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Colon & Rectal Surgery

Colon and rectal surgical specialists diagnose and treat benign and malignant conditions of the colon, rectum, and anus, with surgical methods. Colorectal surgeons, a part of Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists, focus on the surgical management of colon and rectal cancer, using minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. A primary care physician, gastroenterologist, or medical oncologist may refer a patient to a colorectal surgeon for evaluation, staging, and surgery. Colon and rectal surgical procedures can include a diagnostic colonoscopy, cancerous tumor removal, or relief for non-cancerous conditions.

Surgical procedures, such as a biopsy or colonoscopy, may be conducted to diagnose and stage colorectal cancer. During a colonoscopy, a long flexible tube that is attached to a camera is inserted through the anus, allowing physicians to examine the internal lining of the colon and rectum for polyps or other abnormalities. The physician may perform a biopsy during a colonoscopy in order to collect samples of suspicious tissues or cells for closer examination. A colonoscopy is the preferred screening test for colon cancer. Colonoscopies can also be used for the removal of polyps.

Surgical treatment for colon and rectal cancers depends on the type, location, and size of the cancer and may be used as a primary treatment or in conjunction with other treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery may be done before or after other treatments. Conventional surgery for colon cancer (an open colectomy) involves creating a large opening in the abdomen to resect the cancer. Today’s advancements in surgical techniques offer many patients less invasive surgery options. For example, other surgical techniques, such as laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery, allows surgeons to do procedures by making only a few small incisions in the abdomen. The transanal surgical technique removes benign or non-advanced malignant polyps or a mass in the rectum via the anus, allowing the patient to avoid abdominal surgery. Colon and rectal surgeons may also use advanced surgical techniques, such as robotic surgery.

In addition to surgical removal of colorectal cancers, colon and rectal surgeons also treat many non-cancerous conditions, including diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, fistula, fissure, colostomy, ileostomy, and human papillomavirus (HPV) benign or premalignant lesions. They also perform anal Pap tests for prevention and surveillance of anal cancer. 

As a Texas Oncology patient, you have access to leading surgical specialists. If your colon and rectal cancer treatment plan calls for surgical procedures, you will have the advantage of your medical oncologist and radiation oncologist working closely with your surgical specialist. This teamwork brings you multiple opinions and coordinated treatment for your total well-being.

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