• Joel Bauer MD
  • Stephen Gorfine MD
  • David Chessin MD
  • Daniel Popowich MD

Laparoscopic Rectal Resection for Cancer

Laparoscopic Rectal Resection for Cancer

Manhattan Colorectal Surgeons

The rectum is continuous with the colon, and ends with the anus. Most cases of rectal cancer are asymptomatic and diagnosed by a colonoscopy. Symptoms may include rectal bleeding, pain, obstruction, and weight loss.

The cause is unknown, but most cases arise from growths in the colon’s lining. Once diagnosed, treatments include laparoscopic rectal resection which may include decreased postoperative pain and improved cosmesis. Depending on the stage of the cancer, preoperative chemotherapy and radiation and/or postoperative chemotherapy and radiation may be recommended.

To learn more about your treatment options, call Manhattan Surgical Associates at 646.798.4606.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The diagnosis for rectal cancer is often made using colonoscopy with biopsies which are submitted to a pathologist for evaluation. Colonoscopies are important in patients with a history of rectal cancer for surveillance of the colon for development of tumor recurrence. These studies are often utilized in the evaluation for evidence of metastatic disease and patients may also have an endorectal ultrasound, where a slender ultrasound probe is inserted through the anus into the rectum to evaluate the stage of the tumor.

The treatment of rectal cancer varies based upon the local and distant extent of tumor spread. It can include:

  • Preoperative chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumor and decrease the rate of local recurrence after surgery
  • If there is no spread beyond the primary site, treatment is removal of the colon
  • In selected patients with limited spread in the liver or lungs, removal of the involved colon along with the tumor in the liver or lungs may be feasible
  • If there is tumor spread beyond the primary tumor and it is not amenable to removal, surgery may not be recommended. In this situation, chemotherapy is often administered

Laparoscopic rectal resection for cancer is often performed to cure the disease or treat symptoms. Using the laparoscope your surgeon will remove the segment of colon with the tumor through several small incisions. In selected patients, laparoscopic colon resection may result in decreased pain, a shorter hospital stay, and improved cosmesis. It is performed in the hospital and you will be admitted following the procedure.

Preparation for Laparoscopic Rectal Resection

The night prior to the procedure, you will be instructed to take nothing to eat or drink after midnight. In addition, you will be prescribed a bowel preparation. The preparation should be taken as instructed.

You will receive general anesthesia and monitored at all times by an anesthesiologist.

The Operation

Small incisions are made in your abdomen and the rectum containing the cancer will be identified using the laparoscope. Using specially designed laparoscopic instruments, the segment of rectum with the cancer will be removed, and the two ends reconnected. This procedure is called a laparoscopic low anterior resection (LAR).

In some cases, when the tumor is very close to or involving the anal sphincters, a laparoscopic abdominoperineal resection (APR) may be performed. A laparoscopic APR involves removing the rectum and anus and creating a permanent colostomy. There are many factors that contribute to the decision of the type of resection performed for rectal cancer. Your surgeon will discuss the options for resection with you at the time of your consultation.

Postoperative Care

Following a laparoscopic rectal resection, you will be admitted to the hospital. You will receive pain medication and intravenous fluid. Once bowel function returns and have no signs of fever or other complications of the surgery, you will be discharged from the hospital. You will be given a prescription for pain medication.

For more information, contact our Manhattan colorectal surgeons online.

Contact Us

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