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Areas of Expertise

Laparoscopic Colon and Rectal Surgery

Dr. Haas is one of the recognized experts in the specialty of minimally invasive laparoscopic colon and rectal surgery. He has performed over 750 cases making him one of the highest volume surgeons in the world. Dr. Haas is actively involved in the promotion of modern and innovative techniques to enhance patient safety and recovery through research and clinical trials. He serves as a preceptor to train and educate surgeons, fellows and residents to help them gain exposure and competency with these techniques and skills.

During minimally invasive laparoscopic colon surgery a high magnification digital camera and specialized surgical instruments are used to enable the surgery to be completed through small incisions. All the major maneuvers previously done through “open” surgery with a large scar across the belly are performed through tiny dime-sized incisions. Because surgical trauma is greatly reduced and the scar is much smaller with this advanced technique, patients have significantly less pain and a quicker return to normal intestinal and overall physical activity.

Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

Scar following Laparoscopic Surgery

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Single-Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS)

Also, known as “scarless surgery”, SILS is the most recent breakthrough in the arena of minimally invasive, laparoscopic colon surgery. Only a few specialists in the world offer this technique to their patients for the treatment of colon diseases. The SILS technique is very beneficial for qualified candidates. Instead of one large incision or multiple smaller ones, this technique involves one single, small incision, which is “hidden” through the navel.

The most obvious benefit for the patient is the lack of apparent scar tissue. The small 2 to 3 centimeter incision is placed at the naval and the scar is barely visible when healed. This is in stark contrast to traditional open colon surgery in which a 12 to 16 inch incision across the abdomen is required.

Since the entire colon surgery is performed through a single one-inch scar, additional potential benefits include diminished post-operative pain and lower risk of wound infections and hernias. The post-operative recovery time is noticeably shorter, making the return to normal life much quicker for the patient.

Dr. Haas and his research team are currently accruing patients in an important clinical trial to further evaluate the benefits of this technique.

Single Incision Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

Single Incision Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

Robotic Surgery

Only a handful of surgeons worldwide are using robotic surgery to help preserve sexual ability and bladder control for patients with colorectal cancers.

Dr. Haas and his colleagues use the daVinci™ robot to treat diseases and cancers found in the very narrow constraints of the pelvis, including rectal and anal cancers and diverticulitis.

“Colorectal surgeons are very excited about this technique, once they see what it can do,” said Dr. Eric Haas, a colorectal surgeon in the Texas Medical Center who trains surgeons worldwide on this procedure. “Using the robot, the improvement over traditional surgery and laparoscopic surgery is unbelievable in regards to precision, dexterity and visualization.”

The small, narrow pelvis houses many critical structures including blood vessels and nerves that surgeons must preserve to protect a patient’s quality of life. Using standard surgical techniques, surgeons must give many of their patients colostomies in order to remove all of the cancer or disease when it involves the lowest portion of the colon called the rectum.

“But with the tiny robotic hands and 10x high-definition magnification, we are able to do incredibly delicate and complicated procedures in this very confined space of the pelvis,” said Haas.

Robotic surgical systems consist of an ergonomically designed surgeon’s console, a patient-side cart with four interactive robotic arms, a high-performance vision system and proprietary instruments. Powered by state-of-the-art robotic technology, the surgeon’s hand movements are scaled, filtered and seamlessly translated into precise movements of the utilized instruments.

The robotic surgical system cannot be programmed, nor can it make decisions on its own. The robotic surgical system requires that every surgical maneuver be performed with direct input from the surgeon.

When procedures are performed in this minimally invasive fashion, many patients are able to avoid the need for a colostomy and the chances are much higher that sexual function and bladder control will be preserved, greatly improving the patient’s quality of life. It has been shown that there are trends in achievement of better sexual function and bladder control following surgery performed robotically. This may result in greatly improved quality of life following surgery.

Depending on the patient’s disease, Haas will make a tiny one to two inch incision for the procedure. The procedure takes longer than traditional open surgery, but the patient’s recovery time is much faster and pain associated with the procedure is dramatically reduced.

Advances with robotic surgical systems in minimally invasive surgery are actively being pursued by Dr. Haas and his team of clinical research faculty. Patients benefit from these updated procedures in many ways, including a faster recovery period and minimization of blood loss and scarring.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Eric Haas

If you would like to learn more about procedures offered by Dr. Eric Haas, or if you would like to schedule a consultation here at our practice to talk more about your options, please contact us today.

Read published articles by Dr. Haas

Robotic Surgery

Dr. Haas Performing Surgery

Colorectal Diseases