Explore This Center

Using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions, the Colorectal Center provides patients with advanced and timely diagnosis of their condition as well as individualized, ongoing care for the entire spectrum of colorectal disease.

About This Program

The Colorectal Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital Digestive Healthcare Center offers comprehensive detection, treatment and management options for patients with acute and chronic colorectal conditions.

We treat patients for the full range of colorectal conditions including:

  • Anorectal and rectal conditions, including anal fissures, anal fistulas and rectal-vaginal fistulas
  • Cancer
  • Colorectal polyps, including large polyps and multiple instances
  • Crohn’s disease and colitis
  • Diverticular disease
  • Motility disorders
  • Pelvic floor disorders, including constipation and fecal incontinence
  • Significant colonic polyps

We treat patients with Crohn’s disease and colitis through the Crohn’s and Colitis Center.

After referral and initiation of therapy, we work closely with both the patient and the referring physician on long-term care plans to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Each patient’s treatment is overseen by a personal care team of colorectal specialists and includes:

  • Gastroenterologists
  • Colorectal surgeons
  • Gastrointestinal and interventional radiologists
  • Endoscopists
  • Oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Pathologists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurses

The care team works with both the patient and the referring physician to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.

Innovative Colorectal Cancer-Screening Technologies

The Colorectal Center offers the most advanced colon cancer screenings and treatments currently available. In addition to standard screening procedures, including colonoscopy, we offer patients access to cutting-edge techniques, some of which we have helped to pioneer, including: 

  • Virtual CT colonoscopy
  • Genetic testing patients who are at high-risk for colorectal cancer
  • Chromoendoscopy, a technique used to enhance imaging

The Center for Risk Analysis – Cancer Genetics offers genetic testing, genetic counseling and preventative treatments for high-risk patients with colon polyps and colorectal cancers. These technologies save lives by helping assess the patient’s risk for developing cancer, developing risk-reducing strategies and providing early diagnosis of cancer when it does occur.

Advanced Diagnostics and Treatment Options

We offer inpatients a quick turnaround and expert analysis of their test findings, 24 hours a day, for a range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Our endoscopists are available around the clock to confer with referring physicians.

Our diagnostic radiology team is composed of dedicated imaging specialists whose practice focuses specifically on GI scans. They are nationally recognized for expertise in all forms of sophisticated imaging, including:

  • CT - CAT scans
  • PET scans
  • MRI scans
  • GI interventional radiology

Minimally Invasive Treatment Options

Minimally invasive treatments often present additional options for patients who required traditional open surgery in the past. These new techniques have the benefit of faster recovery times, smaller surgical scars and greater nerve preservation. A leader in developing minimally invasive treatments, we were among the first hospitals in the region to offer:

  • laparoscopic colorectal surgery, surgery performed using a small camera that leaves small scars on the abdominal wall
  • Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM), scarless surgery from within the rectum that could remove polyps and tumors from the lower intestine
  • GI interventional radiology

Diverse Treatment Options for Pelvic Floor Disorders

Pelvic floor disorders are often under-reported and under-diagnosed because many patients feel uncomfortable talking about their symptoms or assume they can’t be corrected.

The Pelvic Floor Disorders Center offers patients sensitive evaluation of conditions such as:

  • Fecal incontinence
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Rectocele prolapse
  • Cystocele prolapse
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Anal pain
  • Pelvic/myofascial pain
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms

Contact the Pelvic Floor Disorders Center to schedule an appointment.

Leaders in Treating Colorectal Cancers

The Colorectal Center has extensive experience treating colorectal disorders and cancers. We treat colorectal and anal cancers with chemotherapy and/or radiation in the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers. Our patients benefit from the expertise of a highly skilled radiation oncology team that makes use of the latest multimodality treatments.

  • GI interventional radiology

Specialized Stoma Service and Care

Enterostomal therapy nurses assist in the care and instruction of patients with fistulas and draining wounds and stomas. Our nurses are certified in wound ostomy and continence.

Expertise in Treating Gastrointestinal Disorders

U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked Mass General among the best hospitals in the nation for treating gastrointestinal disorders. Our Magnet award-winning nursing staff offer excellence in care at every step of the patient experience.

Our surgeons perform some of the highest volumes of colorectal surgery and laparoscopic colorectal surgery in New England. All of the members of our world-renowned surgery staff belong to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery and have held leadership positions in preeminent surgical organizations.

Our colorectal surgeons have particular expertise related to the:

  • Intestinal tract
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Anal canal
  • Perianal area

Learn more about colorectal surgery in the Department of Surgery.

We are leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of primary motility and continence disorders and rectal/bowel problems that arise following surgery. We are a resource for patients who have had unsuccessful treatments and surgeries for conditions including diverticulitis and chronic anal disease.

Clinical Research Studies and Trials

Our physicians are active in clinical trials and research studies related to acute and chronic colorectal conditions, allowing us to bring our patients promising new treatments as quickly as possible.

Along with several area hospitals, we are part of a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Gastrointestinal Cancer. Our patients may benefit from being able to take part in this multimillion-dollar National Cancer Institute-funded research program.

Patients interested in participating in clinical trials can browse online for open trials.

One Call Coordinates Care

We provide patients and referring physicians with an experienced access coordinator, a clinician who is available to assess patients’ needs, coordinate appointments and begin the appropriate testing regimen.

Contact the Colorectal Center’s access coordinator.