Patient Education

Patient Procedure Education


The survival rates for colon and rectal cancer are growing higher every year because of life-saving tests like colonoscopy and early detection.

Colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to see your entire colon and look for signs of cancer or pre-cancer such as polyps. If a polyp is found, your doctor can remove the lesion which reduces your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

This procedure is the best way for early detection of cancer. Most often, the procedure is simple and routine; lasting around 30 minutes. You will be sedated and made comfortable; most people don’t even remember the procedure once they are fully awake.

During the procedure, your doctor will insert a thin, flexible scope through the anus and rectum and through your colon. This will allow the doctor to see the walls and lining of the colon and take any actions necessary to identify possible colon and rectal cancer.


What is Minimally Invasive Surgery? Our doctors have always believed one of the most important parts of jobs as physicians is the patient experience. Together, along with advances in medical research and new treatment options, the doctors at FWCRSA are better able to care for their patients using the most advanced surgical techniques, including Minimally Invasive Surgery or MIS. MIS uses small openings created in the abdomen instead of a large incision common of traditional invasive surgery techniques. Cameras and high-tech tools are inserted into the abdomen while the surgical team views the procedure on large monitors in the operating room.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery include:

  • Less trauma to surrounding tissues
  • Less need for pain medications post-procedure
  • Less bleeding
  • Less chance of infection, and
  • A faster recovery time- you get back to work and back to your daily life sooner


An anal fissure is a small tear in the anus that can cause pain or discomfort during bowel movements. Although, uncomfortable, and fissures are common and do not lead to more complications. They are common in both men and women of any age. Usually, the cause of an anal fissure is some type of injury to the lining of the anus. This can be caused by a severe stretch to the anus, constipation, repeated diarrhea, or childbirth. In some cases, they are caused by complications of other more serious conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain, burning or stinging during a bowel movement
  • Itching
  • Bleeding
  • Discharge


Bowel incontinence or Accidental Bowl Leakage is the inability for a person to control their bowel movements. It is a common problem and anyone can suffer from it but is most common in older adults. This condition is also more likely to affect women as a result of childbirth.

While lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, or other conservative options such as physical therapy are often the first line of defense, some cases may call for a surgical option.

One of the latest technologies which our physicians have found notable success for their patients is the utilization of Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy, delivered through the InterStim® System. Similar to a pacemaker, Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy uses an implantable system, that sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves. The therapy is reversible by turning off or surgically removing the neurostimulator.

For a printable educational brochure, click here.


Thousands of people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. Colon and rectal cancer can potentially be cured if diagnosed and treated in early stages. Signs and symptoms that may indicate cancer of the colon include:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Narrow stools
  • Anemia
  • Bloating, fullness or abdominal cramps
  • Feeling like the bowel does not empty completely
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Excessive fatigue

If you are experiencing any of these problems, call us immediately. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms now, you should not wait for them to appear: Colon and rectal cancer often begins with no symptoms at all. Early detection is the best approach, so it’s important to have regular screenings.


Diverticulitis occurs when there is inflammation and infection in one or more pouches that form the wall of the colon. This condition can be very painful and include other symptoms such as alternating diarrhea with constipation and chills or fever. Treatment of Diverticulitis will vary based on the severity of the symptoms and whether an infection is present. Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) has become a valuable tool in helping patients with this condition as it allows our physicians to remove the affected part of the colon through a small incision in the abdomen with minimal scarring and faster recovery time.


Hemorrhoids are vascular cushions that line the internal and external anal canal. A person may develop internal or external hemorrhoid disease. Internal hemorrhoid disease can present with painless bleeding or prolapse, or protrusion, of the internal hemorrhoids through the anal canal. External hemorrhoid disease can present with pain and swelling around the anal canal. Drs. Allen and Senter can evaluate these diseases for medical and surgical management if needed.

The causes of hemorrhoids can range from straining while passing stool caused by constipation or diarrhea, which can put pressure vascular cushions that can cause hemorrhoidal disease. Also, pregnancy and being overweight can cause additional strain on the pelvic region cause hemorrhoidal disease.

The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids are:

  • Bright red bleeding during bowel movement
  • Itching
  • Rectal pain


An anal abscess is an infected, puss-filled pocket located near the rectum and anus. These abscesses are usually caused by bacteria, fecal matter, or foreign matter that has clogged the anal glad. People with anal abscesses can develop fistulas as well. Fistulas are tunnels that lead from the infected gland to the infected area or abscess. However, at times, a fistula will lead directly out of the body; creating an opening near the anus on the buttock. People suffering from anal abscesses or fistulas often have the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Redness and swelling
  • Fatigue
  • General malaise with fever and chills


Pilonidal disease is a chronic skin infection in the crease between the buttocks. Often cysts occur under the skin in these areas and sometimes cause pain or infection. These cysts are often associated with dimples, hair growth, and tight clothing or sweating. Often, this disease goes on unnoticed and causes little interference with daily living. Occasionally, a cyst can become infected and a person may experience the following symptoms:

  • Redness or swelling
  • Pus or blood draining from the abscess
  • Pain when walking or sitting


Rectal prolapse – when part of the rectum slides outside the body; sometimes through the anus. There are three types of rectal prolapse:

  • Partial prolapse – when the rectal lining moves inside the colon and occasionally comes out of the body.
  • Complete prolapse – when the whole rectal lining slides out of place and can be outside the body when a person stands, walks, or all of the time.
  • Internal prolapse – when the wall of the rectum slides over itself much like a telescope. This type of prolapsed usually stays inside the body and is most common in infants and children.


Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease and are chronic inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract and are considered types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Common symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Rectal bleeding

While medical management including treatment with anti-inflammatory agents are the mainstay of treatment, some cases may call for a surgical option.

By utilizing MIS, Minimally Invasive Surgery, for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, Senter and Allen are able to remove parts of, or the entire colon through only very small incisions. MIS can also be used to perform proctocolectomies to make a pouch out of the small intestine called a “J-pouch” that allows for more normal gastrointestinal function in certain cases.

Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) is a sophisticated surgical technique offered by the physicians at FWCRSA. The benefits of MIS include smaller incisions, lessened chance of infection, less damage to tissues, and best of all-quicker recovery times than traditional open procedures.