Colorectal Diseases

Understanding Colorectal Diseases and the Role of the Colorectal Surgeon

What are Colorectal Diseases?

Colorectal diseases are conditions that affect the colon, rectum, and anus. These conditions can range from relatively minor, such as hemorrhoids, to more severe conditions, like colorectal cancer. 

Some common colorectal diseases include:

Different types of laparoscopic bariatric surgery can help individuals lose weight and improve their health. The most common types are:

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and rectum. They can cause symptoms such as itching, pain, and rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids are generally treated with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, although surgery may be necessary in some cases.

An anal fissure is a small tear in the skin of the anus. It can cause pain, itching, and rectal bleeding. Anal fissures are generally treated with medications, although surgery may sometimes be necessary.

IBD is a group of conditions that cause inflammation in the digestive tract. The two main types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms of IBD may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Treatment for IBD may include medications, nutrition therapy, and surgery.

A common disorder that affects the large intestine. It is a chronic condition that can last a long or even a lifetime. IBS is characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel movements, including constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both. These symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go over time.

Diverticulitis is a condition in which small, bulging pouches (diverticula) form in the colon’s lining. These pouches can become inflamed or infected, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and changes in bowel habits. Diverticulitis is typically treated with antibiotics and a low-fiber diet. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected portion of the colon.

Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the colon and rectum. It is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits. Colorectal cancer is typically treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.

It is important to note that many colorectal diseases can be prevented or treated with early detection. The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals at average risk for colorectal cancer begin screening at age 45. This can be done through various tests, including a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or fecal occult blood test. 

Individuals can take an active role in the colon and rectal health by getting screened and addressing abnormalities early on. They can also reduce their risk of developing more severe conditions.

What is a Colorectal Surgeon?

A colorectal surgeon is a medical professional who focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the colon, rectum, and anus. Colorectal surgeons are trained in both surgical and non-surgical treatments. They can provide care for both acute and chronic conditions. They work closely with other healthcare team members, including primary care doctors, gastroenterologists, and oncologists, to provide comprehensive care to their patients.

A colorectal surgeon offers the following services:

Performing physical exams and ordering diagnostic tests to diagnose colorectal conditions.

Counseling patients on their treatment options and working with them to develop a treatment plan.

Performing surgical procedures to treat colorectal conditions, such as removing polyps or cancerous tumors, repairing damaged tissue, and relieving blockages or other problems in the colon or rectum.

Providing follow-up care to monitor the progress of recovery and ensure that the patient is receiving the necessary support and treatment.

Colorectal surgeons may work in various domains, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They may also be involved in research and teaching to advance knowledge and treatment options in colorectal surgery.

Reasons To See a Colorectal Surgeon

There are several reasons why someone might see a colorectal surgeon. One common reason is the presence of symptoms such as rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits. These symptoms can be caused by a variety of conditions. A colorectal surgeon can help to determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

Another reason to see a colorectal surgeon is for screening and prevention. A colorectal surgeon can perform these tests and help identify and treat abnormalities.

Here are some specific reasons to see a colorectal surgeon:

Experiencing persistent changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or blood in the stool.

A change in the shape or consistency of your stool.

Experiencing rectal bleeding or discharge.

A family history of colon or rectal cancer.

Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and are experiencing a flare-up or complications.

Diverticulitis, a condition in which small pouches called diverticula form in the colon walls and become inflamed or infected.

Rectal prolapse, where the rectum falls out of its normal position and protrudes through the anus.

Anal fissure, a small tear in the lining of the anus.

A fistula, an abnormal connection between two organs or structures in the body, or an abscess, is a collection of pus formed in response to an infection.

It is essential for someone experiencing any of these symptoms to speak with a colorectal surgeon for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Colorectal surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions affecting the colon, rectum, and anus and can provide the specialized care you need to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

He may also offer surgery to treat the conditions depending on the patient’s specific need. 

Different Types Of Colorectal Surgery

There are several types of colorectal surgery that a colorectal surgeon may perform. These include:

A surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids and swollen veins in the anus and rectum.

A procedure in which a long, flexible tube with a camera on its end is inserted into the colon to examine the lining and remove any polyps (growths) found.

A surgical procedure to remove all or part of the colon. This may be necessary for treating colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or other conditions.

A surgical procedure to remove the rectum. This may be necessary for the treatment of rectal cancer or other conditions.

A procedure to repair a tunnel-like passage that has formed between the anus and the skin. This may be necessary to treat an anal fistula, an abnormal connection between the anus and the skin.

Techniques To Be Used In Colorectal Surgery

Several techniques may be used in colorectal surgery, depending on the specific condition being treated and the preferences of the surgeon and patient. Some standard techniques include:

Open surgery, also known as traditional surgery, involves making a large incision in the abdomen to access the colon or rectum. This is the most common type of colorectal surgery and is often used to treat conditions such as colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.

Laparoscopic surgery involves making several small incisions in the abdomen and inserting specialized instruments, including a laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera on end), through these incisions. The surgeon views the procedure on a screen and performs the surgery using the instruments. Laparoscopic surgery is less invasive than open surgery and may result in a shorter recovery time.

Robotic surgery involves using a robotic system to assist with the surgery. The surgeon sits at a console and uses hand controls to manipulate the instruments attached to robotic arms. The robotic system allows for more precise movements and may result in a shorter recovery time compared to open surgery.

Endoscopic surgery involves inserting a long, flexible tube with a camera on end (an endoscope) into the colon or rectum to perform the surgery. This can be done through the anus (transanal endoscopic microsurgery) or a small incision in the abdomen (laparoscopically assisted endoscopic surgery). Endoscopic surgery is less invasive than open surgery and may result in a shorter recovery time.

The technique used in colorectal surgery will depend on the specific condition being treated, the preferences of the surgeon and patient, and other factors such as the patient’s overall health. It is essential to discuss the various options with your surgeon and understand the potential risks and benefits of each technique.

Recovery From Colorectal Surgery

Recovery from colorectal surgery can vary depending on the specific procedure and the individual patient. In general, patients can expect to stay in the hospital for a few days following surgery and must follow a special diet and bowel management plan as they heal. Most patients can return to their normal activities within a few weeks, although it may take longer for some procedures.


Colorectal diseases can range from minor to severe, and proper diagnosis and treatment are important for maintaining good colon and rectal health. A colorectal surgeon is a medical professional trained to diagnose and treat these conditions and can provide various treatment options, including surgery. By understanding the different types of colorectal surgery and working closely with a colorectal surgeon, individuals can take an active role in their colon and rectal health and ensure they receive the care they need.

Thank you for reading this article! If you or someone you know is in need of a colorectal surgeon, we highly recommend the team at Horizon Hospital .


Our team is comprised of experienced and skilled surgeons who are dedicated to providing the highest level of care to our patients. We are proud to offer a range of services, including colonoscopies, rectal surgery, and the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation.