Coloproctology is the study, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal conditions including colon, rectum and anus problems.

What is coloproctology?

Coloproctology, also known as colorectal surgery, is the surgical subspecialty that deals with the investigation, diagnosis, and treatment of all colorectal conditions including problems with your colon, bowel, rectum and appendix.

What do proctologists do?

Proctologists are surgeons who diagnose and treat colon, rectum and anus disorders. They are often referred to as colorectal surgeons or colon and rectal surgeons.

You might see a colorectal surgeon for complex lower digestive tract issues or when surgery is needed. Colon and rectal surgeons can provide medical treatments for haemorrhoids and anal fissures. They perform surgery if the situation demands surgical intervention.

What do they do in colorectal surgery?

In colorectal surgery, they treat common conditions such as haemorrhoids, anal fissures and fistulas, anal warts, pilonidal cysts, anal cancer, rectal cancer, rectal prolapse, colon cancer, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, and pelvic floor disorders including faecal incontinence, chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and bowel dysfunction.

Colorectal diseases can be painful. Medications can help, but sometimes surgery is necessary to improve distressing symptoms of colorectal problems.

What is the difference between a gastroenterologist and a proctologist?

Whilst a gastroenterologist and a proctologist treat many of the same gastrointestinal conditions there are some inherent differences in the two specialties.

The main difference between a gastroenterologist and a proctologist is that a proctologist is able to perform surgeries whereas gastroenterologists do not and cannot perform surgeries.

Proctologists are trained in general surgery and colon and rectal surgery and gastroenterologists are trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology.

Proctologists focus specifically on conditions of the colon, rectum and anus and gastroenterologists medically treat conditions affecting any part of the digestive tract. This includes your stomach, liver, pancreas, colon, small intestine and gallbladder. Proctologists don’t deal with issues related to your stomach, pancreas, liver disease or with medical treatments for inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterologists will look at the digestive system as a whole, and identify where the problem is and which organs it is affecting.

Proctologists receive referrals from gastroenterologists when they have exhausted their medical options and a patient requires surgery. Some gastroenterologists are trained to perform invasive treatments, such as an endoscopy, colonoscopy or laparoscopy, to see inside the digestive tract, extract small polyps and diagnose colon cancer. If the polyp is too large to be extracted endoscopically or a cancer tumour needs to be surgically removed, a gastroenterologist will refer you to a proctologist.

What is the recovery process after a coloproctology?

The recovery process and time after a coloproctology will be dependent on the exact type of operation you have had and your body’s response to it. Your colorectal surgeon will give you an estimated discharge date from the hospital and detailed recovery information after the procedure to help you plan for your return home.

Whilst in hospital you will be encouraged to walk and sit up as much as is comfortably possible to reduce pain and the risk of complications and improve your breathing. You will follow a light diet that is gradually increased. Once your epidural or PCA is removed you can continue to control pain by taking pain-relieving tablets. Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, fluid balance and weight will be regularly checked. You will be shown how to self-manage a stoma if needed.

When you leave the hospital, you may need someone to help with heavier jobs such as food shopping, vacuuming and gardening for a few weeks. You should continue to take regular daily exercise and increase this until you are back to your normal level of activity. Ensure you also get plenty of rest. You should not undertake heavy lifting and avoid contact sports for six weeks.

Certain foods can cause loose bowel motions. If this happens, you should avoid those foods for the first few weeks after your surgery and drink plenty of fluids.

You can expect to return to work within two to four weeks of your operation. You can resume driving when you are confident that you can drive safely.

We will arrange a follow-up appointment to assess your progress.

What is the cost of a coloproctology?

The cost of a coloproctology procedure will depend on your exact colorectal treatment and your Ramsay hospital of choice.

You will receive a formal quotation price for your procedure following a consultation with one of our expert proctologists. This formal quote for your colorectal procedure will be valid for 60 days.

Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Coloproctology procedures are covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before your procedure.

We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your surgery yourself. We offer interest-free finance with 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments, so you can start treatment immediately.

Coloproctology at Ramsay Health Care

Our team of colorectal surgeons are experts in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of colon, rectum and anus problems. They have knowledge and experience in challenging and complex cases.

Ramsay Health Care is committed to providing safe, patient-focused and effective clinical care. We routinely treat diseases of the colon, rectum and anus, including haemorrhoids, anal fissures and fistulas, colorectal cancers, inflammatory bowel diseases and pelvic floor disorders. We offer convenient and timely appointments for a fast and reliable diagnosis and prompt treatment. Our staff are respectful and understanding of the sensitive nature that colorectal problems can present.

Laparoscopic surgery is performed using the latest equipment and often in our purpose-built and JAG-accredited endoscopy units.

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