blood pressure and helps improve heart failure.

Complete. A complete hemicolectomy removes your entire heart, including both the right and left atria and ventricles.

This is a rare procedure that is only performed in severe cases of heart block. It is a high-risk procedure with a low survival rate.

Ventricular assist devices are used to support the function of the heart until it heals.

The recovery process can take several months and requires a lot of rest.

Other types. There are other types of partial or complete hemicolectomies that are used to treat different heart conditions.

What Are the Benefits of a Complete Hemi?

A complete hemicolectomy is a very complex operation. It is only used if other treatments are not effective or possible. It is only used in the most severe cases of heart block.

The benefits of a complete hemicolectomy include:

Improved heart failure symptoms. The purpose of a complete hemicolectomy is to improve symptoms of heart failure.

These may include shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid build-up in your body.

Lessen need for medications. There is a possibility that a complete hemicolectomy will lessen or completely eliminate the need for certain heart medications.

What Are the Risks and Complications of a Complete Hemi?

A complete hemicolectomy is a high-risk, major surgery that should only be performed under the supervision of a highly skilled surgeon. The risks and complications of this procedure include, but are not limited to:

Failure to wake up from anesthesia.


Blood clots.


Heart attack.

Liver failure.

Kidney failure.


To learn more about the risks and complications of complete hemicolectomies, please see your surgeon. They will advise you on the risks based on your medical history and current condition.

How Much Does a Complete Hemi Cost?

The cost of a complete hemicolectomy will depend on many factors. These may include, but are not limited to:

Your location.

Physician’s fee.

Hospital fees.

Anesthesia fees.

Partial or complete nature of the procedure.

Other medical conditions or complications.

The cost of a complete hemicolectomy can range from $100,000 to over $200,000.

Some surgeons offer patient financing plans and will work with your insurance provider to cover the cost of the procedure.

In some cases, patients may be eligible to take part in clinical trials that are in development for complete hemicolectomies.

Is a Complete Hemi Right For You?

There are several factors that will determine if a complete hemicolectomy is right for you. These may include:

Your age. Elderly patients and young children usually are not considered good candidates for a complete hemicolectomy.

General health and past medical history. Past or current conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, could increase the risk of this major surgery.

Your symptoms and their severity. If other treatments for your heart block have not been successful, a complete hemicolectomy is more likely.

The severity of your heart block. You will need to discuss the risks and benefits of this procedure with your physician.

Your surgeon will advise you on if a complete hemicolectomy is right for you based on your medical history. This procedure is rarely used, so it is very important that you are honest about your symptoms and past medical history.

Complete Hemi vs. Other Heart Block Treatments

There are several treatment options for heart block, including a complete hemicolectomy. These treatments include:

Medications. Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to help regulate your heartbeat and improve your symptoms.

If your condition is stable and not life-threatening, medication may be enough to manage your symptoms. Medications can include anti-arrhythmics and beta-blockers.

Pacemakers. Pacemakers are small devices that are implanted into the body and help control an abnormal heartbeat by sending signals to ensure that the heart is beating at a normal rate.

Atrioventricular block (AV block). If the condition is not too severe, doctors may advise administering a hormone called betablockers by injection or pill.

The drug helps improve conduction within your heart and may reverse the condition.

Surgical management. There are several surgical procedures available to correct congenital heart block, including:

Complete or partial atrioventricular nodal (AVN) denervation. In this procedure, selective nerve fibers are destroyed in the heart’s AV node.

This causes the AV node to work properly without affecting other parts of the body.

Heart transplant. A heart transplant involves surgically placing a healthy heart from a donor into the patient.

This procedure may be an option for certain patients with serious heart block or end-stage heart failure.

Ablation. In this procedure, the fibers that are causing conduction problems in the heart are destroyed using a catheter.

This procedure is usually only used if you don’t respond to medications or if you develop complications from other treatments.

The type of treatment you need depends on:

Your overall health and medical history.

The severity of your condition.

How your condition is affecting your lifestyle.

The urgency of your condition.

The expected outcome of your treatment.

Your opinion or personal goals.

This is a complex decision and one you should discuss with your physician. Be sure to ask your physician if you have any questions about your condition, recommended treatments and prognosis.


A complete hemicolectomy is a very serious and complex surgery. The procedure involves removing part of your colon, small intestine and in some cases, parts of your stomach or pancreas.

A complete hemicolectomy is necessary when there is severe blockage in the ileum, or when the entire colon is blocked, as in the case of Hirschprung’s disease.

A complete hemicolectomy is a major operation and will require an extended hospital stay. You will be in the hospital for up to two weeks, followed by a three to six month recovery period at home.

During this time, you will need someone to help you with transportation and any other errands you may need assistance with. You should plan on being able to stay at home for this period of time.

Most people do not have health insurance that will cover the cost of the surgery. Costs can reach as much as $200,000 or more.

Many hospitals offer payment plans to reduce the financial impact of this procedure.

The surgery involves making an incision in your abdomen and removing part of your colon and intestines. This is a very invasive procedure and comes with many potential complications such as infection and damaging other organs or structures within your abdomen.

After surgery, you may experience complications such as:

A hole or rupture of the intestine

Reaction to the anesthesia


Blood clots


Wound infection or wound separation

Low blood count (anemia)

Pneumonia or other respiratory issues

Heart attack or stroke caused by the strain of surgery or anesthetic agents (in people with preexisting heart or circulation issues)

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a complete colon resection may lead to decreased absorption of some nutrients, including fat soluble vitamins. Some evidence has also suggested that bacteria living in the gut may have an important role in immune system development and maintenance.

While these claims are under further investigation, there is some evidence that certain probiotics or dietary changes may be able to mitigate any potential side effects of surgery.

Before the surgery, your surgeon will explain exactly what will happen, outline the reasons for the procedure and answer any questions you may have. You should write down any questions you have so that you remember to ask them during this meeting.

During the procedure, you will be given anesthesia and placed on a heart and lung machine to allow your body to rest. The surgeon will make a long cut just below your belly button and then another down the center of your abdomen.

The surgeon will then make a hole into your abdomen, which he will use to access your colon. All or part of your colon and your terminal ileum will be removed and the incision in your abdomen will be sewn up.

After the surgery, you will begin a recovery period of three to six months. During this time, you will require assistance with many of your daily activities.

You should plan on having someone around to help you for at least the first month.

Many people also have trouble with urinary incontinence for years after the surgery. This can be especially troubling for men as it may involve a loss of bladder control.

You should discuss what types of incontinence you may experience and how to manage it with your surgeon.

In some cases, people also experience changes in their dietary habits after surgery. Some people lose their desire to eat certain foods, while others can no longer tolerate certain textures, especially those involving cellulose.

Your surgeon may advise you to take dietary supplements such as probiotics or multivitamins to minimize any potential anemia or other nutritional complications.

Sources & references used in this article:

Single port access laparoscopic right hemicolectomy by P Bucher, F Pugin, P Morel – International journal of colorectal disease, 2008 – Springer

Laparoscopic-assisted right hemicolectomy by RT Schlinkert – Diseases of the colon & rectum, 1991 – Springer

Laparoscopic vs open hemicolectomy for colon cancer by E Lezoche, F Feliciotti, AM Paganini, M Guerrieri… – Surgical …, 2002 – Springer

Single-incision laparoscopic right hemicolectomy for a colon mass by AM Merchant, E Lin – Diseases of the colon & rectum, 2009 – journals.lww.com

Robotic assistance in right hemicolectomy: is there a role? by AL deSouza, LM Prasad, JJ Park… – Diseases of the colon …, 2010 – journals.lww.com

Curative resection for left colonic carcinoma: Hemicolectomy vs. segmental colectomy by F Rouffet, JM Hay, B Vacher, A Fingerhut… – Diseases of the Colon & …, 1994 – Springer

Laparoscopic versus open hemicolectomy. by E Lezoche, F Feliciotti, M Guerrieri, AM Paganini… – Minerva …, 2003 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov