Anterior section

AbdomioPeriNEAL resection  /  Rectal cancer surgery

A high or lower procedure to treat cancer of the rectum

What is an anterior resection?

If you are diagnosed with rectal cancer, and it is not too close to the sphincter, your consultant may recommend an anterior section. It involves removing the affected part of the rectum and sometimes part of the sigmoid colon, and then reattaching them.

A lower anterior resection involves surgical treatment of tumours in the upper part of the rectum

A high anterior resection may involve the removal of the sigmoid colon, the upper rectum and a variable portion of the left colon. 

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    This procedure is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, meaning you'll be asleep, and may be carried out as keyhole or open surgery. Your surgeon will remove the cancer and a small amount of tissue around it. They will then attach the rectum back to the sigmoid colon, and this join is known as the anastamosis. To allow the anastamosis to heal, your consultant may wish to divert faeces away from the area during your initial recovery. They can create a stoma, re-routing part of the colon to an opening on your abdomen. A second operation will then be needed to close the stoma, known as a stoma reversal, around eight weeks later.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will tell you how to prepare for the procedure, answer any questions you may have, and discuss any possible risks and side effects involved. Your multidisciplinary team may advise another type of treatment before you have this surgery, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, to try and reduce the size of the tumour first. If you need general anaesthetic, they will advise you on how long you should avoid eating and drinking beforehand.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your procedure, your consultant will let you know how successful the cancer removal was, and what the next steps will be in your treatment. You should eat a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables with plenty of fluids. Your appetite may take a few weeks to recover fully. If your procedure involved creating a stoma, you'll be given specialist advice on how to care for this until you have the operation to reverse it.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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