Treatment and Services
Our depth of experience in all forms of colorectal disease helps us treat many conditions without surgery. If you need surgery, our internationally renowned colorectal surgeons use all the latest techniques, which give you the best chance for a successful procedure.
Our goal is to deliver care that allows you to live your best life. Some patients want the freedom to maintain an active lifestyle, while others wish to maintain natural bowel functioning. We listen to our patients' needs and use their input to create personalized treatment plans.
Colorectal Surgery at UC Davis: Why Choose Us?
Our expert surgeons put your needs at the center of everything we do, helping us deliver care that is safer and more effective with better long-term results. We treat patients with even the most complicated colorectal conditions using the least invasive but most effective treatment options. Learn more about the conditions we treat.
Highlights of our patient-centered approach to treatment include:
- Collaborative care: Your procedure is informed by leading experts, thanks to our partnerships with other UC Davis programs. These partnerships include the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center for colorectal cancer and the Continence and Pelvic Floor Center for pelvic floor dysfunction. Meet our team.
- Minimally invasive surgery: Minimally invasive colorectal surgery relies on special tools and technology to carry out complex procedures without large incisions. You can expect less pain, a faster recovery and a quicker return to your normal activities. Find out more about minimally invasive colorectal surgery.
- Research: True to our mission as an academic medical center, at UC Davis, we conduct research to find better ways of treating colorectal disease. Our active leadership and participation in research on minimally invasive surgery and inherited colorectal tumors helps us deliver state-of-the-art care. Read more about our research.
- Safety: If you are having surgery, our entire team works together to make sure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible. By working together, we are better able to control pain using safe and appropriate levels of medication and get you moving earlier in the recovery process, which helps prevent complications.
You may be surprised to know that many of our patients find lasting relief with non-surgical treatments. Common non-surgical treatments include:
- Medications: Medications can relieve symptoms and reduce complications for many colorectal conditions. Your treatment may include antidiarrheals to slow bowel activity or fiber supplements to add bulk to your stool.
- Nutrition support: We help you make changes to your diet, such as increasing your fiber intake and drinking plenty of water, which can prevent constipation and make stool easier to pass.
- Lifestyle changes: Changes such as becoming more physically active and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent unnecessary strain and boost your body's natural ability to heal itself. We help you make changes you can stick to and set realistic goals.
- Developing healthy bowel habits: We help you develop habits that lead to easier bowel movements. We may recommend becoming more physically active through exercise or increasing your fiber and fluid intake.
- Genetic counseling: If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, genetic counseling can help you know your risk. Our world-renowned expert in inherited colorectal tumors uses this information to detect and treat cancer in its earliest stages.
- Emotional support: Symptoms of colorectal disease can be embarrassing and affect your daily life, but you do not have to go it alone. Our team listens carefully and offers practical tips and encouragement to help you overcome challenges.
Deciding to undergo surgery can be stressful for you and your family. You can feel confident knowing we only recommend surgical treatments if we feel they will substantially improve your symptoms or quality of life. Surgical treatments at UC Davis include:
Advanced polyp removal (excision)
During an excision, we remove precancerous growths (polyps) and early stage tumors from the surface of the colon. We are often able to perform an excision during a screening exam for colorectal cancer (colonoscopy). Find out more about minimally invasive colorectal surgery including innovative procedures such as transanal minimally invasive surgery (TAMIS).
Surgical treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (resection)
During a resection, we remove part or all of the colon or rectum. We perform resections using the least invasive means possible, including laparoscopy and robotic techniques, which can help you avoid a large incision. If this procedure is right for you, we make every effort to reconnect the remaining intestines, which helps you maintain normal bowel functioning. If we cannot reconnect the intestines, you will need a colostomy.
You may need a colostomy if the colon is not healthy enough for a reconnection. A colostomy creates an alternative path for solid waste to leave the body by taking the end of your intestines and connecting it to a hole in your abdomen. A colostomy can bring changes to your everyday life, but we help you get back to your favorite activities over time. Find out more: patient information.
If you need to have your rectum removed, ileal-anal anastomosis (IPAA) can help you avoid a permanent stoma. Also known as sphincter-sparing minimally invasive surgery, IPAA works by sewing the healthy end of your colon directly to the anus. We use the small intestines to create a pouch to collect stool until you eliminate it through a bowel movement. Another procedure that spares the colon and the sphincter is the coloanal procedure. Here we use the colon after removal of the whole rectum and connect it to the anus. Read more about sphincter-sparing colorectal surgery.
An ileostomy is a temporary treatment that allows you to eliminate stool through a hole in your intestines (stoma) and into a bag outside of your body. You may need an ileostomy if your colon or small bowel needs time to rest and heal. After you are done healing, we perform an additional procedure to reconnect your colon or small intestine to your digestive tract (ileostomy reversal). An ileostomy may bring changes to your everyday life, but we let you know what to expect and offer helpful tips and encouragement every step of the way.
If we need to remove your entire rectum, coloanal anastomosis can help preserve normal bowel functioning by leaving your anus intact. Coloanal anastomosis works by connecting your colon directly to the anus.
Transanal endoscopic microsurgery
We perform advanced procedures such as transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME), which help us access the surgical area through the anus. Using minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopic and robotic surgery, we approach polyps or tumors from two angles instead of one. This approach allows us to quickly and completely remove polyps and tumors in difficult to reach areas.
Sacral nerve stimulation
This treatment works with the help of a small implantable device that sends gentle electrical pulses to the sacral nerve in your lower back. This nerve controls sensations of fullness in the rectum. Sacral nerve stimulation also improves strength and coordination in the organs and muscles of your pelvic floor, helping you gain greater control of bowel movements.
The goal of a fistula repair is to break up an abnormal connection between the colon and other organs (fistula). Our depth of experience in colorectal surgery helps you avoid complications, so you can return to normal everyday functioning as quickly as possible.
Rectal prolapse repair
If pelvic floor disorders such as rectal prolapse cause your rectum to bulge out (protrude) through the anus, you may need a procedure to repair. During a repair procedure, we secure the rectum back in its proper place in your pelvis using a mesh sling or stitches (sutures). This can be done as an abdominal approach with a classic open, laparoscopic or robotic technique. It can also be done by a transanal approach.