Program Spotlight: Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery
Bruce Orkin, MD, newly appointed chief of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery, plans to build on Rush's reputation as a leader in the field.
"My goal is to make Rush the place to go for colorectal surgery — not just in Chicago, but in the region," he says. "We have a strong foundation that I believe will enable us to take the program to the next level."
Orkin came to Rush on March 1 after four years as chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery at Tufts Medical Center and co-director of the colorectal disorders center at Floating Hospital for Children. He and new recruit Joanne Favuzza, DO, joined Marc Brand, MD, in the section; a fourth surgeon will be hired later this year.
Under Orkin's direction, the program provides advanced surgical care for both adults and children with complex colorectal problems, with an emphasis on minimally invasive approaches such as transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) and robotic surgery.
State-of-the-Art Surgical Care
Orkin has extensive experience with TEM, having performed more than 300 of these procedures on patients with rectal polyps and early rectal cancers, as well as carcinoid tumors and other lesions of the rectum.
Compared to low anterior resection — a transabdominal procedure — TEM typically causes far less pain and disruption to bowel function. And because it is done entirely through the anus, patients are able to return to normal activities more rapidly.
Orkin also brings his expertise in robotic colorectal surgery to the Medical Center; he was the first in Boston to perform robotic colorectal surgery and chaired the Robotic Surgery Steering Committee at Tufts. At Rush, Orkin, Brand and Favuzza are using the da Vinci robotic surgical system to treat everything from colon and rectal cancers to diverticular disease.
Other procedures they perform include the following:
- Sacral nerve stimulation for fecal incontinence
- Perineal flap reconstructions
- Single-port laparoscopic procedures, including resections and colectomies
- Total colectomies with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis reconstruction for ulcerative colitis and familial polyposis
- Advanced procedures for bowel preservation in patients with Crohn's disease
- Pelvic prolapse reconstructions
Pediatric Problems: Surgical Solutions
In addition, the team now offers pediatric colorectal surgical services to address the unique needs of children, adolescents and teenagers with congenital and acquired conditions of the colon and rectum — including IBD, dysmotility, fecal incontinence, Hirschsprung's disease and anorectal malformations.
Orkin is one of a handful of pediatric colorectal surgeons in the country. "It's a challenging population, and not a lot of surgeons who train in adult colorectal surgery are interested in treating children," he says. "But having a joint pediatricadult colorectal surgery program truly benefits these patients. As youngsters, they get the expertise of surgeons who do a high volume of colorectal procedures, and then they are able to seamlessly transition to adult care."
A Patient-Centered Approach
In late summer or early fall, the team will move into a new 5,000-square-foot colorectal surgery center in the Professional Building. Modeled after the Rush University Cancer Center, the center will offer state-of-the-art surgical services in a space that is patient friendly and facilitates collaboration between specialists, says Orkin, who is also spearheading the creation of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary center at Rush for IBD and working with Brand, Favuzza and physiatrist Sheila Dugan, MD, to revitalize Rush’s Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health.