Colorectal care involves a number of conditions or procedures. These conditions or procedures include haemorrhoids (also called piles), colonoscopy, colorectal cancer, and laparoscopic colorectal surgery.
Types of Haemorrhoids
Haemorrhoids are located in the anus. They fill the space inside the anal channel. They are graded by severity, depending on whether they stay inside the anus or prolapse out. Therefore, the type of treatment that is recommended is dependent on the severity of the piles. For example, first-degree haemorrhoids bleed but are not prolapsed, whilst second-degree haemorrhoids prolapse but reduce from time to time. Third- and fourth-degree haemorrhoids are both prolapsing piles. However, third-degree piles necessitate manual reduction whilst fourth-degree piles cannot be reduced.
Types of Haemorrhoidal Procedures
Third- and fourth-degree haemorrhoids require surgical treatments for relief. A conventional surgical procedure entails the removal of the anal cushion. This procedure leads to wounds at the site that can take up to six weeks to heal. A stapler haemorrhoidectomy uses a stapler to remove the excess tissues and stop the blood flow to the haemorrhoidal cushions. The tissue is then repaired inside the anal canal. The patient experiences less pain and recovery takes about two weeks for this procedure.
A transanal haemorrhoidal arterialisation is a new process in which an ultrasonic probe is employed to ligate the feeding vessels to the cushions. This procedure is free of discomfort and offers the fastest recovery time. However, this procedure is not suggested for larger haemorrhoids.
Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgeries
Laparoscopic colorectal surgery is also known as proctology, and, in its current form, is considered one of the most innovative ways to treat colorectal cancer. By using the expertise of a doctor who has performed this type of surgery, you can avoid the discomfort and trauma of conventional surgeries. Patients experience less pain and faster recovery times.
Therefore, when used to treat colorectal cancer, this colorectal procedure offers the following advantages:
- Less ongoing discomfort and pain
- Quicker recovery times
- Shorter stays in the hospital
- An enhanced improvement in long-term survival
This treatment approach is important, as colorectal cancer is the most common form of cancer in Singapore. Your lifetime risk of developing the disease is one in 20, or 5%. This risk increases if you have a family history of the cancer. Cancers of this type normally occur in people over 50 years old.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include the following:
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
- Weight loss
- Abdominal lumps
Symptoms can vary, depending on the size of the tumour and its location. Whilst tumours near the anus are often indicated by blood in the stool, tumours in the upper part of the colon tend to be defined by abdominal pain, bloating, or weight loss.