The addition of an experienced practice specializing in colon and rectal surgery strengthens the ability of Greenville Health System (GHS) to treat a wide range of problems, from hemorrhoids to colorectal cancer.In spring 2008, GHS was pleased to announce that Greenville Colon and Rectal Associates joined the Department of Surgery, now comprising the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery. The colorectal surgery expertise of the division draws patients from Greenville, Asheville, Columbia, and areas throughout the region.
The practice started in the Upstate more than 20 years ago and has six colorectal surgeons: George Blestel, M.D.; Jay Crockett, M.D., FACS,; Patrick Culumovic, M.D., FACS; Cedrek McFadden, M.D., FACS; James Rex, M.D., FACS, FASCRS; and James Robbins, M.D., FACS, FASCRS. Each is fellowship trained in colon and rectal surgery.Although surgery is their main focus, these physicians help patients with nonsurgical concerns as well. They perform screenings for colorectal cancer and specialize in treatment of all ano-rectal conditions, from perianal dermatologic problems to hemorrhoids and functional disorders.
A History of InnovationAs part of GHS, these surgeons look forward to continuing to bring the latest in colorectal surgery techniques to the community. Their practice performed the first laparoscopic colectomy in the Upstate and continues to perform the majority of laparoscopic and minimally invasive colon resections for indications from diverticulitis to cancer.
Other innovations the practice has introduced to the Upstate include:
- Use of staplers to spare rectal muscle and avoid stomas in lower anterior resections for the removal of rectal cancers
- J-pouch (ileal pouch) rectal reconstruction surgery as an alternative for ileostomies in patients with ulcerative colitis and familial polyposis
- Use of endorectal ultrasound for staging of rectal cancer
- Implementation of a procedure for prolapse and hemorrhoids (PPH), an alternative to conventional hemorrhoid surgery with shorter, less painful recovery
Beyond surgery, the practice offers basic and advanced treatments for anal and rectal problems, from muscle relaxants and other medications to office-based procedures such as hemorrhoidal banding. The surgeons also are collaborating with GHS urogynecologist Jeffrey Garris, M.D., FACOG, FACS, on the establishment of a GHS incontinence clinic.
Involvement in Academics and ResearchDrs. Robbins, Rex, Crockett and Culumovic play an active role in the surgical training of GHS’ many residents. Dr. Culumovic, who completed his surgical residency at GHS, said his exposure to the colorectal surgery specialty at GHS led him to return to Greenville after completing his fellowship in Baltimore. Dr. Rex said there is enough clinical volume in colorectal surgery at GHS to support a future fellowship.
The surgeons also are busy with research. Surgical oncologist Steven Trocha, M.D., FACS, recently analyzed their cancer surgery results for a study presented at last year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. The research also was presented in June 2008 in a poster at the 10th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer in Barcelona, Spain.
The group is collecting specimens and supplying data for a University of Georgia study that involves benign polyp protein analysis. The surgeons will be privy to early results of this research.
For more information about colorectal surgery and care, or to refer a patient to the Colon and Rectal Surgery Division, which serves Greenville, Asheville, Columbia, and surrounding areas throughout the Southeast, call (864) 269-5500.