What education and skills does a Colon and Rectal Surgeon have?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Becoming A Surgeon.  Extensive Training

A colon and rectal surgeon is a physician with a university degree and a medical degree (M.D.).  Medical school is a four year education during which time the medical student studies all aspects of the human body and then participates in caring for patients.  Following graduation from medical school, the new physician enters a surgical residency.  Five years is now spent as a surgical intern and then resident, learning the basics of patient care and surgical care.  During the later years of the residency, surgical decision making and surgical technique are stressed.  During this training, the residents are evaluated after each rotation and also take yearly examinations which test the fund of knowledge.  After completion of training, the surgeon sits for written and oral board examinations.

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Colon And Rectal Surgical Fellowship

After the surgical residency is completed, a surgeon wishing to further specialize in diseases of the colon, rectum and anus enters a colon and rectal surgical fellowship.  This is a one year program during which time attention is focused on diseases and surgical decision making and surgical techniques related to the lower gastrointestinal tract.  This is an intense period of study and learning which is completed when the surgeon takes the written and oral colorectal surgical board examinations.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

Founded by Norman N. Hoffman M.D. in 1957, the surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates provide care to patients who have problems related to the colon, rectum or anus.  Care provided ranges from major surgical procedures for colon, rectal or anal cancer, diverticulitis, diseases of the pelvic floor such as enterocele to diseases of the anus such as hemorrhoids, fistulas and abscesses.  The surgeons use the newest interventional techniques of robotic or laparoscopic surgery as well as the traditional surgical techniques.  A large amount of time is spent caring for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  This may involve both medical and surgical treatment.

Most anorectal problems are cared for in the office setting.  Hemorrhoids can be treated with conservative measures such as stool softeners and ointments, injections (sclerotherapy), rubber band ligation or infrared coagulation.  Other problems can also be treated in the office.

An often asked question refers to the difference between a gastroenterologist and a colon and rectal surgeon.  While there is some overlap, surgeons can both diagnose and treat conditions affecting the colon, rectum and anus.  The two specialties work together quite often, especially in the area of inflammatory bowel disease, with the surgeon then finishing the treatment using surgical procedures if necessary.

The First Visit

While many patients have concerns about their exams and diagnoses, most find that the physicians and staff of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates make the experience smooth.  Patients find that their concerns are diminished as their understanding is expanded by talking with their doctor.  The physicians are Medicare providers and are preferred providers in most insurance plans.  You can schedule your confidential appointment by calling (310)273-2310.

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