Laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery is a specialized technique that results in less pain, a shorter recovery and less scarring. The technique involves making several small incisions, or ports, where special instruments are passed through allowing a surgeon to watch detailed images of the abdomen on a high-resolution video monitor. The process is as safe as traditional open surgery and commonly used in our practice for intestinal surgeries.
Hemorrhoids are enlarged, bulging blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum. There are two types of hemorrhoids; external hemorrhoids are located under the skin surrounding the anus, and internal hemorrhoids are located within the lining inside the anal canal. Hemorrhoids can be a source of bleeding, swelling, itching, irritation, discharge, and moisture. Mild symptoms can be relieved by increasing dietary fiber and fluid intake.Warm water baths and over-the-counter medications also provide some relief. Use of steroid creams and/or suppositories for more than a few weeks is discouraged. Minor surgery may be required for more severe cases.
An anal fissure is a small tear or cut in the skin that lines the anus. Most acute fissures can be managed with non-operative treatments, like dieting for better digestive health, stool softeners, topical medications, and/or warm baths several times a day. More than 75 percent of patients will heal without surgery. When called for, surgical treatment of fissures is often simple and performed on an outpatient basis.
An anal abscess is an infected cavity filled with pus found near the anus or rectum, often the result of bacteria or foreign matter causing a small gland to become infected. The abscess is treated by opening the skin near the anus to drain the infected cavity. Depending on the case, this procedure can be done in the doctor’s office or the hospital. An anal abscess can go on to form an anal fistula (see below).
An anal fistula is typically the result of an abscess. It is a small tunnel that forms under the skin, connecting a previously infected anal gland to the skin outside the anus. This tunnel is the result of a lingering infection below the skin and patients usually notice swelling and/or discharge. Surgery is necessary to cure an anal fistula, mostly on an outpatient basis.
Incontinence is a common problem that involves the impaired ability to control gas or stool, mostly the result of injury to the anal muscles. It is important to determine the cause and severity of incontinence before treatment is addressed. Treatment of incontinence can range from dietary changes to pelvic floor physical therapy to surgical muscle repair. Newer treatment options include injection of bulking agents to thicken the anal canal and sacral nerve stimulation.
Rectal prolapse occurs when the lower end of the colon stretches and protrudes out of the anus. Some say that their rectum has “fallen out of their body.” Rectal prolapse is often associated with weakness of the anal sphincter muscle and other muscles of the deep pelvis. The condition can be painless, or it can be very uncomfortable. It is usually accompanied by rectal bleeding. Often times, patients have to physically push the prolapsed tissue back into their body. A variety of surgical treatment options are available based upon the size of the prolapse, a patient’s age, or the presence of other medical problems.
Colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a long, flexible instrument to examine the lining of the colon and rectum. The examination is a common procedure that is done on an outpatient basis with minimal inconvenience or discomfort. Regular colonoscopies are recommended for adults over age 50 as part of a colorectal cancer screening and prevention program. Due to family or personal history, some people are at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer and should undergo screening before turning 50. Speak with your primary care provider or schedule an appointment at CARES to discuss your risk for developing colorectal cancer and to determine the optimum time to begin colorectal cancer screening and prevention.