At Premier Surgical Associates, we perform a number of surgical procedures to treat colorectal disorders. Our surgeons are certified by the American Board of Surgery and have specialized knowledge and skills relating to the diagnosis, pre-operative, operative, and post-operative management of surgical problems related to colorectal disease. Here are four common questions our patients ask:
- Why do I need surgery?
According to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, more than 600,000 surgical procedures are performed in the United States each year to treat a number of colon diseases. Patients undergo colon surgery for a number of conditions including: colorectal cancer, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), abscessed or infected anal glands, and more severe cases of hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Each patient is unique and each care plan is designed to address his or her unique condition.
In the case of colon cancer, surgery is often the first treatment, followed by chemotherapy, if needed. However, if a CT scan shows a metastatic disease, chemotherapy may be administered to shrink the cancer prior to surgery.
- What are the overall goals of colon surgery?
The primary goal of any colorectal surgical procedure is to restore the colon and rectum to healthy function so that the body’s digestive system can also function optimally. In the case of colon cancer, the goal is full removal of the cancerous cells. Premier Surgical Associates utilizes sphincter preservation techniques to ensure anal continence post surgery.
- What are the different types of colon surgery?
The type of surgery required depends on the stage and location of the abnormal growth.
Traditional “open” colon surgical procedures may require a single long abdominal incision.
However, less invasive surgical procedures are available to many patients facing colon surgery. The most common of these is laparoscopic surgery, in which smaller incisions are used. In most cases only 4 or 5 small openings are required to allow the insertion of tiny cannulas, or hollow tubes. A laparoscope, or a tiny camera, is inserted through these tubes the as well as other tools required in removing the diseased portion of the colon. In some cases, one of the incisions may be lengthened to a few inches to allow room for removal. The benefits of laparoscopic approach to surgery are faster recovery time and less pain compared with more a more traditional, or “open,” surgery.
A polypectomy is a laparoscopic procedure in which a microscopic scissor-like wire loop is used to remove a polyp through a long tube inserted through the rectum.
In some cases a colectomy procedure is required to remove part of the colon. A colectomy may be used to remove colon or rectal cancer or large polyps, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), or bleeding that cannot be stopped. The portion of the colon removed depends on the nature of the disease. The two healthy sections of the colon are then rejoined to complete the procedure.
- What can I expect after surgery?
Your physician will offer specific instructions for recovery following your procedure, but there are a few general expectations. For a traditional open colon surgery, which is more invasive, patients can expect to have a single long abdominal incision with a hospital recovery time of about a week. An additional 6 weeks of recovery may be required at home before resuming normal daily activities.
For less invasive procedures, patients are encouraged to begin walking the day after surgery and should be able to resume normal activities in one to two weeks. Your doctor will offer detailed instructions for recovery which you should follow as well as schedule and keep any follow up appointments.
Premier Surgical Associates strives to work cooperatively with your entire care team to ensure the most effective treatment allowing you the best possible outcomes and quality of life. To learn more about the board certified physicians of Premier Surgical Associates visit our website www.premiersurgical.com.