University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center Utilizes Innovative Surgical Techniques for Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Most early-stage colorectal cancers are successfully treated with surgery alone. At UH Seidman Cancer Center and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, advances in surgical techniques have resulted in less invasive surgeries. Most colorectal cancer patients undergo a procedure called a bowel resection in which the surgeon only removes the part of the bowel (colon or rectum) that contains the cancer.

Minimally Invasive and Sphincter-Sparing Surgery

Our surgeons use minimally invasive or laparoscopic techniques to treat many colon and rectal tumors. For example, we are experienced in an advanced form of minimally invasive surgery where a single laparoscopic port is used to perform an entire operation. These methods enable patients to undergo treatment that results in much smaller wounds, less pain, less scarring and a quicker recovery. Many complications are less frequent with laparoscopic surgery. Our laparoscopic surgeons, who work at UH Cleveland Medical Center, have pioneered many of the techniques used by other surgeons in the field. They also and teach these procedures nationally and internationally.

Our physicians utilize anal sphincter-preserving techniques on many rectal cancers that used to require a permanent colostomy following surgery. When the patient’s anal sphincter muscles are preserved, he or she may only need to use a colostomy or ileostomy bag on a temporary basis. Our multidisciplinary team often recommends the use of combination therapies that consist of chemoradiation therapy followed by surgical treatment and are designed to eradicate any remaining cancer cells.

Our colorectal surgeons are trained in the techniques of total mesorectal excision (TME), which has been shown to reduce local recurrence when treating rectal cancers. At UH Cleveland Medical Center and UH Seidman Cancer Center, we have studied and helped to develop many of the surgical techniques used for these minimally invasive and sphincter-preserving procedures.


Following surgery to remove a colorectal tumor, an ostomy may be necessary on a temporary or (more rarely) a permanent basis. Our surgeons use the following two types of ostomies: ileostomies and colostomies. Ileostomies are segments of the small intestine that are brought out of the abdominal wall and are pouched or bagged with a special appliance to collect fecal debris. Colostomies are portions of the colon or large intestine that are brought out and pouched. We have a dedicated staff of enterostomal therapists who are specialized nurses with advanced training in teaching patients how to live very normal lives and overcome obstacles associated with a new ostomy.

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