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Diagnosed with ruptured colon after colon cancer surgery. What treatment should be done?

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Gastroenterologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 1989
Answered : 883 Questions
Hello. My sister who is a healthy 73 year old underwent colon cancer surgery 2 weeks ago. The surgery was successful in removing the cancer which was determined to be contained and had not spread to her lymph nodes. Sunday, 10/30/12, she had a setback just she was to be relesed to go home. On Sunday evening about 4pm, she stated she felt what she described as a ballon popping in her stomach. The doctors determined that she has a ruptured colon at the site of the colon surgical repair.A bowel movement was present in the colon at the time of the rupture. So, feces is likely present in her abdomen. They did not advise emergency surgeryand instead want to have her go to a convalescent facility and be treated with antibiotics for 2 months. I feel that emergency surgery should have been performed to remove the feces from her abdomen so as to avoid septicemia from developing and poisoning her body. I would hate for my sister to survive post-op blood poisoning because feces was allowed to remain and cause septicemia. I would like your opinion on this serious health matter. i feel that time may be running out if emergency surgery is necessary. Kervin.
Posted Wed, 24 Oct 2012 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Ketan Vagholkar 5 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
The presence of a leaked repair can be diagnosed by clinical examination supported by radiological investigations. Once diagnosed and confirmed immediate steps need to be taken to prevent the spread of fecal organisms. If the attending surgeons feel that the problem is not a leak then conservative measures will suffice. But it is always safe to confirm the exact problem. allowing the spread of infection can prove to be disastrous. If your sister was on full diet then a contrast enhanced Ct scan will confirm the diagnosis.
I hope this answers your querry.
With regards
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