Explore This Program

About the Program

Located within a world-class academic medical center, the Colorectal Surgery Program in the Division of Gastrointestinal & Oncologic Surgery at  Massachusetts General Hospital offers state-of-the-art surgical services for conditions affecting the colon, rectum, intestinal tract and perianal area.

Leaders in Colorectal Surgery

Our colorectal surgeons specialize in performing colon and rectal surgery. This specialization requires rigorous advanced training and a highly focused clinical practice dedicated to colorectal disease management. Our surgeons are board-certified, Harvard Medical School-affiliated physicians who perform some of the highest volumes of colorectal surgery and laparoscopic colorectal surgery in New England. Research demonstrates that high-volume experience results in improved outcomes for patients. In addition to holding leadership positions in preeminent surgical organizations, each of our surgeons is a member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery.

Multidisciplinary Colorectal Care

As part of our approach to care, we work closely with specialists from the Digestive Healthcare Center, Pelvic Floor Disorders Center and Cancer Center, as well as:

  • Endoscopists
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Gastrointestinal and interventional radiologists
  • Gynecologists
  • Neurologists
  • Oncologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Other colorectal specialists throughout Mass General

Whether your condition requires care from one specialist or an entire team, we work together to develop a personalized care plan to treat your condition.

Expert Care, Close to Home

Patients who live north of Boston have the option to receive surgical care for colorectal conditions closer to home. Our community surgery team provides comprehensive, accessible surgical care to patients in Danvers and Salem, MA—two communities north of Boston.

Learn more about community surgery

Conditions We Treat

Mass General is a major referral center for the full range of colorectal conditions, such as:

  • Anorectal and rectal conditions, including anal fissures, anal fistulas and rectal-vaginal fissures
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diverticular disease, including diverticulitis
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Pelvic floor disorders (conditions caused by tears, weakness or poor function of the muscles and nerves in the pelvic floor), including pelvic organ prolapse, fecal incontinence and constipation

Our Procedures

We provide a full range of colorectal surgical procedures, the most common of which include:


A surgical procedure to remove all or part of the colon (large intestine). The colon is a long tube-like organ at the end of the digestive tract. This procedure may be necessary to treat or prevent diseases of the colon. Colectomies can be performed by open (traditional), laparoscopic (minimally invasive) or robotic surgery. Your physician will determine which type of surgery is best for you.


A surgical procedure to remove all or part of the rectum, which is the last part of the colon (large intestine). The rectum is surrounded by many important pelvic organs which may be preserved during surgery. This procedure may leave a patient with a permanent or temporary stoma (an opening on the surface of the abdomen that helps feces and urine flow out of the body). The colorectal surgeons at Mass General are focused on sphincter (muscle closing an opening such as the anus or stomach) sparing procedures. Proctectomies can be performed by open (traditional), laparoscopic (minimally invasive) or robotic surgery. Your physician will determine which type of surgery is best for you.

Anal Fistula Repair

Including traditional fistulotomy (surgical removal of an anal fistula) and less invasive techniques involving anal fistula plugs or the ligation of intersphincteric fistula tract (LIFT) procedure.

Laparoscopic Surgery for Benign and Malignant Conditions

A minimally invasive alternative to open surgery that allows us to remove abnormalities via small incisions.


Repair of a torn sphincter for sphincter preservation or treatment of fecal incontinence. We are one of the few hospitals in New England to offer placement of an artificial bowel (ABS) for patients who cannot have a sphincteroplasty or another treatment for severe fecal incontinence.


Opening a narrowing in the intestine to treat patients with inflammatory bowel diseases; this procedure is a less invasive alternative to traditional removal of the narrowed portion of the bowel.

Total Mesorectal Excision for Rectal Cancer

A minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure associated with better survival, lower recurrence and improved sphincter preservation compared with traditional techniques.

Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery

A minimally invasive procedure in which we use special laparoscopic equipment to remove rectal polyps and early rectal tumors through the anus, thus avoiding painful abdominal incisions. We are one of the few U.S. hospitals offering this leading-edge procedure.

Surgical Outcomes for the Colon

The Center for Outcomes & Patient Safety in Surgery (COMPASS) ensures that surgical data is transparent and accessible for patients. Watch the video to learn about Mass General's outcomes and performance for colorectal surgery including rates of recovery and complications.

Our high volume of colectomies and proctectomies—and skilled team of highly rated colorectal surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and pathologists—help us to attain expected results in treating patients with conditions of the colon (large intestine). Patients at Mass General have fewer complications compared to the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) norms.

View our surgical outcomes compared to national data

Enhanced Recovery after Surgery

At Mass General and across all Mass General Brigham institutions, Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS), or evidence-based best practices in surgery, is the standard of care for all scheduled colorectal surgeries. The mission of ERAS is to empower patients to be active partners in their own care and recovery, before and after surgery, with the overall goal for the patient to have a better surgical experience and return to normal life as soon as possible. 

ERAS has been shown to:

  • Reduce complications
  • Decrease wound infection rates
  • Shorten the length of hospital stay following colectomy and proctectomy procedures

The implementation of ERAS as a surgical standard across all Mass General Brigham institutions was a result of the success of Mass General’s ERAS program for colorectal surgery, launched by a team led by Liliana Bordeianou, MD, MPH.

If you are planning to have surgery and have received your preoperative instructions and prescriptions from your surgeon, please pick up your supplies from the Mass General Pharmacy or elsewhere.

Patient Education Videos

Follow the links below to watch a series of short videos about how to prepare for surgery and improve your recovery. These instructions are offered in multiple languages:

English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Portuguese and Russian.

Infographic of how to prepare for colorectal surgery
At Mass General, every patient undergoing scheduled colorectal surgery receives a kit with items designed to support better recovery and reduce complications. This infographic shows how to prepare for colorectal surgery and how to use the items in the kits.

Colorectal Procedure Kits

Mass General leads a quality improvement project centered on the distribution of free Surgical Site Infection Prevention Kits (SSIPK) to patients preparing for colorectal surgery, with the goal to improve recovery and reduce risk of infection following surgery. All patients who are scheduled for elective colorectal procedures received an informative guide and a kit with:

  • Instructions on how to use its contents
  • Instructions on how to watch videos about ERAS
  • Oral antibiotics
  • A bowel preparation formula
  • A chlorhexidine antimicrobial body wash
  • Complex carbohydrate beverages

The use of the kits among Mass General colorectal surgery patients has been shown to significantly reduce:

  • Infections at the site of surgery
  • Anastomotic leaks
  • Unplanned readmissions
  • The time a patient is required to remain at the hospital following surgery

High Marks in Surgical Quality

The Mass General Department of Surgery and Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness have been recognized for meritorious outcomes in surgical patient care from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP). Hospitals achieve this distinction based on composite quality score in the outcomes in mortality and complications such as cardiac, respiratory, unplanned intubation, ventilator greater than 48 hours, renal failure, surgical site infections and urinary tract infections for all surgery cases during the period of January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.

This recognition reflects the outstanding performance of the hospital’s surgical teams in providing patient care at many levels. This distinction goes to only approximately 10% of the 680 participating hospitals entering data into NSQIP.

Mass General Center for Pelvic Floor Disorders

The Pelvic Floor Disorders Center at Mass General brings together a multidisciplinary team of specialists. This team works together to treat the complex and often interconnected problems that cause pelvic floor disorders. The center’s treatment philosophy is built upon a foundation of honest, open communication with every patient. In this video, learn more about the center and its specialists.