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Children and Adults With Colorectal Conditions Have New Resource at Rush

A new clinic at Rush University Medical Center will be one of few in the county to offer specialized care and alternative options for both adults and children to address disorders affecting the lower intestinal tract, including complex colorectal conditions.

“We work as a dedicated team to provide timely, comprehensive and compassionate care for adults and children with all types of disorders of the lower intestinal tract, including complex colorectal problems and treatment options pertaining to permanent colostomies,” said Bruce A. Orkin, MD, professor of surgery and chief of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Rush. “We believe in personalized care and rapid communication with our patients and our referring providers.”

The new Colon and Rectal Surgery Clinic at Rush, opening Jan. 9, includes a program for abdominal and pelvic health for men and women to address a multitude of often complex and difficult to manage abdominal and pelvic issues such as urinary and fecal incontinence, constipation, prolapse and other pelvic floor conditions.

The clinic also provides care for children with related problems, and offers a comprehensive physical therapy program specifically for children. It is one of such programs few in the country to offer a transitional treatment program for children that will continue through adulthood.

For young patients, the close integration of pediatric and adult services allows children to be cared for in the same facility and by the same team of physicians as long as needed, regardless of age. The expertise of a pediatric surgeon experienced with congenital abnormalities along with a pediatric-trained colorectal surgeon offer treatment approaches that can greatly reduce the physical and psychological challenges as these young patients mature and grow up, according to Orkin. Clinic physicians specialize in the early diagnosis and treatment and long-term care through adulthood for congenital intestinal and anorectal malformations, disorders of gastrointestinal function and motility, inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and genetic and inherited gastrointestinal conditions.

For patients with gastrointestinal cancers, medical specialists in gastroenterology, oncology, surgery, radiation oncology, pathology, psychosocial oncology and genetics provide a full spectrum of care. Genetic testing and family counseling are also available.The clinics provide a new outpatient service for patients considering surgery that includes creation of an ostomy (colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy) or who have an ostomy and would like further care and advice. This clinic provides pre-operative education and marking and after-surgery support. The service is staffed by a Certified Wound Ostomy Cancer Nurse and a colorectal surgeon. In some cases, the team can identify alternatives to a permanent ostomy.

The clinic will also be a resource for people with more common conditions such as pilonidal cysts, or those who need surgery for conditions such as rectal cancers.

The clinic will offer a full range of options such as:

  • Laparoscopic and robotic surgery for most colorectal surgical problems
  • Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) for large rectal polyps and early cancers
  • Treatment of locally advanced and metastatic colon, rectal and anal cancers
  • Management of inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and complicated anorectal disease
  • Treatment of acute and complicated diverticular disease
  • Definitive treatment for pilonidal disease
  • Ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for ulcerative colitis and familial polyposis

It is estimated that as many as 1.4 million persons in the United States suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the peak age of onset for IBD is 15 to 30 years old, although it may occur at any age. About 10 percent of cases occur in individuals younger than 18 years. Ulcerative colitis is slightly more common in males, whereas Crohn’s disease is marginally more frequent in women.

For more information, contact Mary Kraus at (312) 563-3521 or To schedule an appointment, please call (312) 942-7088.

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