Colorectal Surgery

Colorectal Surgery is a field of medicine that includes a variety of surgical procedures that are performed to repair damage to the colon, rectum and anus caused by injury or disorders that affect the lower body region such as cancer, hernias etc.

Colorectal surgery might be recommended to treat various benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) colorectal conditions including colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), polyps, hernias, haemorrhoids and incontinence. If you suffer from colorectal cancer, you are likely to have surgery to remove the tumour.

The surgery can be performed either as an Open approach or a Laparoscopic (keyhole) approach. The Open approach is the traditional approach and is still very often used in patients with locally advanced cancers, in emergency situations and in patients with multiple medical problems. The Laparoscopic approach is usually offered as the first option for suitable patients and is currently the most utilised approach. The laparoscopic approach allows for much smaller wounds, faster postoperative recovery, and lesser post-operative pain.

Both surgical approaches require lengths of the colon to be freed up from the surrounding tissue. The segment of the colon containing the tumour is then removed together with the associated lymph nodes and sent for further microscopic examination.

What is Colonoscopy?

A Colonoscopy is a form of endoscopic investigation. It is essentially a ‘camera test’ whereby the internal lining of the colon and rectum are directly visualised using a flexible scope (‘camera’) that is inserted through the anus. Through the scope, a small forceps or a snare can be introduced to allow biopsies and removal of polyps. Averaging between 30 minutes to an hour, a colonoscopy procedure is also one of the methods for colorectal cancer screening.

During a colonoscopy, a long tube is inserted from the anus into the large intestine. A small video camera is attached to the segment that provides a live image of the internal system of the body. The doctors try to find any lumps and bulges on the surface or the formation of cysts and tumors. Biopsies are performed if suspicious-looking growths are found during the colonoscopy to determine the nature of the condition. If necessary, polyps or other types of abnormal tissue can be removed through the scope during a colonoscopy.

In Singapore, the Ministry of Health recommends colorectal cancer screening for an average risk individual to begin at age 50. However, individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer may need to start screening at an earlier age. There are a variety of symptoms that may warrant colonoscopy earlier. These symptoms include:

  • change in bowel habits
  • blood and or mucus in the stools
  • unexplained weight loss and/or appetite
  • abdominal bloating or pain

The preparation for a colonoscopy is fairly straightforward. Three days prior to the procedure, the patient needs to minimise the intake of fibre in the diet. This is to reduce the bulk of the faeces to allow a clear view of the colon during the scope. Depending on the timing of the colonoscopy, bowel cleansing medications will need to be taken either on the evening before the scope or on the morning of the scope. Bowel cleansing will require the patient to make approximately 5-10 trips to the toilet to empty the colon. Good cleansing is achieved when there is a minimal passage of solid or liquid stools.

For a colonoscopy performed with a well-cleansed colon and adequate polyp removal, the next scope can be performed in 5 years. However, the endoscopist may recommend for an earlier interval colonoscopy in circumstances such as inadequate colon cleansing, presence of multiple polyps and after removal of large polyps (usually 1cm and larger).

For more information, please contact our Surgery Clinic in Singapore at 6251 8884 or email

Thomson Surgical Centre
Thomson Medical Centre, #03-01
339 Thomson Road, Singapore 307677
WhatsApp: 8666 1646
Phone : 6251 8884
Fax: 6261 3632

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday: 8.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday: 8.30am – 1.00pm
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays

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