0207 4781665

MBChB PhD FRCS

FAQs

Consultant Laparoscopic Colorectal and General Surgeon

Laparoscopic colorectal surgery

Laparoscopic colorectal surgerySurgery to remove part or all of the colon traditionally involved an open operation in which the skin and muscles of the abdomen were cut open to allow direct access to the intestines. This had some advantages. It gave the colorectal surgeon an excellent view of all the abdominal contents and it made it easier to gain extra information because of the tactile feedback possible because the surgeon was able to touch the organs and tissues directly.

Unfortunately, open surgery had some significant drawbacks for the patient:

  • Longer recovery times
  • Longer stay in hospital due to bigger, more painful abdominal wounds
  • Slower return to normal activities

Laparoscopic colorectal surgery is now used wherever possible; it may not be advised in all cases, and some patients may still need open surgery.

Laparoscopic colorectal surgery versus open surgery

“Evidence is growing that laparoscopic colorectal surgery is just as effective as open surgery for a range of bowel conditions, including bowel cancer. Wherever both are possible, I would always recommend laparoscopic bowel surgery. It’s not suitable for everyone though, so you need to take the advice of your surgeon.”

Mr Jonathan Wilson, Laparoscopic General and Colorectal Surgery Specialist has completed extensive training in different laparoscopic colorectal surgery techniques. He offers minimally invasive keyhole surgery for gallbladder removal, hernia repair as well as colorectal conditions.

What is laparoscopic bowel surgery?

Instead of making one large incision, a surgeon performing laparoscopic colorectal surgery uses several tiny cuts, often called ports, which are between 5 mm and 1 cm long.

What is a laparoscope?

A laparoscope is a tube containing a camera that transmits images to a TV screen enabling the surgeon and theatre staff to see what they are doing inside the body.

Very little of the abdominal muscle is damaged as the laparoscope and surgical instruments are pushed through the ports into the body cavity.

One of the ports is made slightly larger (up to 5 cm in length) to allow the bulky piece of intestine to be removed from the body. This port is often partly concealed within the navel or pubic hair line for a better cosmetic result.

What are the advantages of laparoscopic colorectal surgery?

  • Less post-operative pain, therefore fewer strong painkillers required
  • Earlier mobility, usually the same day of surgery
  • Normal bowel function returns quicker
  • Shorter hospital stay of five to seven days rather than seven to ten days with open surgery
  • Faster recovery to normal activities
  • Far less scarring to the abdomen

Types of laparoscopic colorectal surgery offered by Mr Jonathan Wilson

  • Inflammatory bowel disease: the surgical options and requirements for surgery in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are different, but laparoscopic surgery is possible now in both cases.
  • Diverticular disease: severe and complicated cases may be helped by the removal of part of the affected colon and this can be achieved by a colorectal surgeon specialising in laparoscopic surgery.
  • Colorectal cancer: the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer since 2006.
  • Rectal prolapse: where the lining of the colon prolapses out from the anus and will not stay inside.

Haemorrhoid surgery

Mr Wilson also offers minimally invasive surgery for haemorrhoids. Haemorrhoidal artery ligation (HALO) and stapled haemorrhoidectomy techniques both produce much less post-operative pain compared to traditional surgical removal of the haemorrhoids, and can therefore be performed as day case procedures. Recovery time is also faster, so you get back to normal sooner.