Colorectal Cancer Surgery
With one of the nation's busiest colon and rectal practices, our surgeons have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating all forms of colorectal cancer. Our expert surgeons use the most effective procedures to treat you while taking your lifestyle, overall health, and personal needs into account. We work in conjunction with other specialists within the Mount Sinai Health System to create a customized treatment program that, in addition to surgery, may include radiation therapy and chemotherapy, as needed.
How much of the colon or rectum we will remove surgically depends on the where the cancer is located and how far it may have spread into the wall of the bowel. Mount Sinai surgeons remove the cancer and reconstruct the bowel by connecting the remaining healthy intestine. In most cases, normal function of the bowel returns within a few months; in other cases of colon and rectal cancer, it may have already spread to other organs, so our surgeons work closely with surgeons across other specialties. We also work collaboratively with your primary care provider and medical oncologist to create an integrated care plan that we tailor to your lifestyle and diagnosis.
About Colorectal Cancer
The colon and rectum are two parts of the large intestine: the rectum is the last five inches of the large bowel that leads to the anus; the colon is about three to four feet in length and runs from the small intestine to the rectum. The vast majority of colorectal cancers start as benign polyps that develop from the inner lining of the large bowel.
Periodic colonoscopies are the most common way that we diagnose colorectal cancers. A colonoscopy is an exam that views the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, using a tool called a colonoscope, a small camera attached to a flexible tube that reaches the length of the colon. If during a colonoscopy, your doctor finds benign polyps (non-cancerous growths) before they have the opportunity to develop into a cancer, your doctor will remove the polyps during your colonoscopy.
Surgery is the most common treatment for colon and rectal cancers because of its proven effectiveness. The surgeons at Mount Sinai traditionally use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible, which not only treat the cancer, but also help restore regular function of your colon and rectum.
Procedures We Perform
Our surgeons have extensive experience in a variety of the following colon and rectal procedures:
- Local excision of rectal cancer and polyps—an instrument is inserted into the rectum to remove the tumor without the need for an abdominal operation. This procedure may be appropriate for rectal cancers found at an early stage.
- Colectomy—removes the part of the colon with the tumor and nearby tissues containing lymph nodes; frequently performed with minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopy), which allow for less pain and faster recovery.
- Low anterior resection—removes the rectum and part of the colon; often performed after radiation and chemotherapy treatment and commonly used to treat advanced rectal cancer. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the rectum and attaches it to the colon just above the sphincter muscles.
The goal of your colorectal surgeon is to remove your tumor and return you to your normal lifestyle as safely and quickly as possible. We perform procedures to treat and diagnose your colorectal cancers, such as:
- Robotic surgery—a method to perform surgery using very small tools attached to a robotic arm that the surgeon controls with a computer
- Laparoscopic surgery—minimally invasive or keyhole surgery performed through small incisions with next steps excision—uses instruments inserted through the anus, without making an opening in the skin of the abdomen
- Transanal minimally invasive surgery (TAMIS)—a scope is thread through the rectum to the site of the tumor
With a commitment to explore new ways to treat colorectal cancer, we participate in ongoing research in the form of clinical studies.