Rectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the rectum, which is the area that stretches from the end of the colon, or large intestine, into the anus. Depending on the severity or stretch of cancer when it is discovered, your specialist may recommend you for rectal cancer surgery in order to remove the cancerous cells.
Kinds Of Rectal Cancer Surgery
At Colorectal Clinic Of Tampa Bay, our colorectal specialists offer three different types of rectal cancer surgery: the LAR, the APR, and the Local Excision surgery to remove cancerous tissue. Let’s go over each of these to find out how they function and what benefits they offer.
The Lower Anterior Resection Surgery
A lower anterior resection (LAR) surgery is a common procedure performed on patients with rectal cancer when the cancerous cells are located well above the anus. A lower anterior resection surgery is performed laparoscopically and only requires a small incision in the lower abdomen.
During the procedure, your specialist will remove all cancerous tissue, along with some normal rectal tissue and surrounding lymph node tissue. Once everything is removed, the cut portions of your colon and rectum will be stapled or sewn back together
The Abdominoperineal Resection Surgery
An abdominoperineal resection surgery is a kind of rectal cancer surgery typically recommended for cancers that are very close to the anus. In this surgery, the cancerous tissue is removed, along with the rectum, rectal sphincter or anus, and surrounding lymph nodes through a small incision in the lower abdomen and the perineum, which is the skin around the anus.
Once all of this is removed, the perineum is sewn shut and the cut end of the large intestine is attached to an opening on the abdominal wall in a procedure called a colostomy. The opening is covered by a bag which serves to collect stool.
This surgery tends to be performed only as a last resort as patients tend to prefer receiving a more limited surgery, or radiation therapy, rather than a permanent colostomy.
A Local Transanal Excision Surgery
A local transanal excision surgery is performed on rectal cancers in which the cancerous cells are very close to the anus, in order to avoid the more intensive abdominoperineal resection. Not all patients are able to opt for this procedure, but some may.
During a local transanal excision, the cancerous tissue and a small rim of normal bowel is removed through the anus, while preserving the anus from being removed and avoiding a colostomy. This procedure is not possible on rectal cancers that are larger, more aggressive, or more deeply invading.
Rectal cancer should not be confused with colon cancer, though the two are often associated or referred to as colorectal cancer given their proximity. Despite their similarities, rectal cancer and colon cancer have their distinct differences, such as how they’re medically treated.
If you would like to learn more about the signs and symptoms of rectal cancer, or the treatments for rectal cancer, please be sure to contact us. To see a specialist about your rectal cancer or to test for rectal cancer, schedule an appointment today.