Natural Orifice Approaches for the Treatment of Early-Stage Rectal Cancer and Rectum Polyps



UW Health surgeons at UW Hospital and Clinics utilize natural orifice approaches in the treatment of early-stage rectal cancer and the removal of benign polyps of the rectum. Natural orifice approaches are a new frontier in surgery which avoids all external incisions and are thereby "scarless."


In natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES), the surgeon uses the natural entrances of the body (mouth, urethra, anus or vagina) and makes an internal incision into the area that requires surgery. This technique foregoes an external incision, which may damage the skin, nerves and muscles. For this reason, patients recover sooner with fewer complications post-operatively, including a decreased risk of wound infection and the formation of an incisional hernia.


In the case of rectal cancer, surgeons may perform a natural orifice specimen extraction (NOSE) if the cancer is still in the early stages or if only benign polyps are present in the rectum. The surgeon will remove polyps with an endoscope or through a transanal port and send them to the lab to be examined. This examination will determine whether or not the polyps are cancerous and if further intervention is needed.