Proctology

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About Proctology

Proctology refers to a branch of medicine that primarily deals with the diseases related to the rectum and anus. These diseases may include haemorrhoids, fissures, constipation, inflammation, and also the cancer in this portion of the body. A skilled proctologist possesses not only surgical skills but also has the understanding of gastroenterologists, oncologists, and dermatologists to find to best treatment of the underlying problem. The general treatment options include ointments and suppositories, medicines, dietary- and lifestyle- advice and different surgical procedures.

Some of the commonly performed surgical procedures under proctology are:

  • Hemorrhoidectomy - The surgical removal of hemorrhoid tissue
     
  • Pilonidal Cystectomy - The surgical removal of Pilonidal Cyst
     
  • Fissurectomy - The surgical removal of rectal fissure
     
  • Sphincterotomy - The surgical release of the internal sphincter muscle
     
  • Fistulectomy - The surgical removal of perianal fistula
     
  • Colonoscopy - The prevention and screening of colorectal cancer

Proctologists preform corrective colorectal surgeries to repair the colon, rectum or anus. They preform surgeries that can involve the elimination of parts of organs, or the removal of whole organs, such as the gallbladder.

This entire region may be referred to as the bowel. Some proctologists will also treat conditions affecting the pelvic floor. A proctologist is now referred to, usually, as a colorectal surgeon.  This is a modern term that describes what these doctors do more accurately.

A colorectal surgeon will diagnose and treat conditions of the bowel (consisting of the colon, rectum and anus) and the pelvic floor.  This will primarily involve obtaining a medical history to find out what your symptoms are and how long they have been present.  This may be sufficient to diagnose your condition, or you may need to undergo more comprehensive screening procedures.  You will be advised of the different screening methods, the risks and the benefits of each before you undergo any procedures.

Once your condition has been diagnosed, you and your colorectal surgeon will be able to discuss how you would like to proceed with your treatment. There may be a number of options, depending on the exact condition that you have, but the most likely advice, to begin with, will involve making a number of lifestyle changes, particularly regarding your diet.

The most common screening procedure that a colorectal surgeon will carry out is called a colonoscopy.  This involves the insertion of a narrow, flexible tube into the colon, via the anus.  This tube has a camera on the end, which projects the images of the colon lining onto a computer screen, which the doctor can then examine closely.  This is the most accurate method of identifying any abnormalities in the lining of the bowel, and is a very low risk procedure.  Sedation is used, rather than anaesthetic, which has the advantage of reducing the risks even further.  This does mean that you will be awake throughout the procedure, which can be uncomfortable, but is not generally considered to be painful.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy may be used instead, if it is thought that the problem is located within the last two feet of the bowel. This region is called the sigmoid colon. The proctologist will carry out this screening procedure, which is very similar to a colonoscopy, in order to look at this final section of the gastrointestinal tract.

Barium solutions and x-rays can also be used in combination to enable a view of the digestive tract. The barium solution allows the digestive system to be seen on an x-ray, and this can be used to identify abnormalities such as growths. The solution can either be swallowed or given as an enema, depending on which region is being examined. You may be given the choice of which you would prefer, or your surgeon may decide. In addition, a virtual colonoscopy may be done. This is a CT scan using air to distend the colon so that the radiologist may view the colon lining.  

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