What are sphincter-saving procedures?
Sphincter-saving procedures are performed to treat complications of rectal cancer without damaging the muscles of the rectum or anus. Rectal cancer is a condition in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the rectum. This form of cancer begins with the development of a malignant tumour on the inner lining of the rectum and often spreads to more parts of the body if left untreated.
Damage to the sphincter muscles of the rectum and anus can affect the way you pass stools and impact your quality of life. Sphincter saving procedures are, therefore aimed at treating rectal cancer while preserving the function of the sphincter muscles to ensure normal bowel movements.
Who needs sphincter-saving procedures?
Sphincter-saving procedures are necessary for patients suffering from rectal cancer or complications from previous surgery.
There are many risk factors that may increase your chances of getting rectal cancer, which is why early detection is essential. Some of the risk factors include being over the age of 50 or having a family member with a history of colorectal cancer. If you have polyps or have had cancer of the breast or ovaries, you are also at higher risk of developing rectal cancer.
Symptoms of rectal cancer include:
How are sphincter-saving procedures done?
As a specialist gastroenterologist, Dr Michael Elliot specialises sphincter-saving procedures such as low anterior resection surgery and local excision for the treatment of rectal cancer.