OverviewThere are many conditions that affect the colon and rectum, ranging from common to rare or life threatening. Learn about many of these colorectal conditions below and the procedures and surgeries used to treat them.
Conditions We Treat
Crohn’s disease is an chronic inflammatory bowel disease causing inflammation to occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, most commonly at the end of the small intestine. Crohn’s can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia and fatigue. While there is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease, medications can slow down the progression of the disease and lessen the side effects. It is important for people with Crohn’s disease to manage this disease closely with their doctor and receive regular screenings for colorectal cancer due to their heightened risk.
Diverticulitis occurs when infected pouches form in the wall of the colon. While the exact cause of diverticulitis is unknown, a low-fiber diet is thought to play a part in the development of this disease. Diverticulitis can cause extreme pain, typically in the lower left side of the abdominal region and worsen with movement. Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and fever may all occur with diverticulitis. Treatment for diverticulitis is customized based on the severity of the disease and may include antibiotic medication, changes in diet, and potentially surgery. Prompt treatment of diverticulitis often provides relief within 2 to 3 days.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulcers and inflammation in the colon and rectum. The disease ranges from mild to severe and the cause is unknown. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, abdominal pain and rectal bleeding. Treatment recommendations vary by the severity of the disease but often include diet changes, medication, and sometimes even surgery.
Treatments We Offer
A colonoscopy is an endoscopic exam, during which a long, flexible tube is inserted into the rectum. The tube allows your doctor to view the inside of the colon, and if needed, remove polyps or abnormal tissue. Also called a coloscopy, the exam can help identify problems in the intestine, like abdominal pain or blood in stool, and screen for colon cancer. If you’re age 50 or older, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years, or sometimes more frequently.
Fistulotomy is surgical procedure used to relieve an anal fistula by opening it. It is an outpatient procedure that typically takes around an hour. Full recovery from a fistulotomy can take 3-12 weeks but the first week is the most restrictive and includes rest, avoiding strenuous activities, keeping the would clean to allow it to heal from the inside out. It is normal to experience some cramping and pain following the procedure and your doctor may provide a stool softener to help ease any discomfort.
Rubber band ligation, or hemorrhoid banding, is an in-office procedure performed by a doctor to treat internal hemorrhoids.
A hemorrhoidectomy is the surgical removal of severe internal and external hemorrhoids. During the surgery, a doctor will close the swollen vein and remove the hemorrhoids with a scalpel, cauterization tool or laser. Hemorrhoidectomies are typically performed outpatient and do not require a hospital stay.
Lateral Internal Sphincterotomy
A lateral internal sphincterotomy is an operation used to treat chronic anal fissures. This procedure helps improve blood supply and heals fissures by lowering the resting pressure of the internal anal sphincter.
A partial colectomy, also commonly referred to as a bowel resection, is a major surgery to remove a part of the bowel. During a partial colectomy, a surgeon will detach a patient’s large intestine from their surrounding organs and tissues, remove the diseased part of the bowel, and then reconnect the healthy ends of the intestine. Partial colectomies are recommended to remove the damaged part of the bowel caused by cancer, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, blockage or severe bleeding.
The removal of a polyp from inside the colon is referred to as a polypectomy. Polypectomies are non-invasive and usually done during a colonoscopy if a polyp is found. For smaller polyps, a snare polypectomy is utilized to cut the polyp out with a thin wire and then cauterizing the spot where the polyp was found. For larger polyps or polyps located in more challenging spots, endoscopic resection techniques can be utilized by injecting the polyp with fluid and removing the polyp all in one piece. Once the polyp is removed during a polypectomy, it is sent to a lab to test the cells.
Rectal Exam (DRE)
A rectal exam, also called digital rectal exam or DRE, is a physical exam in which a doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for growths or abnormalities. Rectal exams are performed on both men and women to check on several symptoms, including blood in stool, pelvic pain or change in urination or bowel movements.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment blood vessels where medicine is injected into the vessels, causing them to shrink. It is commonly used to treat hemorrhoids by injecting the solution into the hemorrhoid tissue to cut off blood flow. This will cause the hemorrhoid to scar and shrink and eventually fall off. For some cases, this may need to be repeated every few weeks until the hemorrhoids are completely gone.
A total colectomy is a major surgery to remove the entire large intestine and connect the small intestine to the rectum. With a total colectomy patients should expect to receiving inpatient care for 3 to 7 days, but will recover fully over time and be able to participate normal activities. Total colectomies are recommended to remove damaged bowels caused by cancer, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, blockage or severe bleeding.
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