Surgery to remove rectal tumors most often requires an abdominal incision. However, patients with certain early stage rectal cancers or benign rectal polyps may be eligible for an alternative treatment that requires no surgical incision and only a one night hospital stay.
Colorectal surgeon Rebekah S. Kim, MD performs Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM), a groundbreaking colorectal surgery that is offered at only about 50 locations in the U.S. including Virginia Hospital Center. Performed under general anesthesia, TEM is a relatively painless method of removing abnormal rectal growths. Dissolvable suture and metal clips are either absorbed or expelled from the body naturally, so there is no need for follow-up suture removal.
Warning signs for colorectal disease include rectal bleeding, weight loss, a change in bowel habits or stool size and abdominal pain. One 72-year-old patient came to Colorectal Surgery after experiencing a rectal protrusion, which the patient mistook for a hemorrhoid. A colonoscopy revealed a large benign rectal polyp. He underwent TEM to remove the polyp, which was the size of a grapefruit. “I was out of the hospital the next day and back to normal right after that,” he says.
Because certain individuals are genetically predisposed to colorectal disease, knowing your family history is important. Colonoscopy remains the gold standard for the early detection of colorectal tumors.