Colorectal Surgery Offers
By Susan K. Williams
colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women and the
second leading cause of cancer death,” said Haas. “The benefits of
this technique over the traditional approach are significant, yet since
the end of the moratorium, only 20 percent of doctors across the U.S. are
performing it routinely.”
laparoscopic colon surgery was introduced approximately 12 years ago,
concerns about the success rate prompted a moratorium on the procedure.
Those concerns were put to rest following a decade-long study which
determined that success rates for laparoscopic and conventional approaches
implications of this study are of great importance for those with colon
cancer,” said Haas. “Whenever there is a choice to do a major
operation using minimally invasive techniques (or technology), we as
physicians owe it to our patients to let them know about it.”
performs the surgery with the LAP DISC, a ring-like device which allows
him to insert his hand inside the body through an incision no larger than
his glove size. Two smaller incisions are made for a miniature camera and
the laparoscopic instruments. He then guides the instruments with his
other hand from outside the body.
procedure offers several distinctive advantages. The incision is much
smaller than conventional surgery and the patient typically has a much
shorter recovery time, usually about three days. One day following the
procedure, the patient is walking and on oral pain medication. By the
third day, he or she is back to a regular diet and experiencing bowel
movements. Normal activity can be resumed in three to four weeks.
the laparoscopic procedure was developed, patients receiving conventional
surgery often received an incision that was at least one foot in length,
stayed in the hospital for up to a week and could not resume normal
activity for nearly two months.
smaller incision and reduced pain not only leads to quicker recovery,”
says Haas, “but, when appropriate, it also allows us to enroll patients
for chemotherapy much sooner following surgery.”
American Cancer Society’s national figures for 2005 estimate more than
145,000 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and of that number
more than 56,000 will die of the disease. In Texas alone, it was estimated
that more than 9,200 cases of the disease would be diagnosed with
approximately 3,500 resulting in death.
to the American Cancer Society, 90 percent of all colorectal cancer cases
and subsequent deaths are believed to be preventable. When the disease is
detected at an early stage, the five-year relative survival rate also is
invasive laparoscopic technique can now be offered to patients with a
variety of colorectal diseases such as diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis
and Crohn’s disease in addition to colon cancer.