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Procedures & treatments

Procedures to diagnose and treat colon and rectal concerns are highly specialized and require a provider who has great knowledge of the procedure. The providers at Novant Health Colon and Rectal Clinic are wholly dedicated to colon and rectal health, and are some of the most highly qualified surgeons in our area to complete the diagnostic procedures and treatments listed below.

If you would like to discuss one of these procedures or issues with our surgeons, or if there is another colorectal issue you would like to address, please call our office. You do not need a referral to see how surgery might fit into your treatment plan.

Anal abscess or fistula treatment

An anal abscess is an infected cavity near the anus or rectum. A fistula, or small tube, might form between the abscess and infected glands in the anus. Fistulas can also form without an abscess. A surgical procedure can drain an abscess or help a fistula to heal. A seton placement is one such procedure, where a surgeon places a silk string into the fistula to help drain the infection. To learn more about treatments for an abscess or fistula, click here.

Anal fissure treatment

An anal fissure is a small tear in the skin at the opening of the anus. Fissures can cause severe pain and bleeding at the time of bowel movements, and might be confused with other causes of similar symptoms including hemorrhoids (see below). Hard stool or diarrhea are often causes of anal fissures, while less common causes include infections or tumors. Some anal fissures lead to external lumps called piles. Many anal fissures can be treated without surgery, and your surgeon will outline those options for you. Please call our office to set up a consultation to learn more about surgical and non-surgical treatment options for anal fissures. For additional information, click here.

Anal warts treatment

Anal warts can appear as tiny spots or growths around the anus or genitals, and can grow to cover the entire area. Anal warts might cause itching, bleeding or discharge, or might not cause any symptoms at all. Anal warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is considered a sexually transmitted disease. If not removed, anal warts can spread or increase the cancer risk in the area. Click here to learn more about treatments for anal warts and why prompt treatment is so important.

Bowel incontinence treatment

Incontinence refers to an impaired ability to control gas or stool. This is a common problem, and can be caused by trauma or surgery. Treatment depends on the level of incontinence and what caused it. Some bowel incontinence can be cured with a change in diet or muscle strengthening exercises, while other cases will require surgery. Click here to learn more about bowel incontinence.

Colon & rectum polyps treatment

A polyp is a small clump of cells that forms on the lining of the colon or rectum. Most of these growths are harmless, but some can become cancerous. Screening including colonoscopies (see below) can detect polyps early so they can be removed before they become dangerous. How polyps are removed depends on their location and size. If you have had polyps identified through a colonoscopy or other means, please call our office to schedule a consultation.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your surgeon to examine the entire length of your colon and rectum using a thin, tube-shaped instrument. You will be given medication to clean out your bowels before the procedure and some form of sedation to make you more comfortable during the procedure. The procedure is safe, and can be useful in detecting abnormalities and even removing growths including polyps. Colonoscopies are normally outpatient procedures and are routinely performed on patients older than 50 as part of a colon cancer screening program. To learn more about the colonoscopy procedure, click here.

Constipation treatment

Constipation refers to trouble evacuating stool from the body. Sometimes this means less frequent bowel movements, while it can also mean stools with less volume or painful bowel movements. Some cases of constipation can be helped with over-the-counter or prescription laxatives or enemas, or a change in diet, while in other cases surgical procedures can be useful in determining the cause of constipation or relieving its symptoms. The surgeons at Novant Health Colon and Rectal Clinic are available to discuss surgical and non-surgical options. Click here to learn more about common constipation remedies.

Crohn's disease treatment

Crohn's disease is characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, most frequently the intestine. Symptoms include cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, bloating and anal pain. Crohn's disease is most common among patients age 16 to 40. This condition is often grouped with ulcerative colitis and labeled inflammatory bowel diseases. Less severe cases of Crohn's disease are normally treated with medication, while more severe cases might require surgery to remove bowel obstructions, or if the intestine or bowel becomes perforated or begins bleeding. Surgery can often provide effective, long-term relief from symptoms. To learn more about Crohn's disease treatment, please call our office or click here.

Diverticulitis treatment

Diverticula are pockets that develop in the wall of the colon. Diverticular disease refers to the inflammation of these pockets. Diverticulitis is an infection in the pockets. By age 60, about 50 percent of Americans have diverticulosis, and nearly all have the pockets present by age 80. However, only a small percentage will ever develop symptoms. Diverticulitis symptoms include abdominal pain, chills, fever or change in bowel habits. Changes in diet can often lessen the effects of diverticular disease, while diverticulitis is often treated with antibiotics and stool softeners. If diverticulitis recurs, or results in other complications or does not respond to medication, surgery might be necessary to remove the affected part of the colon. Click here to learn more about surgical treatment for diverticulitis.

Hemorrhoid treatment

Hemorrhoids are enlarged, sometimes painful veins in the lower rectum and anus. This is a very common condition. Bleeding during bowel movements, and pain or itching in the anal area are common symptoms of hemorrhoids. While mild cases of hemorrhoids might be relieved by laxatives and changes in diet, more severe cases might require surgery to bring relief. The colorectal surgeons at Novant Health Colon and Rectal Clinic regularly perform banding procedures to remove hemorrhoids. To learn more about hemorrhoid banding, please call our office or click here to read about the procedure.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a disorder where the function of the bowels is abnormal but there are no structural abnormalities. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation or bloating. Changes in diet can curb some symptoms, while medications can bring further relief. Rarely is surgery necessary as part of IBS treatment, but a procedure by a colorectal surgeon can help diagnose IBS and rule out more serious issues. To learn more about IBS, click here.

Ostomy procedures

An ostomy is a surgically created open that connects an internal organ to the surface of the body. For instance, an ileostomy connects the small intestine to the abdominal wall, and a colostomy connects to colon to the abdominal wall. A temporary ostomy might be needed if the intestinal tract can't be prepared for surgery because of a blockage, or to allow a site to heal without contamination by stool. Temporary ostomies can normally be easily reversed. A permanent ostomy might be needed if normal intestinal function has been compromised. For more information about how ostomies, including colostomies and ileostomies, are performed, as well as life after an ostomy procedure, click here.

Pelvic floor dysfunction treatment

Pelvic floor dysfunction is characterized by constipation and the feeling of incomplete emptying of the rectum during a bowel movement. This might lead to more frequent bowel movements or leakage. This occurs when muscles in the pelvic floor contract instead of relax, which does not allow stool to leave the bowel. Diagnosis often involves enemas and X-rays, while treatment includes physical therapy and surgical procedures. Click here to learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Pilondal disease treatment

Pilondal disease is a chronic infection of the skin near the buttock crease. This condition is more common in men, patients under age 40, obese people and people with thick, stiff body hair. It might result in a large, painful mass, and might drain fluid if it becomes infected. Surgery becomes necessary if infection spreads to sinus tracts under the skin. To learn more about types of surgeries often included in pilondal disease treatment, please call our office or click here to read more.

Pruritus ani treatment

Pruritus ani is characterized by itching around the anal area. This can be caused by excessive moisture, hemorrhoids or anal fissures. Surgery is not normally a part of treatment for pruritis ani, but a colorectal surgeon can help diagnose the issue and recommend non-surgical treatment including medication. Click here to learn more.

Rectal prolapse treatment

Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum becomes stretched and protrudes out of the anus. This can result in stool leakage. This condition is more common in women. Symptoms might include bleeding or protruding tissue. In some cases, the prolapse is completely internal, and can be diagnosed only by a colorectal surgeon. Surgery is often needed to correct a rectal prolapse once it occurs. For more information about rectal prolapse including surgical treatments for it, click here.

Ulcerative colitis treatment

Ulcerative colitis occurs when the lining of the colon and rectum becomes inflamed. This can cause rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and weight loss. This condition can also increase the risk of bowel cancer. Antibiotics and other medications are often the first steps in treatment. If severe bleeding, perforation or infection occurs, or if the condition does not respond to medication, surgery might be recommended. Surgery can include complete removal of the colon and rectum, or removal of only affected parts. Click here to learn more about surgical options for ulcerative colitis treatment.

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