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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Proctectomy for colorectal cancer

Proctectomy surgeries

A proctectomy is performed to remove all or part of the rectum.

A low-anterior resection involves the surgical removal of cancer located in the upper part of the rectum, which is closest to the S-shaped sigmoid colon. Some adjacent healthy rectal tissue may also be removed, along with nearby lymph nodes and fatty tissue. A pathologist may examine the lymph nodes to determine if cancer cells are present. This will help doctors determine the stage of the disease and whether additional colorectal cancer treatment is needed.

After the cancerous portion of the rectum is removed, the surgical oncologist connects the sigmoid colon with the remaining healthy tissue located in the lower part of the rectum, a procedure called coloanal anastomosis or coloanal pull-through. This allows waste to pass normally out of the body through the anus.

Abdominoperineal resection is used to treat cancer in the lower rectum. Since this procedure requires surgical removal of the cancerous portion of the lower rectum nearest the anus, some or all of the anal sphincter is also removed. The sphincter is a muscle that keeps the anus closed and prevents stool leakage. Because the sphincter is responsible for bowel control, the surgical oncologist also performs a colostomy to enable the body to excrete waste.

What is a proctectomy?

A rectum resection (also known as a proctectomy) is an inpatient procedure involving the surgical excision, or removal, of the cancerous portion of the rectum.