Rectal Cancer Surgery

Clinical Services: Colon and Rectal Surgery
Upper East Side
520 East 70th Street, Starr Pavilion, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10021
(646) 962-2270
Lower Manhattan
156 William Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10038
(646) 962-2270

At Weill Cornell Medicine, we understand that rectal cancer treatment may be a scary or overwhelming process for you and your caregiver. Our team personalizes your rectal cancer treatment — as well as promotes your comfort and quality of life. Your emotional and physical well-being are our top priorities.

Your rectal cancer treatment team may include oncologists (doctors who specialize in cancer), radiation oncologists (doctors who specialize in radiation cancer treatment) and colon and rectal surgeons. These doctors work together to develop the best treatment plan for your specific condition.

The Weill Cornell Medicine Colon and Rectal Surgery Division provides the most advanced surgical treatments for rectal cancer. Internationally recognized as experts in treating colon cancer at all stages, our surgeons have extensive experience performing a wide range of surgical techniques to treat rectal cancer.

Why Choose Weill Cornell Medicine?

Proven leadership and exemplary results: Our surgeons are leaders in rectal cancer surgical treatments from laparoscopic and robotic techniques to open procedures in cases of very advanced tumor.

Learn more about the leading research by Weill Cornell Medicine surgeons about robotic rectal cancer resection.

Compassionate, individualized rectal cancer surgical treatment: Our doctors and surgeons evaluate each case individually. Our surgeons work closely with other specialists to determine the stage (extent) and exact location of your rectal cancer. This is a very important step in determining the most effective surgical treatment plan for you.

After evaluating your specific condition and overall health and lifestyle goals, your colon and rectal surgeon will tell you about the best surgical options for you. You will discuss what to expect during and after the surgery, as well as what other treatments are recommended, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

As our patient, you will be assigned a nurse and care coordinator to help you throughout the entire process. Your nurse will be available to answer questions and prepare you for your surgery. Your care coordinator will manage your appointments and other details. You can directly contact your nurse and care coordinator at any point.

Multidisciplinary care: When you choose Weill Cornell Medicine, you have access to a network of doctors and specialists. Your surgeon will work closely with other members of your care team, including your oncologist and radiation oncologist.

In addition to your cancer care team, you have the option to receive additional support and expert guidance from the physicians at the Weill Cornell Medicine Integrative Health and Well-Being Program and Department of Psychiatry. You also have access to nutrition counseling, social work services, rehabilitation care and support groups.

Weill Cornell Medicine partners with NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the top hospital systems in New York City and the U.S.

Conditions We Treat

The rectum is the organ that connects the colon to the anus. At Weill Cornell Medicine, our surgeons have extensive training, experience and expertise in surgically removing cancer from the rectum.

There are many surgical treatments and techniques available for treating rectal cancer. Our surgeons will offer the best options for your long-term health and quality of life. You will discuss the benefits, risks and the specifics of what to expect for each surgical option.

Surgical Treatments for Rectal Cancer

The type of surgical treatment performed depends on the size and location of the cancer, as well as other factors. Several times before your procedure, you and your doctor will discuss the procedure, its benefits, its risks and what to expect.

Local transanal resection or excision: This procedure removes early-stage rectal cancer from the lower rectum using tools that are inserted through the rectum. In some cases, some surrounding rectal tissue is removed as well.

Transanal endoscopic surgery: This procedure removes larger-sized tumors that may be located where it is difficult to remove through local transanal resection. The surgeon uses an endoscope (a thin tube with a light) to better see and remove the tumor.

Anterior resection: This procedure treats cancerous tumors located in the upper rectum. The surgeon removes part of the rectum that contains the tumor and then reattaches the remaining portion of the rectum to the colon.

Low anterior resection: This procedure treats cancerous tumors located in the middle and lower rectum. The surgeon removes the entire rectum. The colon is then attached to the anus and the surgeon may also create a small pouch in the colon to collect fecal matter (excrement).

Abdominoperineal resection: This procedure treats cancerous tumors located in the lower rectum. The surgeon removes the rectum, as well as the anus and sphincter muscles.

What to Expect During Your Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine

Colon surgery needs to be done on a clean and empty colon. During the day before your surgery, you will follow a special diet and may need to use laxative drinks to get all of the stool out of your colon. This is similar to the bowel prep used before a colonoscopy.

At Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, we support our patients and their loved ones throughout rectal cancer surgical treatment. Learn more about what to expect when preparing for your surgery and during your stay.

Make an Appointment

Whether you visit us virtually through a video visit or you see us in person, you can be assured that we will deliver the highest standards of care with compassion. Our team has taken every step to keep our facilities safe for you to continue your care. Learn more about our safety measures and the changes we’ve made to enhance your patient experience.

If you would like a remote second opinion, we can connect you directly with expert physicians and specialists at the Weill Cornell Medicine Colon and Rectal Surgery Division. They will review your individual situation, answer your questions and provide you with information you can share with your family and local practitioner. You can then decide to come to our facilities for treatment or choose to stay in your hometown and receive treatment locally. Learn more at WCM OnDemand Second Opinion.

To request an appointment, please fill out our form. Our staff will help you find the physician who best fits your individual medical needs.

Meet Our Surgeons

The surgeons at the Weill Cornell Medicine Colon and Rectal Surgery Division offer patients the highest level of safety and care. As a top-ranked academic medical center, you have access to our extensive network of specialists who provide seamless care throughout your treatment — to promote long-term physical and mental health.

Our Doctors
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Kelly A. Garrett, M.D. Profile Photo
Colon and Rectal Surgery  
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Daniel H. Hunt, MD, FACS Profile Photo
Colon and Rectal Surgery  
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Lea Lowenfeld, M.D. Profile Photo
Colon and Rectal Surgery  
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Fabrizio Michelassi, M.D. Profile Photo
Colon and Rectal Surgery  
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Jeffrey W. Milsom, M.D. Profile Photo
Colon and Rectal Surgery  
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