Common Problems Not Commonly Discussed
Awareness of minimally-invasive treatments can help patients face colorectal disease
“It’s not something people want to talk about in the grocery store,” says Syl Alan Lord, MD, of Metro Surgical, PC, with a laugh. He’s talking about things he deals with every day—conditions and diseases of the colon.
Board certified in general surgery and colon and rectal surgery, Dr. Lord has probably heard it all during his more than two decades as a Savannah physician. He understands it’s not easy to discuss, but with advances in minimally-invasive robotic surgical procedures and colon cancer screening, there’s no reason to suffer in silence. Some of the common conditions that Dr. Lord treats include:
- Diverticulitis – A pocket or pouch that develops on the wall of the colon, called diverticula, can become perforated, which can then lead to an infection, causing pain, bloating, nausea, or fever
- Hemorrhoids – When venous pressure weakens the veins in the anal and lower rectum areas, they can swell and prolapse (slip forward or down), causing pain and possibly bleeding
- Rectal pain or bleeding – This can have a variety of causes, including hemorrhoids or anal fissures, which are small tears in the lining of the anal canal
- Abscesses and fistulas – Abscesses are infected gland sites, filled with pus. If an abscess bursts or decompresses itself into the nearest structure, it will cause a fistula, an abnormal connection between the rectum and the skin or another organ
- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – These are types of inflammatory bowel disease, where inflammation of the digestive tract can lead to abdominal pain and other potentially debilitating symptoms
While many cases of the conditions above can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes, the most severe cases must be treated surgically. Dr. Lord treats many of his surgical cases using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, an advanced, minimally-invasive approach that gives patients a quicker recovery and less post-operative pain.
Through his years of practice, when Dr. Lord desired a second opinion for his patients, he would send them to Mark Blankenship, MD. Now, the two physicians enjoy working together at Metro Surgical, PC.
“Dr. Blankenship has long been considered the most cutting edge and best GI surgeon in the region and we’ve always had a good working relationship,” Lord says. “I was happy to have this chance at joining up with him.”
Both Dr. Lord and Dr. Blankenship encourage patients in Savannah to be up front about any symptoms they have.
“People would rather not talk about their colon,” Lord says. “But I think more people are coming around now that they see the options that are available—not only with colorectal surgery, but with colon cancer screening as well. These advances are saving lives and making a huge difference.”