May 11, 2005 13:45 ET Presents: Laparoscopic Right Hemicolectomy a Minimally Invasive Management of Colon Cancer

Live CME Webcast: May 18th, 2005 at Noon (CDT) 1:00 pm (EDT) 17:00 UTC

BIRMINGHAM, AL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 11, 2005 -- UAB Hospital (University of Alabama at Birmingham) is using the latest advances in surgical and radiologic technology to treat colorectal cancer. Until recently, colorectal surgery required a large incision and an extended recovery period. View a Laparoscopic Right Hemicolectomy in a live webcast May 18th at 12 Noon CDT / 17:00 UTC on

Once a cancer is detected, partial colectomy is often recommended. In traditional colectomy, surgeons make an abdominal incision large enough to allow the tumor and surrounding tissues to be fully exposed and excised; recovery takes 4 to 6 weeks.

Compared with the open procedure, laparoscopically assisted colectomy results in smaller incisions, less postoperative pain, less postoperative narcotic use, slightly shorter hospital stays, and similar complication rates and oncologic outcomes.

The concept of laparoscopy is not new, says oncologic gastrointestinal surgeon and Cancer Center scientist Martin J. Heslin. "Diagnostic laparoscopy for abdominal metastases was first described in the 1990s. It is only with the advent of new technology, however, that laparoscopic colectomy has become feasible."

During the procedure, the surgeon inflates the abdomen with carbon dioxide to lift the abdominal wall away from internal organs. "Ports, which contain valves allowing insertion of instruments but preventing escape of carbon dioxide, are inserted, followed by a laparoscope, which projects images of the abdominal cavity onto operating room monitors," Heslin says, adding that once the colon is mobilized, the surgeon makes a smaller incision and removes the tumor.

Colon cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in the US, with an estimated 147,500 new cases diagnosed in 2003. Currently, endoscopy is the most utilized and effective screening tool for colon cancer, providing excellent visualization of the colonic epithelium without radiation exposure. In addition, Heslin says during endoscopy, polyps or suspicious lesions can be biopsied and removed for study.

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