MBBS (Singapore), M.Med (Surgery)
What Is Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery?
Any conditions involving the colon and rectum fall under colorectal diseases. Conditions may be mild, easily treatable via medications and lifestyle modifications; or severe, requiring surgery.
Colorectal surgery may be done open or laparoscopically, the latter being the preferred choice because of its minimally invasive nature and fewer risks involved. This procedure, which is also known as keyhole surgery, does away with the single, 6- to 12-inch large incision associated with open surgery.
Instead, it accesses and treats the colorectal region via small incisions in the abdomen through which a laparoscope and tiny surgical tools are inserted. A laparoscope is an optical instrument equipped with a light and camera, which allows the doctor to examine the abdominal organs from outside the body via a monitor. Air may also be pumped into the colon to inflate the abdominal walls, providing a better view and access to the area.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery
The main difference between open and laparoscopic colorectal surgery is the means through which the abdominal organs are accessed. Keyhole surgery avoids large, open wounds, opting instead for smaller incisions about 0.5 to 1.5cm in length. This results in:
- Reduced pain and bleeding
- Shorter hospital stays
- Quicker recovery period
- Less scarring
- Lower risk of blood loss and injury
- Lower risk of complications
Types of Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery
Laparoscopic colorectal surgery can be done via four operative techniques, each one requiring specialized skills from an experienced colorectal surgeon to perform effectively:
- Full laparoscopic colorectal surgery – This refers to the standard method where small incisions are made on the abdomen through which a laparoscope and microsurgical instruments are inserted.
- Hand-assisted laparoscopic colorectal surgery – This method is a hybrid of open and keyhole surgery. Here, the laparoscope is inserted through a small incision, while the surgeon’s hand fully accesses the abdominal organs via a larger opening.
- Single-port laparoscopic surgery – Standard laparoscopic procedures typically create separate incisions to accommodate the laparoscope and surgical instruments. In this method, only one point of entry is done for all surgical equipment. The incision is usually created in the naval area to minimize scarring and pain.
- Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery – The most advanced method, this involves the use of either a remote manipulator or a computer, which controls robotic arms that will perform the actual surgery with great precision.
Does Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery Require Special Training?
Surgeons have to be specially trained for laparoscopic colorectal surgery, as the skill-sets and equipment are completely different from open operations. Dr Kam was trained in the Department of Colorectal Surgery, SGH and is skilled in all types of laparoscopic colorectal surgeries. In his previous role as Director of Robotics & Minimally-invasive surgery, Dr Kam had organised numerous international workshops and trained many of the next generation of surgeons in laparoscopic colorectal surgery.
Can My Colorectal Cancer Be Removed Using Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery?
Majority of colorectal cancers can be safely removed with laparoscopic colorectal surgery. Many international multi-centre trials have proven that this form of resection is as good as open operations for cancer clearance. However, not all cancers can be removed using this technique. Please check with us to see if this procedure is suitable for your specific condition.
Headed by Singapore colorectal surgeon Dr. Kam Ming Hian, Kam Colorectal Centre offers screening, diagnostic and treatment services to manage a range of gastrointestinal and colorectal conditions. Call 6443-1005 for more inquiries.