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Surgery / General Surgery - Colon & Rectal: About Us

The Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery within the Division of General Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine provides comprehensive care for patients with colon cancer or colon disease as well as disorders of the rectum, and anus. Our surgeons, board-certified or board-eligible in general surgery, and colon and rectal surgery provide care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and in outpatient offices in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties in Missouri.


The focus of the group is to provide the best of care in all aspects of colon disease and/or rectal disease, with particular interests in colon cancer and rectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, laparoscopic colon surgery, screening colonoscopy, and benign anorectal disorders. As a leading academic center, an integrated team of colon and rectal surgeons, gastroenterologists, oncologists, and radiologists work together to provide the best possible care for patients with colon disease or rectal disorders.

Washington University colorectal surgeons have special expertise in laparoscopic colon surgery, offering this treatment for colon cancer, rectal cancer, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, colon polyps, rectum prolapse, chronic constipation, and other colon disease.

Colorectal Specialists

Elisa Birnbaum, MD

Sekhar Dharmarajan, MD

Sean Glasgow, MD

Steven Hunt, MD

Matthew Mutch, MD

Matthew Silviera, MD

Paul Wise  MD

Shanna Shucart, PA

Specialized care offers patients unique access to leaders in the field - surgeons who are expert in the diagnosis and treatment of colon disease, and rectal and anus disorders. Because of their commitment to research activities, these same physicians are leading the way in the development of new screening procedures, treatment techniques and breakthrough in instrumentation.

Patients can now be seen at the  Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Floor Disorders (COPE)  also located in the medical center, west St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Phelps County, Missouri. These are the first community-based interdisciplinary centers that specialize in the testing, diagnosis and treatment of common benign colorectal, anorectal and pelvic floor ailments such as hemorrhoids, rectal bleeding or pain, abscesses, incontinence, constipation and prolapses of the uterus, bladder and rectum.

Surgeons in the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery are involved in numerous clinical research trials, which are listed below. These studies are designed to bring the latest medical advances to the patient. Patients will have the opportunity to participate in these clinical trials.

Below are some to the highlights of the practice of the surgeons of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery.

Surgical treatment for cancer of the colon and rectum

  • Incidence, diagnosis and screening
    - Screening colonoscopy
    - Transrectal ultrasound for rectal cancer staging
  • Management of sporadic and hereditary colon and rectal cancers
    -Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) syndrome
    -Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
               -Registry for high risk colorectal cancer patients
  • Multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment
    - Radiation oncology
    - Medical oncology
    - Gastroenterology
    - Enterostomal therapy
  • Treatment techniques
    - Laparoscopic colon resection
    - Sentinel lymph node mapping
  • Surgical and Medical Management of inflammatory bowel disease

  •  Diverticulitis
  • Ulcerative colitis - restorative procedures
  • Crohn's Disease - medical, surgical (including laparoscopic) procedures
  • Laparoscopic colon surgery used to treat:

  • Diverticulitis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colon polyps
  • Colon and rectal cancer
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Chronic constipation
  • Surgical and medical management of benign anorectal disorders

  • Fecal incontinence
  • Hemorrhoids and other anorectal disorders
  • Pelvic floor disorders
  • State-of-the-art diagnostic procedures are available at the Anal Physiology Laboratory. Anal manometry, anal sphincter electromyogram (EMG), and transrectal ultrasound are used to evaluate patients with fecal incontinence and pelvic floor disorders to diagnose the underlying cause and to guide the best therapy for the patient.

    Enterostomal therapy

    Patients requiring stomas will be able to meet with an enterostomal therapist (ET). They will be provided with educational material and undergo pre-operative stoma siting After surgery they can follow-up in the ET clinic for routine care or management of more complex stoma care.

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    Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine
    Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine