At Valley, we understand how much colon and rectal conditions can affect your overall well-being and quality of life. While some conditions can be treated with medications, colorectal surgery can also be part of an effective treatment plan.
We offer the latest, often minimally invasive, procedures for colon cancer and rectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids and other colorectal conditions.
Each year, Valley’s board-certified colorectal surgeons perform more than 200 colorectal surgeries. They’re also among a small number of surgeons with board certification in both colorectal surgery and general surgery.
With this level of expertise and additional training, Valley colorectal surgeons specialize in both common and the most complex surgeries.
Colorectal Surgery at Valley
Valley colorectal surgeons have expertise in the latest techniques, including robotic surgery and laparoscopy, for the following conditions:
- Colon cancer and rectal cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Anal fissure
- Anal fistula
- Fecal incontinence
Our colorectal surgeons do everything they can to avoid the chance of patients needing a permanent colostomy after surgery. (A colostomy is a temporary or permanent opening of the intestine that diverts stool into a collection bag.)
This includes performing sphincter-sparing surgery and collaborating with other specialists to incorporate nonsurgical treatments before surgery.
Colon Cancer Surgery
Surgery is typically the main treatment for colon cancer. Whether and when you need surgery depends on many factors, including the cancer’s size and location.
- Surgery to remove the cancer: If you have early colon cancer, your colorectal surgeon may remove just the cancer. When the cancer is more advanced, colon cancer surgery includes removing the cancer, the nearby part of the colon and surrounding tissue including lymph nodes. This is a procedure called a partial colectomy.
- Additional treatment: Your colorectal surgeon will work with your colon cancer care team to determine if and when you’ll need chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These therapies can often shrink the tumor before surgery and reduce the risk of the cancer returning after surgery.
Rectal Cancer Surgery
For rectal cancer, you’ll typically have surgery after other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These therapies can shrink the cancer before surgery — which can help make the surgery more successful.
- Removing part or all of the rectum: Rectal cancer surgery can include removing part or all of your rectum (called proctectomy).
- Sphincter-sparing surgery: If the cancer has spread, you may need a more involved surgery to remove the rectum, anus and tissues surrounding them. Our providers specialize in sphincter-sparing surgery, which helps preserve your function and decreases the risk for permanent colostomy.
- Nonsurgical therapy: With chemotherapy and radiation therapy and/or immunotherapy, some patients may not require surgery at all. In these cases, your care team will closely monitor you with regular imaging and examinations.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Surgery
While medication is typically the first option for treating Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, sometimes colorectal surgery is necessary.
Colorectal surgeons at Valley will work closely with your gastroenterologist to determine if colorectal surgery is right for you.
- For ulcerative colitis that does not improve with medical therapy, colorectal surgeons can remove the colon and rectum. They will then perform an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis procedure. This surgery creates a new way to pass stool without the patient needing a permanent colostomy.
- For Crohn’s disease, colorectal surgeons can perform surgeries to treat your symptoms and improve the overall health and function of your digestive system. This could include strictureplasty to address blockages in your intestines, fistula removal if medications aren’t helping, or colectomy to remove your colon.
Surgery for Anal and Rectal Conditions
- Hemorrhoids, anal fissure and anal fistula: Colorectal surgeons can treat hemorrhoids, fissures and fistulas that are not responding to medical therapies. Whenever possible, they will use minimally invasive and robotic techniques that provide relief while minimizing side effects like incontinence and bleeding.
- Fecal incontinence: Fecal incontinence is not something you have to live with. Valley offers innovative treatments to help you regain control of your bowel movements. One option is sphincteroplasty, a procedure that repairs the sphincter muscle to help improve function and continence.
We also offer sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence. Colorectal surgeons implant a device into the rectum to help stimulate the sacral nerve. The sacral nerve is responsible for communication between your brain and your sphincter muscles. When that nerve is stimulated, it helps you regain control of your bowel movements.
Support Throughout Treatment
Colorectal conditions and surgery to treat them can make day-to-day tasks like eating and going to the bathroom challenging.
Our supportive team will help you through both the emotional and physical challenges with nutrition counseling, psychosocial support and compassionate nursing care.
Why Choose Valley for Colorectal Surgery
- Colorectal cancer prevention and diagnosis: Screening for and early detection of colon cancer and rectal cancer starts with colonoscopy. We perform about 2,500 colonoscopies every year. This level of expertise helps identify early cancers and remove colon and rectal polyps that may develop into cancer.
- Expertise in minimally invasive colorectal surgery: Whenever possible, colorectal surgeons at Valley will take a minimally invasive approach to colorectal surgery. This allows for a faster recovery, fewer days in the hospital and less pain after surgery.
- Coordinated care: Our colorectal surgeons work closely with other Valley specialists on your care team. For instance, if you need chemotherapy after colon cancer surgery, they’ll coordinate your care with your medical oncologist.
- Personalized follow-up care: Depending on the type of colorectal surgery you have your recovery can range from one to two weeks to several months. After colorectal surgery, your care team will walk you through what to expect — and they’ll help you manage your care. When needed, our dedicated stoma nurses will help you manage stomas and offer guidance and support.
- Genetic testing for colorectal conditions: Some colon and rectal cancer, can be caused by an inherited genetic mutation. We offer genetic testing and counseling for patients with colon cancer and patients who have a family history of it. We’ll discuss risk reduction with you and can provide management of genetic syndromes.