Sphincter-saving rectal cancer surgery

Rectal cancer is often a complex problem that requires the expertise of multiple medical and surgical specialists. The University of Colorado Hospital has an experienced team that works together to formulate the best treatment plan for patients with rectal cancer.

When surgery is required, our goal is to minimize the chance of cancer recurrence, save the anal sphincter, and avoid a permanent colostomy whenever possible (see ostomy). Our experienced and specialty-trained colorectal surgeons allow most patients with rectal cancer to avoid a permanent colostomy.

Rectum and anus with surounding anatomy (diagram)

The external and internal anal sphincters are muscles that control the opening and closing of the anus. The external sphincter is a voluntary muscle; the internal sphincter is an involuntary muscle controlled by the autonomic nervous system.