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Minimally invasive surgery shown safe and effective treatment for rectal cancer
Date:11/10/2009

Laparoscopic surgery has been used in the treatment of intestinal disorders for close to 20 years, but its benefits have only recently begun to be extended to people with rectal cancer. In a prospective study of 103 patients who underwent straightforward or "hand-assisted" laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer, a team of colon and rectal surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has shown that the minimally invasive approach can be as effective as traditional open surgery in treating rectal cancers.

The advantages of laparoscopic and other minimally invasive surgical techniques are well known. After laparoscopic surgery, patients experience shorter hospital stays, smaller scars, far less pain and faster recovery, compared with open surgery. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell has offered these procedures for many years, and continues to be at the forefront of innovation, applying the minimally invasive approach to diseases and conditions once considered treatable mainly using open surgery techniques. Until recently, rectal cancer was one such disease -- and its treatment via laparoscopic surgery is still seen by some as controversial.

Rectal surgery, according to Dr. Jeffrey Milsom, chief of colon and rectal surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, is inherently more challenging than colon surgery. For one, the pelvic cavity of the body where the rectum lies, is a narrow space, making rectal tumors difficult to access. Surgical success depends not only on the complete removal of the cancerous tumor and repair of the rectum, but also on restoring continence. For these reasons, rectal cancer has been a difficult arena to apply advances in minimally invasive surgery.

Delaying matters further, initial reports on the use of laparoscopic surgery in patients with rectal cancer described a higher incidence of cancer-positive cells at the edges of removed tumors compared with open surgery, says Dr. Milsom. Ea
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Contact: Linda Kamateh
lib9027@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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