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A new frontier: taTME

A pioneering technique is improving rectal cancer surgery

A groundbreaking, minimally invasive surgical treatment for rectal cancer called transanal total mesorectal excision (taTME) promises less pain and faster recovery times for patients. As the only hospital in the DC area to perform this innovative procedure, Sibley is leading the way to improved outcomes for its patients.

Blazing the trail are Haniee Chung, MD, vice director of global surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colorectal surgeon at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, and Martin Paul, MD, Johns Hopkins regional director of minimally invasive surgery.

Dr. Chung collaborates with Dr. Paul for this dual-approach procedure that uses an abdominal approach via laparoscopy and a pelvic/transanal approach through a transanal minimally invasive surgery platform. This technique allows surgeons to remove rectal cancers through the anus, if possible, rather than through the patient’s abdomen. If the tumor is too large to fit through the anus, the surgeons make a small incision in the abdomen.

For even experienced surgeons, removal of tumors in the lower rectum by either open or conventional laparoscopic methods is extremely challenging. “taTME allows for ease of access to otherwise difficult-to-define surgical planes in the pelvis,” says Dr. Chung. “It also increases efficiency and accuracy in identifying the cancer and performing an oncologically sound operation.” As a result, patients can expect:

  • Preserved bowel function
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Smaller incisions and less pain
  • Fewer complications

Patients who don’t meet the criteria for laparoscopy because of obesity, prior pelvic surgery or large tumor size are good candidates for taTME.

For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Chung, call 202-895-1440.

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