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New procedure removes rectal tumors without abdominal surgery

March 17, 2011, DANVILLE - It is imperative all colorectal tumors are removed immediately upon discovery. Previously, this required complicated abdominal surgery, but now Geisinger Health System is one of only a handful of nationwide healthcare providers utilizing a new minimally invasive procedure called transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM), which removes rectal tumors without an abdominal incision.

“Aside from avoiding complex abdominal surgery, the benefits of TEM represent a major breakthrough in treating rectal tumors,” said Robert Khoo, M.D., FACS, colon and rectal surgeon at Geisinger Medical Center. “Typically TEM yields less bleeding, reduced risk of infection and post-op bowel obstruction, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery time.”

Because of there is no abdominal incision, most TEM patients return home just three to four hours after surgery. Patients are also are at a lower risk of a hernia, which can occur following abdominal surgery.

“With abdominal surgery, recovery can take up to six weeks,” Dr. Khoo said. “TEM allows patients to resume normal activities in as little as one to two weeks with minimal discomfort.”

Following surgery, a routine colonoscopy is recommended to ensure no new polyps or concerns arise. Currently, Dr. Khoo is performing the procedure at Geisinger Medical Center and training will be provided to colorectal surgeons across the Geisinger Health System, including those at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre.

“By implementing TEM throughout Geisinger, our patients benefit from the availability of a procedure that very few providers in this country are performing,” Dr. Khoo said. “With early detection and proper treatment through TEM, patients are more likely to recover faster from rectal tumor surgery.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2010 more than 140,000 cases of colon and rectal cancers were reported in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 50,000 people. TEM is designed to remove pre-cancerous polyps, consequently preventing many cases of rectal cancer.

About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development and implementation of innovative care models including ProvenHealth Navigator, an advanced medical home model, and ProvenCare ("warranty") program. The system serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 42 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit

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