Laporoscopic Surgery for Colon and Rectal Cancer

Related Information

Colon Cancer

Rectal Cancer

UW Health Colon and Rectal Surgery specialists in Madison, Wisconsin provide comprehensive evaluation and surgical treatment of diseases of the colon, rectum and anus.


Colon and Rectal Cancer Surgery


The surgical treatment of colon and rectal cancer historically requires a long incision down the middle of the abdomen. For the past several years, we have been offering our patients an alternative, called minimally-invasive or laparoscopic surgery.


About Laparoscopy


Laparoscopy requires the abdomen to be inflated with carbon dioxide. Small access ports are inserted. A telescope attached to a camera is inserted through the ports into the abdomen.


Instruments are passed through the ports and used to manipulate the small and large intestine. The part of the intestine affected with cancer is manipulated and released from its internal attachments. In most cases, the affected portion of bowel is brought out through a small incision around the naval.


Once outside of the abdomen, the piece of bowel afflicted with the cancer is removed, along with its lymphatic tissue, and sent to the pathology department for analysis. Some patients may be candidates for intestinal reattachment, which can be accomplished with a stapling device after the cancerous tissue has been removed.


Laparoscopic Surgery Safety


A laparoscopic operation is a safe for the treatment of cancer of the colon and is under investigation to be used for the treatment of cancer of the rectum. Nearly all patients are considered candidates for a laparoscopic operation and most will benefit from this approach.


While laparoscopic colon surgery does give a slightly improved cosmetic outcome, this is not the reason to consider the operation for most of our patients. In fact, research indicates that patients have a shorter postoperative length of stay, decreased risk for wound infections and less pain after the operation.


Who Should Not Have Laparoscopic Surgery


Despite clear benefits, a laparoscopic approach is not for everyone. Patients who are morbidly obese or have had multiple previous abdominal operations are risky candidates. Additionally, patients with locally advanced cancers (cancers that invade other structures like the pelvis, abdominal wall or other organs) are not candidates for a laparoscopic operation. Talk to your surgeon to determine if this approach is something that can be used in your case.


Watch: More About Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery


Blue video icon Who Should Have Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery? (YouTube)

Blue video icon Recovering from Minimally Invasive Surgery (YouTube)