Rectal Cancer Patients Benefit from Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Houston colorectal surgeons report new results at meeting of American College of Colon & Rectal Surgeons

A group of Houston colorectal surgeons have conducted one of the largest studies to date of the patient benefits of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer, leaving behind no markers for cancer. Some 100 consecutive surgical cases were analyzed and the results reported at the international meeting of the American College of Colon & Rectal Surgeons in June.

A minimally invasive laparoscopic approach to colon and rectal surgery offers significant advantages that change the patient's experience of surgery and recovery, according to Eric Haas, MD, of Colorectal Surgical Associates in Houston. "In our surgical cases, we use a digital camera and specialized instruments, allowing us to use a dime-sized incision," says Dr. Haas. "The patient benefits from a shorter hospital stay, a smaller scar, and quicker recovery."

In the study conducted by CSA, the average hospital stay was four days compared to nine days with traditional surgery. Patients were mobile, walking, eating and drinking within days of surgery. Additionally, the surgeons studied the lymph nodes which were removed and found they were able to extract more than with traditional surgery, leaving the patients with no trace of cancer.

"The issue of lymph node removal in cancer treatment has been well documented," says Dr. Haas. "When a surgeon removes a segment of the patient's colon, it is essential to remove the lymph nodes as well. At least 12 lymph nodes must be removed to prevent recurrence and we were able to remove an average of 15, exceeding the standard set by traditional open surgery."

The patient also benefits from a minimally invasive approach because it avoids the need for a permanent colostomy. "The patient has a better quality of life after MIS," according to T. Bartley Pickron, a colorectal surgeon with CSA. "This type of surgery requires expert surgeons trained in this specialized technique."

Drs. Haas and Pickron as well as Dr. Anne Le - their newest partner - have chosen to focus on the minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery technique. "We are committed to providing the newest technology and recovery benefits to our patients," says Dr Haas, who also serves as the program director of Minimally Invasive Colon and Rectal Surgery at The University of Texas at Houston.

Contact Colorectal Surgical Associates for more information on minimally invasive laparoscopic colon surgery at http://www.houstoncolon.com or call 713-790-0600.

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VICKIE ALLEMAN
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