News Center

Monday, September 15, 2008

Microsurgery offers incisionless treatment of colorectal cancers, polyps

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – A novel, less-risky procedure to surgically remove early cancers is now being used by surgeons at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville. The surgery removes low rectal to low sigmoid colon polyps and early cancers of the rectum and low sigmoid colon.

It’s called transanal endoscopic miscrosurgery (TEM), a technique developed in Germany two decades ago that recently was introduced in the United States. Colon and rectal surgeons undergo specialized training to perform the surgery, and hospitals must have advanced equipment to offer TEM.

St. Francis is one of only three hospitals in central Indiana to offer the procedure.
Because of their location, even some early cancers and polyps have required more extensive surgery and possibly a colostomy or temporary ileostomy. Both of those procedures often involve creating an opening whereby bodily wastes pass into an external pouch stuck to the skin.

With TEM, the polyps and cancers are removed with less-invasive laparoscopic procedures, avoiding longer and more risky surgery, as well as their accompanying pain and complications.

"TEM has proven to offer the same outcomes and survival benefit that major colon and rectal surgery does for select patients with rectal and low sigmoid tumors and polyps," said Bridget Sanders, M.D., a surgeon at Kendrick Regional Center for Colon and Rectal Care at St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville. "Most patients can go home the same day or early the next after TEM, where standard surgery usually requires up to a 10-day stay."

Dr. Sanders and Dipen Maun, M.D., also with the center, are two of only six surgeons in central Indiana performing this surgery.

While TEM today is intended for patients with early cancers, some patients with more advanced rectal cancer can be enrolled in national oncology trials that use the less-invasive TEM procedure, Dr. Sanders said.