Treating Rectal Cancer: What Is APR Surgery?

Most patients who have been diagnosed with rectal cancer will need some type of surgical procedure to remove the cancerous tissue. For many years, Abdominoperineal resection (APR) was the treatment of choice by colorectal specialists for most patients with rectal cancer. While modern technology has given additional choices for surgical procedures in patients with rectal cancer, APR is still a necessary modality in select patients. Below, we discuss the ins and outs of APR surgery including what it is, how it works, and complications associated with it.

What is an abdominoperineal resection surgery?

APR is a common treatment for rectal cancer when the cancer is located close to the anus. The procedure is a rectal cancer surgery in which the anus, rectum, and sigmoid colon are removed. This procedure is most often used to treat cancers located very low in the rectum or in the anus.

How APR Works

After the anus and rectum are removed during surgery, a colostomy is created. During a colostomy, your doctor brings a portion of the colon to an opening at the surface of the skin. This new opening, called a stoma, allows waste to pass out of the body into an attached pouch used specifically to collect stool and gas. This pouch will need to be worn at all times to facilitate the passing of waste.

Recovery for APR

After APR surgery, you may need to be hospitalized for around 5 days to a week. Your pouch will immediately be fitted and attached by your colorectal specialist. It usually takes a few days for your digestive system to return to normal and you will have to change your diet for a few days. You will start on liquids then begin to add normal solid foods as your body returns more to normal. Your care team will give you instructions for proper use and care for your colostomy bag.

Complications of APR Surgery

Patients may experience lower abdominal pain after their APR surgery. Less common complications related to surgery include bleeding, infection, slow healing of wounds and momentary issues emptying your bladder. As with any surgery, be sure to ask your surgeon about any complications associated with APR surgery.

The best way to combat colorectal cancer is through surgery and APR is a proven surgical method for removing cancer in the colon. If you need rectal surgery in Tampa, call the colorectal specialists at Colorectal Clinic of Tampa Bay.