Patients come to the Colorectal Center at Lankenau Medical Center from around the world to receive colorectal procedures and treatment for a wide range of colorectal conditions and diseases.

Our team, including Drs. John and Gerald Marks, who have pioneered significant breakthroughs that are now considered worldwide standards of care for colorectal cancer, has extensive expertise in minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic-assisted colorectal surgery. Traditional treatment approaches would leave patients facing the need for a permanent colostomy yet with minimally invasive techniques perfected by our team, patients are often able to avoid this measure altogether. Our goal is always to spare colon and sphincter function with little to no scarring, which means better outcomes and higher quality of life for patients after surgery.

Dr. John Marks has performed more than 2,000 laparoscopic colon resections.

Along with treatment and surgical care for patients with colon and rectal cancers, we treat other disorders of the small intestines, colon, rectum and anus. Patients may also be referred to us for medical oncology (chemotherapy) and/or radiation therapy.

Colorectal surgical procedures

We specialize in minimally invasive surgical procedures. Our colorectal surgeons are experts in laparoscopic and robotic-assisted colorectal procedures to remove tumors and cancerous cells. These procedures can reduce pain and scarring, minimize blood loss and recovery time and lower the risk of complications. The patients we treat are more likely to retain normal function and avoid colostomy bags.

90 to 95 percent of colorectal surgeries at the Colorectal Center are performed laparoscopically.

Surgical approaches include:

  • Ileo-anal J-pouch – A surgical technique that removes disease and creates an artificial rectum, allowing fecal (bowel) control
  • Interstim® Therapy System – A surgically implanted device used to help control and reduce fecal incontinence
  • Colonic J-pouch technique – A J-shaped reservoir surgically created out of patient’s own large intestine to improve function and fecal control after rectal cancer surgery
  • Robotic-assisted colorectal surgery – Advanced technology that enables surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control, even within the confines of the pelvis
  • Transanal hemorrhoidal dearterialization (THD) – An outpatient surgical technique for hemorrhoids to minimize discomfort

Sphincter preservation at the Colorectal Center is 93 percent vs. the national average of 40 to 60 percent.

Because of our global reputation as an innovator in colorectal surgery procedures, Lankenau Medical Center attracts colorectal surgeons from around the world to study and learn new robotic techniques from our expert surgeons.

Colorectal cancer treatment options

Accurate diagnosis is essential to choosing the best treatment for each type and stage of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer treatment options include:

  • taTME procedure for rectal cancer – Our surgeons have high-volume experience in this minimally invasive technique—which was first performed at Lankenau—that removes rectal cancer without the need for abdominal incisions.
  • Transanal abdominal transanal radical proctosigmoidectomy (TATA) – Conceived by Dr. John Marks, this surgical procedure removes colorectal cancer and preserves sphincter function, preventing the need for a colostomy bag.
  • Single-port surgery – With just one incision usually less than two inches long, our surgeons can remove patients’ abdominal disease and perform a colectomy to speed recovery and minimize scarring.
  • Marks-Mohiuddin method – Lankenau’s own Dr. Gerald Marks’ pioneering colorectal surgery techniques led to an historic collaboration with radiation oncologist Dr. Mohammed Mohiuddin in the early 1970s. This preoperative radiation treatment strategy for rectal cancer promotes sphincter preservation and has allowed 93 percent (as compared to the national average of 40 to 60 percent) of our patients to avoid a colostomy bag.
  • Multidisciplinary rectal cancer care – As an innovator in the multidisciplinary approach to rectal cancer, our colorectal surgeons collaborate with our medical and radiation oncology teams to offer individualized treatment for each patient to fight colorectal cancer, maintain the highest quality of life and avoid a colostomy bag.

State-of-the-art facilities and a healing environment

At the Colorectal Center you’ll also find unsurpassed amenities such as private waiting and reception areas, modern exam rooms with adjoining private bathrooms, and patient education stations to ensure you experience the utmost comfort and privacy throughout your visit.

Surgical patients are admitted to a dedicated inpatient floor, staffed by specially trained nurses skilled in postoperative colorectal care.

The internationally renowned rectal cancer program at Lankenau Medical Center is first in the Philadelphia region and 12th in the nation to earn accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), a program developed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) to improve the care of rectal cancer patients across the country.

Clinical care, scientific research and physician education

The Colorectal Center at Lankenau Medical Center serves as a laboratory for the exploration, development and clinical application of advanced technology with emphasis on minimally invasive procedures. The center also provides a fellowship and advanced postgraduate educational programs for surgeons and multidisciplinary specialists, as well as informational services for health care personnel and the public, which includes primary and secondary prevention. 

To schedule an appointment with a colorectal specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.