Colon and Rectal Disease

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Duke specialists use the latest techniques to diagnose and treat colon and rectal disease. We recommend the most effective, least invasive treatments customized for your needs.

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We Treat the Full Range of Colon and Rectal Diseases

We work daily with patients who suffer from colon and rectal discomfort. This includes treating challenging, long-term colorectal conditions such as profound constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, and fecal incontinence. We also treat intestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, fissures, warts, strictures, and painful abscesses.

We specialize in the latest diagnostic technologies and screening procedures. If surgery is required, we use less invasive surgical techniques that result in minimal discomfort and scarring. If you have colonrectal, or anal cancer, our cancer team uses the latest techniques to diagnose and treat your cancer. 

Our experience helping many patients across a range of conditions allows us to personalize the best plan for your recovery. Our focus is on getting you back to good health.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Nonsurgical Treatments for Colorectal Disease

Many colon and rectal conditions may be manageable with diet changes and careful monitoring. After a thorough evaluation, we may initially encourage a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Increasing water consumption and fiber intake may help with constipation and reduce lower bowel pressure. These proactive steps may reduce your symptoms and help you avoid surgery. Regular monitoring is essential for proactive colorectal disease care.

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Surgery for Colorectal Disease

We are committed to minimally invasive procedures that promote quicker healing. We perform 80% of colorectal procedures through laparoscopic or robotic surgery.

Laparoscopic Surgery
Sometimes called keyhole surgery, laparoscopic surgery allows your surgeon to make minimal incisions, which results in less discomfort, lower infection risk, and reduced scarring.

Robotic Surgery
Like laparoscopic surgery, this technique involves minimal incisions. It also provides your surgeon with improved images for greater precision in performing the procedure. Our surgeons have a wealth of experience using robotic surgical techniques. We can remove lesions more fully and reduce the risks for leaks and infection associated with open surgery.

Transanal Minimally Invasive Surgery
Used for some colorectal procedures to minimize the complications associated with abdominal surgery. This laparoscopic procedure is initiated through the anus and leaves no scars.

Anorectal Surgery
A variety of problems like hemorrhoids, fissures, and anal fistulas may be improved with outpatient anorectal surgery.  

Revision Surgeries
Some colorectal conditions require more than one surgery for complete recovery and healing. This may also be true if your condition is ongoing. We specialize in assessing the need for revision or repeated surgeries. Our advanced imaging technologies allow our doctors to select a surgical approach designed to treat your condition most effectively.

Tests for Colorectal Disease

Expert Imaging and Assessments

We use high-definition CT and MRI techniques to diagnose colon and rectal diseases. The latest 3D tools capture images of tumors, lesions, and inflamed tissue.


By examining the large intestine, also know as the colon, with a long, flexible lighted tube called a colonoscope, we can identify and remove precancerous polyps. We can also take biopsies to help diagnose conditions of the colon and rectum. We also perform flexible sigmoidoscopy, a similar endoscopic procedure which allows a look at just the rectum and part of the colon. 

Pelvic Floor Testing

We offer a full array of pelvic floor testing to identify functional problems of the pelvic floor like rectal prolapse, fecal incontinence, and colon motility problems. We engage our medical experts from gynecology and gastroenterology to create a specific treatment plan to help you heal quickly.

Best Hospital for Gastroenterology and GI Surgery in NC

Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our gastroenterology and GI surgery program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

Comprehensive Care for Colon and Rectal Disease

Clinical Trials to Improve Outcomes
We review the latest research and participate in clinical trials to ensure you benefit from the safest and most effective procedures. Many colorectal surgeries must take place within small areas of the body, so our continuing research helps us minimize procedures and improve your recovery.

Team Approach
Because colorectal conditions often involve related physiological factors, we work with Duke specialists from gynecology and urology to create your complete treatment and recovery plan.

Enhanced Recovery Reduces Hospital Stays and Readmissions
Our physicians are national leaders in enhanced recovery, a program that minimizes pre-operative fasting, encourages immediate post-operative physical rehabilitation, and incorporates specialized pain management to reduce the stress of colon surgery. Duke research shows that this enhanced recovery approach decreases post-operative complication rates and reduces the length of hospital stays.

This page was medically reviewed on 07/20/2023 by