The sigmoid colon is the "S" shaped part of the colon which loops down into the top of the pelvis to become the rectum.
Diverticular diseaes is the most common problem to found in the sigmoid colon and this is the most common reason for surgery in this part of the bowel. Cancers do occur in the sigmoid colon but this is less common than in other parts of the bowel. About 12.5% of cancers occur in the sigmoid colon.
The operation to remove the sigmoid colon is called a sigmoid colectomy. This may be perfomed by open or Laparoscopic surgery.
After the section of sigmoid colon has been removed the bowel is repaired using special devices which staple the cut ends back together. This is called a stapled anastomosis.
This operation may be performed as an emergency if the bowel, damaged by diverticular disease, has begun to leak. In this case the cut ends of the bowel will be closed off. The rectal end left in the abdomen and the colonic end brought out onto the skin as stoma this form of stoma is called a colostomy.
This operation is called a Hartmann's procedure. The Hartmann procedure is a safe way to deal with leakage from the bowel and may be reversed when all signs of infection have settled.