Posted on: February 4, 2016

A world first for St Mark’s

A team at St Mark’s Hospital has achieved a world first by developing a revolutionary surgical technique,
transforming the lives of patients with large, potentially cancerous rectal polyps.

The procedure makes it easier and safer to remove these polyps, enabling patients to avoid major surgery and reduce the likelihood of them being left with a stoma bag. Led by Professor Brian Saunders, consultant gastroenterologist, and Mr Janindra Warusavitarne, consultant surgeon, the team developed a procedure called Transanal Submucosal Endoscopic Resection (TASER).

The technique combines the skills of a therapeutic endoscopist and a laparoscopictrained surgeon to create a minimally invasive way of removing rectal polyps. Under general anaesthesia a tube is passed into the rectum. This allows three special operating instruments to be used simultaneously with the surgeon and endoscopist working alongside each other.

The polyp is identified, assessed and then lifted away from the underlying bowel wall by a fluid injection before being removed with an endoscope. The largest polyp that the team has removed was 18 cm.


Brian Saunders explains:

“When polyps grow larger they give patients severe symptoms and are likely to become cancerous, therefore they must be completely removed. Traditionally, this would involve major surgery that could result in some patients having to live with a stoma bag attached to the abdominal wall to collect waste.

“What the team at St Mark’s has been able to achieve is to combine the specialist skills of our clinicians to work together and produce a better outcome for the patient.

“The results from the first 20 patients have been hugely encouraging with none needing a stoma bag and with short hospital stays and rapid recovery. We are really excited about this new technique which will radically transform the lives of patients with large polyps.”

If you would like more information about bowel cancer, polyps or the research conducted at St Mark’s, please contact us.