Minimally invasive colorectal surgery can treat a variety of diseases of the colon and rectum using small abdominal incisions and often providing superior outcomes than traditional open surgery in less time and with less discomfort for patients.
Minimally invasive colorectal operations have surged in popularity in recent years due to the benefits they provide and in some cases have surpassed the effectiveness and efficiency of conventional surgical methods. Many illnesses of the colon and rectum can be effectively treated with minimally invasive techniques including:
- Colon polyps
- Colon cancer
- Rectal prolapse
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis)
- Removing part or all of the colon or rectum, if deemed medically necessary
A variety of techniques are available to surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery including robotic and laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery uses a thin, tiny video camera (called a laparoscope) to observe and guide the surgical process and uses a variety of instruments to complete the operation. The official position of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) states: “Laparoscopic colectomy for curable cancer results in equivalent cancer-related survival to open colectomy when performed by experienced surgeons.”
Robotic surgery is gaining popularity primarily for colon and rectal operations because the robotic instruments are well suited to operating in the pelvis and other difficult areas where laparoscopic surgery is more difficult. Because it is a newer technique, there is less evidence available to compare the outcomes of robotic surgery with traditional open surgery or the more established minimally invasive techniques. Potential advantages include better visibility and greater ability to perform minimally invasive procedures on the rectum.
Dr. Patel has extensive training in minimally invasive colon surgery. During his fellowship at UAB, he had the privilege of training with Jamie Cannon, MD, a world-renowned leader in robotic colorectal surgery. Dr. Patel is excited to bring innovative, cutting-edge colorectal care to our local community.
The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery
Minimally invasive colorectal surgery involves smaller incisions and employs that latest state-of-the-art technology to achieve (often superior) outcomes to what was only possible in the past through more traditional, open methods.
The benefits of minimally invasive colorectal surgery include:
- Less discomfort following surgery
- Decreased scarring
- Lower infection rates
- Better cosmetic results
- Reduced blood loss
- Shorter hospital stays
- Faster recovery times and return to normal activities
Numerous studies have shown that surgeons who specialize in particular procedures attain the best results. Dr. Patel specializes in minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic treatment for diseases of the colon and rectum.
Not all patients are candidates for minimally invasive surgery. Specific factors need to be taken into consideration including:
- The reason for the operation
- Prior abdominal surgery
- Extreme obesity
- Other serious medical illnesses such as severe heart, vascular, or lung disease