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Home >> Specialities >> Gastroenterology >> Gastrointestinal Oncosurgery

Gastrointestinal Oncosurgery

Gastrointestinal Oncosurgery is a specialized field of surgery focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of cancers affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This intricate discipline encompasses a range of surgical procedures aimed at removing or treating tumors in the digestive system. With the prevalence of GI cancers on the rise, understanding the principles, techniques, and advancements in GI oncosurgery is vital for both patients and healthcare professionals.
Types of GI Cancers:
Gastrointestinal cancers are among the most common malignancies worldwide. They can affect various organs within the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. Each type of GI cancer presents unique challenges and requires specific surgical approaches.
Diagnostic and Staging Procedures:
Accurate diagnosis and staging are crucial in determining the most appropriate treatment plan for patients with GI cancers. This often involves a combination of imaging studies such as endoscopy, CT scans, MRI, and PET scans. Biopsies are taken to confirm the presence of cancerous cells and determine their type and grade.
Surgical Techniques:
Gastrointestinal oncosurgery encompasses a range of surgical techniques, each tailored to the specific type and location of the tumor. Some common procedures include:

  • Resection: This involves the removal of the tumor along with a portion of surrounding healthy tissue. For example, in colon cancer, a segment of the colon containing the tumor may be removed.
  • Laparoscopic Surgery: Also known as minimally invasive surgery, this approach involves making small incisions through which specialized instruments and a camera are inserted to perform the surgery. It offers benefits such as reduced pain, quicker recovery, and shorter hospital stays.
  • Whipple Procedure (Pancreaticoduodenectomy): This extensive surgery is performed for certain pancreatic cancers. It involves the removal of the head of the pancreas, a portion of the small intestine, gallbladder, bile duct, and sometimes part of the stomach.
  • Liver Resection: This procedure is performed for cancers originating in the liver or metastasized from other organs. It involves removing a portion of the liver while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.
  • Esophagectomy: This surgery is performed for esophageal cancer and involves removing a portion of the esophagus, followed by reconstruction of the digestive tract.
  • Stoma Creation: In cases where the lower part of the colon or rectum is removed, a stoma may be created. This involves bringing a portion of the intestine to the abdominal surface, allowing waste to be collected in a bag.

Multidisciplinary Approach:
Treatment of gastrointestinal cancers often requires a collaborative effort between surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and other specialists. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that patients receive comprehensive care tailored to their specific needs.
Advancements and Emerging Technologies:
Advancements in technology continue to revolutionize GI oncosurgery. Robotic-assisted surgery, for example, allows for enhanced precision and dexterity in performing complex procedures. Additionally, advances in imaging and surgical navigation systems enable surgeons to visualize and navigate the surgical field with greater accuracy.
Postoperative Care and Rehabilitation:
Following GI oncosurgery, patients may require specialized postoperative care, including dietary adjustments, physical therapy, and in some cases, adjuvant therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Regular follow-up appointments are crucial for monitoring recovery and detecting any potential complications.
In conclusion, Gastrointestinal Oncosurgery is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field that plays a critical role in the treatment of digestive system cancers. Through a combination of advanced surgical techniques, multidisciplinary collaboration, and emerging technologies, patients with GI cancers have a better chance at successful treatment and improved quality of life. With ongoing research and innovation, the future of GI oncosurgery holds even more promise for patients facing these challenging diagnoses.

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