What We Offer Our Patients
When confronting colorectal or anorectal canceror any serious illnessthere are many reasons why a university-affiliated medical center like Columbia makes the best sense.
The colorectal care center employs a multidisciplinary team approach, drawing upon the expertise of clinicians in many specialties.
A gastroenterologist is the most common starting point for patients, diagnosing a colorectal problem and initiating a medical evaluation and treatment process that brings in multiple other clinicians.
The surgeon is called on to remove precancerous polyps and malignant tumors and to correct structural abnormalities.
Patients rarely meet their pathologist, but he or she is a critical member of the treatment team, providing information on a tumor's type and severity, information vital to determining post-surgical therapy.
Following surgery to remove colorectal cancer, medical and radiation oncologists prescribe and monitor chemotherapy and radiation therapy to eliminate spread of the disease.
Nutritionists, physical therapists, social services and financial counselors, even alternative therapy practitioners, are on staff to provide additional support for the patient and their family; both during the hospital stay, and afterward during outpatient follow up care.
Columbia employs specialists in virtually every field of modern medicine.
Here it is common to find surgeons with advanced subspecialty training following completion of their general surgical residency.
Specialized-care nurses are also on staff to offer assistance with preoperative advice and postoperative teaching.
These members of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Society are invaluable resources for support and information, including stoma appliance handling and wound care.
The sheer volume of cases at the medical center facilitates a level experience not commonly found in the community hospital setting. With such experience comes increased competence.
Managing colorectal and anorectal disorders in a medical center setting provides more options for treatment.
Here, experienced colorectal surgeons have greater familiarity with the diagnosis and treatment of rarer disorders.
Having a large staff of skilled clinicians available also provides advantages to patients.
During certain operative procedures, for instance, two teams of surgeons may participate in one operation, one team operating within the abdomen, a second team in the perineal region below.
Such a "two team" approach allows for greater care and meticulousness in surgical technique yet speeds the completion of the surgery.
Access to Leading-Edge Technology
Another important consideration in selecting a medical facility is availability state-of-the-art equipment.
Not only should MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography) scan and PET scan (positron emission tomography) technology be readily accessible, but additional specialized equipment to aid or alter therapy should also be available.
For instance, transrectal ultrasound, a non-invasive procedure where sound waves are used to help determine the depth of a cancerous lesion, can steer clinicians to the best course for treatment. Anal ultrasound, anal manometry and pudendal nerve terminal motor latency are all evaluations which can guide treatment for fecal incontinence.
Biofeedback techniques are an important part of the strategy to treat this disabling condition.
Defecography and colonic transit studies are radiologic tests that assist in the evaluation of constipation.
These and other important investigative tools are vital for the optimal diagnosis and treatment of complex disorders.
The newest minimally-invasive surgical techniques are most frequently offered in the medical center setting, where the latest equipment for the operating room, medical centers like NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia can offer patients all of the benefits that laparoscopic surgery provides, including less postoperative pain and, therefore, less pain medication, faster healing times for a quicker return home, and smaller, less noticeable scars after healing.
Access to Clinical Trials
Affiliation with a major academic institution, such as Columbia University, provides additional long-term benefits to patients Including ongoing institutional research.
Patients have access to new protocols and drugs nearing approval and adoption for standard of care that can mean the difference in survival to those facing the most serious illnesses.