Surgery for Rectal Cancer

Minimally Invasive Approach

At Scott & White, the majority of operations are performed with minimally invasive techniques. Benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Better cosmetic result
  • Quicker recovery times, allowing you to:
    • Return to your daily routine sooner
    • Begin future treatment sooner
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Fewer complications

Not all patients are candidates for a minimally invasive approach. Factors affecting the decision to use minimally invasive techniques include:

  • Tumor size, stage or location
  • Patient obesity and health
  • Prior surgeries

Your physician team may recommend the surgical removal of all or part of your rectum. Your team may recommend other treatments in addition to surgery. At Scott & White, we use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible and appropriate, based on your condition.

At Scott & White, treatment goals for rectal cancer generally are centered on rectum-preserving treatments. Our philosophy is to preserve as much of your rectum as possible.

Surgical Procedures

Your operation may be performed using one of the following methods:

Your physician will discuss which option is best for you.

Local Excision

In this surgical procedure, your colorectal surgeon will remove cancerous tissue from the inside surface of your rectum. Your surgeon will also remove a small section of surrounding healthy tissue.


In this surgical procedure, your colorectal surgeon will remove a section of your rectum and some surrounding healthy tissue and adjacent lymph nodes. In some cases, your surgeon may remove the tissue between your rectum and your abdominal wall.  Your surgeon will reconnect your rectum so that you may void naturally.

Pelvic Exenteration

In this surgical procedure, your colorectal surgeon will remove your rectum, the lower section of your colon and your bladder, if necessary. If your cancer has spread, the cervix, vagina and ovaries are removed in women; the prostate, in men, if necessary.

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