Savannah colorectal surgeon specializes in minimally-invasive approaches to treat colon cancer, other conditions

Dr. Syl Alan Lord

Specialty: General SurgeonDr. Alan Lord
Sub-specialty: Colon and rectal surgery

Board certified: General Surgery and Colon and Rectal Surgery

Office Location:
Metro Surgical, PC
5354 Reynolds Street, STE 202
Savannah, Ga. 31405
912-826-4057
 

Education: 
Undergraduate at Georgia Southern University
Medical School at the Medical College of Georgia
Surgery residency at Memorial Health
Colon and Rectal surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center

 

SJ/C: Why did you decide to become a surgeon?

I hadn’t planned to become a surgeon. I was actually going to do anesthesia. I matched in Gainesville, Fla., at their anesthesia program, but you had to do a preliminary year or internship in something before that. I did a year of general surgery here because it was closer to Statesboro and I wanted to be close to home for a little bit. I totally loved doing surgery. I went off to do anesthesia in Florida, and I didn’t like it and discovered I really missed surgery.  There was an opening up here so I finished my anesthesia year to fulfill my obligation and then came back up here to do a general surgery residency.

SJ/C: How did you get into the track of colon and rectal surgery?

When I was in Savannah training there weren’t many sub-specialists and there were not any colon and rectal surgeons. I wanted to come back here because I knew there was a need. I also thought maybe as time went by I could focus on small anorectal cases and endoscopy. However, I find I am still enjoying the more challenging cases.

SJ/C: What are some of the more common procedures that you do?

I do a lot of surgeries for diverticulitis and a lot of surgeries for colon cancer and colon polyps. I trained in minimally-invasive surgery, which was laparoscopic surgery, so I did a lot of laparoscopic colon and rectal surgery. About three years ago, I started training on the da Vinci Surgical System and that’s been my real area of interest. That’s what I’ve enjoyed the most. Colon and rectal surgeons do a lot of anorectal surgery for hemorrhoids, fissures and fistulas and also colonoscopies for screening and diagnosis.

SJ/C: Over the course of your 23 years, how have advances in technology helped you as a surgeon?

The biggest advancement that I’m excited about has been the robotic surgery for a lot of different reasons. One is that patients recover quicker and they have less post-op pain. You have more avenues of control as the surgeon. You control the camera. You control three different working arms. Also, you are able to do minimally-invasive surgery with a robotic wrist. The laparoscope has just the straight sticks without the wrist manipulation. The visualization is three-dimensional on a robot, like what you see normally, instead of the two-dimensional laparoscopic screens that I’ve been used to. We are able to see the anatomy much more clearly and truly see anatomy that we’ve not been able to see before.

SJ/C: Where do you see the future of colon and rectal surgery going?

I think robotics will dramatically impact abdominal surgery and thoracic surgery also. As the robots continue to evolve and the younger generation of surgeons is trained on them that will be a revolution in surgery over the next decade. Also, as the robot continues to evolve to single-site surgery and going in with a single port to do a lot of work through a single port rather than different ports will be another evolution. As they begin to incorporate imaging into what we are looking at from the console that will bring in another dimension. All those things are on the horizon in the foreseeable future. It’s exciting technology.

SJ/C: Do you have a moment where you recall ‘This is why I became a doctor’?

When patients come in petrified about having a cancer, I am able to sit down with them, map out a course of action and then operate on them. When they come through realizing it’s something they can handle and get through, that’s a great feeling. Those are the times when you really realize you are doing something worthwhile and make some of the hassles of medicine a little less important.

SJ/C: What advice do you often find yourself sharing with your patients?

I think the biggest piece of advice is staying up to date with screening. Colon cancer is the one cancer that is almost completely preventable – either by finding the polyp before it has a chance to turn into cancer or finding the cancer before it has a chance to metastasize. One of the biggest impacts that we have as physicians in general is screening patients appropriately and finding things before they become a problem. That’s what I preach to my family and to patients as well.

 

Family: Married with two children

Hobbies/Interests: Kite surf, skateboard and spend time with my family

  • St. Joseph's Hospital Campus: 11705 Mercy Blvd., Savannah, GA 31419, (p) 912-819-4100
  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
  • Find us on:

St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

Candler Hospital Campus: 912-819-6000