Colorectal surgery encompasses the management of diseases affecting the colon, rectum, and anus. Proctology focuses on conditions related to the rectum and anus. The primary goal of colorectal surgery is to address ailments of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Common reasons for seeing a colorectal surgeon include bowel cancer, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids, fissures, and fistulas.

Understanding Colorectal Anatomy and Function

The colon is a muscular tube that is responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from food. The rectum acts as a reservoir, storing stool until it is ready to be expelled. Finally, the anus facilitates the elimination of stool, aided by surrounding muscles that maintain control until the appropriate time for excretion.

Symptoms and Signs

Recognizing symptoms associated with colorectal problems is essential for seeking timely medical assistance. The following symptoms and signs warrant consultation with a Colorectal Surgeon:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anal or rectal pain, bleeding, or lumps
  • Changes in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, bloating)
  • Difficulty in opening bowels
  • Incontinence
  • Prolapse
  • Anemia (accompanied by fatigue, lethargy, faintness, breathlessness during exertion, and low hemoglobin levels)
  • Unexplained weight loss

Delaying medical intervention due to embarrassment can exacerbate the condition. It is crucial to consult an expert for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis at Burjeel Hospital

At Burjeel Hospital, a comprehensive evaluation is conducted to assess the extent of colorectal diseases and determine the appropriate management plan. The following diagnostic procedures are commonly employed:

Digital Rectal Examination and Proctoscopy: These examinations, performed by the surgeon, involve inspecting the anus and rectum for abnormalities like tumors, hemorrhoids, and fissures. They also assess the function of the anal sphincter (muscle).

Blood Tests: Routine blood work, including complete blood count, electrolyte levels, and liver function tests, may be conducted to evaluate the patient’s overall health and determine their readiness for surgery.

Colonoscopy: This diagnostic procedure employs a flexible tube with a tiny camera inserted into the rectum to visualize the colon and rectum. Tissue samples can be obtained for biopsy, and therapeutic interventions, like polyp removal, can be performed.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: By utilizing X-rays, this imaging test generates detailed images of the colon, rectum, anal canal, and other abdominal organs. It helps evaluate the disease’s extent and location.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan: This imaging test uses a magnetic field to produce detailed images of the colon, rectum, and anal canal. It aids in visualizing the size and location of diseases such as fistulas or tumors.

Ultrasound: This diagnostic test employs high-frequency sound waves to create images of the colon, rectum, anal canal, and other organs such as the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Endoanal Ultrasound and Manometry: Endoanal ultrasound provides detailed pictures of the anal canal, while manometry assesses the function of the anal sphincter.

Common Colorectal Surgical Conditions

Colorectal surgery is employed for various conditions, including:

  • Colorectal Cancer and Polyps
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease)
  • Diverticular Disease
  • Appendicitis
  • Perianal Conditions (Hemorrhoids, Abscesses, Fistulas, and Fissures)
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders (Rectal Prolapse, Incontinence, Solitary Rectal Ulcer Syndrome)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Pilonidal Sinus Disease
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer often originates from small benign polyps in the large bowel, which gradually progress to malignancy over time. Colonoscopy allows for the detection and removal of these benign polyps. Individuals should undergo a colonoscopy between the ages of 40 and 50, depending on their risk level, as determined by a Colorectal Surgeon.

Management of Colorectal Disease

The treatment and management vary depending on the specific condition. Medication, lifestyle modifications, and dietary changes are effective for many conditions. Some colorectal diseases, however, necessitate surgical intervention. Laparoscopic surgery (keyhole surgery) is commonly employed for intra-abdominal diseases such as bowel cancer. Advanced techniques, including laser treatments, special glues for fistula treatment, and ultrasound-guided procedures for hemorrhoids, are utilized for perianal diseases.

By utilizing the expertise and advanced treatments available at Burjeel Hospital, patients can receive optimal care for their colorectal conditions.