What is a Colorectal Surgeon?
A colorectal surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the colon, rectum, and anus. This can include conditions such as colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids, among others. Colorectal surgeons have extensive training in both surgical and non-surgical approaches to managing these conditions, and they work closely with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to their patients.
In addition to surgical expertise, colorectal surgeons may also be involved in screening and surveillance programs for patients at high risk of developing colorectal cancer, as well as in the management of complex pelvic floor disorders such as fecal incontinence and rectal prolapse. They may work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices, and may collaborate with other specialists such as gastroenterologists, oncologists, and radiologists to provide the best possible care for their patients.
What does a Colorectal Surgeon do?
The duties and responsibilities of a colorectal surgeon include a range of diagnostic, treatment, and management tasks related to diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus. Here are some of the detailed duties and responsibilities of a colorectal surgeon:
- Diagnosis: A colorectal surgeon is responsible for diagnosing conditions that affect the colon, rectum, and anus. This involves reviewing patient medical histories, performing physical exams, and conducting diagnostic tests such as colonoscopies, rectal exams, and imaging studies to identify the underlying cause of symptoms.
- Treatment: Once a diagnosis has been made, a colorectal surgeon is responsible for developing and implementing a treatment plan for the patient. This may involve surgical intervention, such as removing tumors or repairing damaged tissues, as well as non-surgical approaches, such as medication or lifestyle changes.
- Management: Colorectal surgeons are also responsible for managing patients' ongoing care, including monitoring their progress, adjusting treatment plans as needed, and providing education and support to help patients manage their condition.
- Collaboration: Colorectal surgeons often work closely with other healthcare professionals, including gastroenterologists, oncologists, and radiologists, to coordinate care and ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients.
- Research: Colorectal surgeons may also be involved in research projects aimed at improving the diagnosis, treatment, and management of colorectal diseases. This can involve conducting clinical trials, analyzing patient data, and publishing research findings in medical journals.
Types of Colorectal Surgeons
There are several types of colorectal surgeons, each with a specific focus or area of expertise within the field of colorectal surgery. Here are some of the main types of colorectal surgeons:
- Colorectal Cancer Surgeons: These surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer, which can involve removing tumors or other cancerous tissue through surgical procedures such as colectomies, proctectomies, and laparoscopic surgeries.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Surgeons: These surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Treatment options can range from medical management to surgical intervention, such as bowel resections or ileostomy/colostomy surgeries.
- Pelvic Floor Surgeons: These surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of complex pelvic floor disorders, such as fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Treatment options may include surgical procedures such as sacral nerve stimulation or pelvic floor reconstruction.
- Anorectal Surgeons: These surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the anus and rectum, such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and fistulas. Treatment options can range from lifestyle changes and medication to minimally invasive surgical procedures.
- General Colorectal Surgeons: These surgeons have a broad range of expertise in diagnosing and treating a variety of colorectal conditions, including cancer, IBD, and anorectal disorders.
What is the workplace of a Colorectal Surgeon like?
The workplace of a colorectal surgeon can vary depending on their specific job and the healthcare facility where they work. In general, colorectal surgeons typically work in hospitals or outpatient surgical centers, where they perform a variety of procedures to treat conditions affecting the colon, rectum, and anus. They may also work in private practice, where they see patients in an office setting and perform surgeries in a nearby hospital or surgical center.
During surgeries, colorectal surgeons work in sterile operating rooms with a team of nurses, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals. They use specialized tools and equipment to perform surgeries such as colonoscopies, laparoscopic procedures, and complex reconstructions of the pelvic floor.
When they are not in the operating room, colorectal surgeons typically see patients in clinic settings, where they diagnose and treat conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, and hemorrhoids. They may also perform routine screenings, such as colonoscopies, to detect early signs of colon cancer. Additionally, colorectal surgeons may work closely with other healthcare providers, such as gastroenterologists, oncologists, and radiation therapists, to provide comprehensive care to patients with complex conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Comprehensive List of Doctor Specializations and Degrees
Here is a comprehensive list of specializations that a doctor can pursue and a brief summary of each specialization:
- Allergist: An allergist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, asthma, and related conditions. Allergists have specialized training in the recognition and management of allergic reactions.
- Anesthesiologist: An anesthesiologist keeps a patient comfortable, safe and pain-free during surgery by administering local or general anesthetic.
- Cardiologist: A cardiologist specializes in finding, treating, and preventing diseases that affect the heart, the arteries, and the veins.
- Cardiothoracic Surgeon: A cardiothoracic surgeon specializes in surgical procedures inside the thorax (the chest), which may involve the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest. As well as performing surgery, they also diagnose and treat diseases of these organs.
- Chiropractic Neurologist: A chiropractic neurologist is a specialized type of chiropractor who has undergone additional training in the field of neurology. They diagnose and treat conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the nervous system.
- Chiropractor: A chiropractor, or doctor of chiropractic medicine, specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous system, especially in the spine. Treatment is usually physical manipulation of the joints and the spine to bring them back into alignment. A chiropractor does not perform surgery or prescribe medication.
- Colorectal Surgeon: A colorectal surgeon specializes in diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus, as well as the entire gastric tract. These surgeons work closely with urologists, who handle the urogenital tract in males and the urinary tract of women, gynecologists, who deal with specific female issues, and gastroenterologists, who deal with diseases of the gut.
- Doctor: An general overview of what a doctor does and how to become one.
- Dentist: Dentists identify potential oral health issues such as gum disease, as well as examine patients, order medical tests and determine the correct diagnosis and treatment. They also perform oral surgery and remove teeth or address other dental health problems.
- Dermatologist: A dermatologist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions affecting skin, hair, sweat and oil glands, nails, and mucus membranes (inside the mouth, nose, and eyelids) which can include cancer.
- Emergency Medicine Physician: An emergency medicine physician works in emergency departments, hospitals, and urgent care clinics, and is often the first medical professional that patients see when they are in need of urgent medical care.
- Endocrinologist: An endocrinologist specializes in diagnosing conditions and diseases related to the glands and hormones. While primary care doctors know a lot about the human body, for conditions and diseases directly related to glands and hormones they will typically send a patient to an endocrinologist.
- Family Practitioner: A family practitioner specializes in caring for the entire family. Patients can be children, adults, and the elderly, and are treated for a wide array of medical issues.
- Forensic Pathologist: A forensic pathologist investigates the cause of sudden and unexpected deaths, and is able to determine how a person died by performing an autopsy and studying tissue and laboratory results. These doctors are often called upon to provide evidence in court regarding the cause and time of such deaths.
- Gastroenterologist: A gastroenterologist has specific training in diagnosing and treating conditions and diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This may include diseases and disorders that affect the the biliary system (liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and bile ducts), as well as the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (colon).
- Geriatrician: A geriatrician specializes in the care of elderly patients, and often works with patients who have multiple chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as age-related cognitive and functional impairments.
- Gynecologist: A gynecologist specializes in women's reproductive systems. Gynecologists are also sometimes certified as obstetricians, and will monitor the health of the mother and the fetus during a pregnancy.
- Hematologist: A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of blood disorders, such as anemia and leukemia.
- Hospitalist: A hospitalist is a physician whose focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients. Their duties include patient care, teaching, research, and leadership related to hospital medicine.
- Immunologist: An immunologist specializes in managing problems related to the immune system, such as allergies and autoimmune diseases. A smaller number of immunologists are strictly researchers seeking to better understand how the immune system works and to help develop better ways of diagnosing and providing treatment for many immunological conditions.
- Infectious Disease Specialist: A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and hepatitis.
- Internist: An internist is a 'doctor of internal medicine' who can diagnose, treat, and practice compassionate care for adults across the spectrum, from health to complex illness. They are not to be mistaken with "interns," who are doctors in their first year of residency training.
- Medical Examiner: Medical examiners are responsible for performing autopsies and collecting evidence related to the circumstances of a death, including medical history, physical examination findings, and toxicology tests.
- Naturopathic Physician: A naturopathic physician blends modern scientific medical practice and knowledge with natural and traditional forms of medical treatment. The goal is to treat the underlying causes of disease while stimulating the body's own healing abilities.
- Nephrologist: A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases. They treat conditions such as chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, kidney stones, hypertension, and electrolyte imbalances.
- Neurologist: A neurologist specializes in treating diseases that affect the human nervous system. It is a very prestigious and difficult medical specialty due to the complexity of the nervous system, which consists of the brain, the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves.
- Neurosurgeon: A neurosurgeon specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system. This includes congenital anomalies, trauma, tumours, vascular disorders, infections of the brain or spine, stroke, or degenerative diseases of the spine.
- Obstetrician: An obstetrician is a medical doctor who specializes in caring for women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.
- Occupational Physician: Occupational medicine is focused on keeping individuals well at work, both mentally and physically. As workplaces become more complex, occupational physicians play an important role in advising people on how their work can affect their health.
- Oncologist: An oncologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The three primary types of oncologists are: medical oncologists that specialize in the administration of drugs to kill cancer cells; surgical oncologists that perform surgical procedures to identify and remove cancerous tumors; and radiation oncologists that treat cancer with radiation therapy.
- Ophthalmologist: An ophthalmologist is a specialist that deals specifically with the structure, function, diseases, and treatment of the eye. Due to the complexities and the importance of the eye as a special sense that provides vision, the discipline of ophthalmology is dedicated solely to this organ.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: An oral and maxillofacial surgeon treats dental and medical problems involving the oral cavity and the maxillofacial area. The maxillofacial area includes the bones of the forehead, face, cheekbones and the soft tissues. Treatment often involves performing surgery and related procedures to treat diseases, defects, or injuries, and to improve function or appearance.
- Orthopaedic Surgeon / Orthopedist: An orthopaedic surgeon (or orthopedist) examines, diagnoses, and treats diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system. This system includes the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and nerves.
- Orthodontist: An orthodontist specializes in how the jaws and teeth are aligned. They help people whose teeth are misaligned or require some kind of correction – those with an improper bite, or malocclusion.
- Osteopath: Osteopaths have attended and graduated from an osteopathic medical school and practise the system of healthcare known as osteopathy. They consider all aspects of the patient, not just the symptoms they exhibit. They see the integrated nature of the body’s organ systems and its capacity for self-regulation and self-healing.
- Otolaryngologist: Otolaryngologists (or ENT physicians) are specialists trained in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck. These specialists are trained in both medicine and surgery.
- Pathologist: A pathologist studies the causes, nature, and effects of disease. The field of pathology is broad with concentrations on changes in cells, tissues, and organs that are the result of a disease.
- Pediatrician: A pediatrician specializes in providing medical care to infants, children and teenagers by administering treatments, therapies, medications and vaccinations to treat illness, disorders or injuries.
- Periodontist: A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in oral inflammation, and who knows how to prevent, diagnose, and treat periodontal disease.
- Plastic Surgeon: A plastic surgeon specializes in reshaping healthy body parts for aesthetic reasons, and also in repairing or replacing body parts damaged by accidents, illness or malformation.
- Podiatrist: A podiatrist practices podiatric medicine, which is a branch of science devoted to the diagnosis, treatment and study of medical disorders of the foot, ankle, lower leg and lower back. In the U.S. and Canada, podiatry is practiced as a specialty.
- Prosthodontist: A prosthodontist specializes in restoring the look, function, comfort, and health of a patient's oral cavity with artificial materials. These artificial materials are made up of a wide variety of restorations that include fillings, dentures, veneers, crowns, bridges and oral implants.
- Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists are physicians who evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who are affected by a temporary or chronic mental health problem.
- Pulmonologist: A pulmonologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary (lung) conditions and diseases of the chest, particularly pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, and complicated chest infections.
- Radiologist: A radiologist is a specialist in interpreting medical images that may be obtained with x-rays, (CT scans or radiographs), nuclear medicine (involving radioactive substances, magnetism (MRI), or ultrasound.
- Rheumatologist: A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- Sports Medicine Physician: A sports medicine physician specializes in taking care of people who have sports injuries that may be acquired from playing sports, exercising, or from otherwise being physically active.
- Surgeon: A surgeon performs surgery for the purpose of removing diseased tissue or organs, to repair body systems, or to replace diseased organs with transplants.
- Urologist: A urologist specializes in the treatment of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs. Urologists can treat the kidneys, urinary bladder, urethra, uterus, and male reproductive organs. There are also specific specialty areas that urologists may choose to focus on, such as pediatric urology, male infertility, and urologic oncology.
- Vascular Medicine Specialist - A vascular medicine specialist specializes in the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of conditions affecting the blood vessels. They may work with patients who have conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, or pulmonary embolism.
- Vascular Surgeon - A vascular surgeon specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of conditions affecting the blood vessels, including aneurysms, peripheral artery disease, and varicose veins.
- Osteopathic Medicine
- Naturopathic Medicine
- Podiatric Medicine
- Veterinary Medicine
Colorectal Surgeons are also known as:
Proctologist Coloproctologist Colon and Rectal Surgeon