A colorectal surgeon has a particular interest in diseases of the colon and rectum. To become proficient in the treatment and management of these conditions, a colorectal surgeon must undergo training in both general surgery and advanced training in problems of the lower digestive tract. A colorectal surgeon may also sometimes be known as a proctologist.
A general surgery residency program generally includes 5 to 6 years of training after the completion of a 4-year medical school program. Specialized programs that a general surgeon must undergo to become a colon and rectal surgeon generally take 1 to 2 more years. In all, a colorectal surgeon has undergone a minimum of 14 years of formal classroom education and practical training before becoming certified.
A colorectal surgeon that is certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery must have proficiency in diagnosing and treating the following conditions:
- Anorectal conditions
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Colonic neoplasms
- Endoscopy of the colon and rectum
- Intestinal and anorectal physiology for management of
In addition, a colorectal surgeon may also perform regular screening exams, such as sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, for colorectal cancer and other digestive disorders.