There are several reasons why GPs and patients come to Anthony Antoniou for colorectal and general surgical conditions:
One of the UK’s leading colorectal surgeons
Mr Antoniou was previously a Senior Clinical Lecturer/ Honorary Consultant Colorectal Surgeon between two of the UK’s largest hospitals – the highly regarded Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and The Royal Marsden Hospital, the first hospital in the world dedicated to cancer. He is now a consultant surgeon at the world renowned St Mark's Hospital, Harrow.
His key achievements include helping to set up the colorectal practice at The Royal Marsden with an emphasis on minimally invasive surgery. Specialisms include bowel cancer, laparoscopic (‘keyhole’) colorectal surgery and endoscopic procedures; and he has benefited from working with leading experts in their field. He currently works at St Mark's Hospital with a team pushing the boundaries of colo-rectal surgery forward with regards to laparoscopic and advanced cancer surgery.
Conducting over 1000 operations a year, with Anthony you are in the hands of an experienced consultant colorectal surgeon. His career so far has seen him carry out over 300 colorectal resections, 600 diagnostic colonoscopies and 300 flexible sigmoidoscopies.
Tatler Doctors Guide 2013
In recognition of his achievements Anthony has been selected, by a panel of distinguished GPs and fellow consultants, to be included in a guide to Britain's 250 best doctors. Produced as a supplement by Tatler magazine, the 'Doctors Guide', now in its fourth edition, recognises the brightest and most respected surgeons, doctors and medical experts in the UK.
A friendly and sensitive approach
The nature of colorectal conditions means patients who see Anthony are often anxious – in the UK there is still a huge stigma around bowel-related matters – and worried they may have cancer. (In most cases the latter is an unfounded worry. Only 6% of people presenting with symptoms associated with colon or rectal cancer actually turn out to have cancer.)
Mr Antoniou’s priority is to ensure each patient’s experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. He finds by putting people at ease and their mind at rest, finding what they are worried about, and taking the time to talk to them and answer their questions, that he can make more progress.
A bespoke treatment pathway for each patient
Mr Antoniou formulates a bespoke treatment pathway tailored around the individual needs and circumstances of each patient. For example, a patient may have a problem with their anus which may not actually require a colonoscopy. Mr Antoniou’s practice covers diagnosis and both surgical and non-surgical treatments for the full spectrum of colorectal conditions (benign and malignant). He will always talk to a patient to explain his recommended treatment options, what a procedure involves, and to make them fully aware of the likely outcome and any side effects.
A multi-disciplinary approach
One of the aspects that marks out Anthony’s surgical practice is that he often works as part of a multi-disciplinary team, for example with gynaecologists or urologists or upper GI (gastrointestinal) surgeons. He believes combining expertise from allied surgical disciplines, in this way, ensures the best possible outcome for the patient.
Expertise in laparoscopic / minimally invasive colorectal surgery
Mr Antoniou’s main area of interest is laparoscopic or ‘keyhole’ colorectal surgery for both benign and malignant conditions. This is where a surgeon works with special instruments, including a small camera, inserted through ports (special tubes) in small incisions in the abdominal wall.
This minimally invasive surgery compares favourably with open/conventional surgery. Laparoscopy is an excellent diagnostic tool if the diagnosis is in doubt. There is much less scarring; 3-5 small incisions, a few millimetres long, on the abdominal wall hurt much less than the one long traditional incision previously used. A patient's recovery is normally 2 to 3 days quicker with laparoscopic surgery due to the bowel not being traumatised as much as with open/ conventional surgery. The bowel regains it's function quicker.
Importantly, all the factors that determine the success of surgery have the same results from keyhole and open surgery. There is now a dedicated laparoscopic theatre at The Royal Marsden Hospital.
Colorectal cancer specialist
His association with The Royal Marsden, a renowned cancer hospital, means much of Anthony’s work is diagnosing and managing treatment of patients with colon, rectal or anal cancer. He is experienced in colorectal resections, and trained in Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEMS) and Transanal Resection of Tumours (TART). This association has been transferred to his new position at St Mark's Hospital, Harrow, one of the leading centres in the world in the treatment of colo-rectal disease.
Mr Antoniou performs recurrent cancer surgery (where a cancerous element which has been removed returns), which being difficult and time consuming surgery is a rare specialism. Other surgeons often refer it on or suggest chemotherapy as an alternative.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Antoniou is dedicated to preventative techniques for developing bowel cancer. He is passionate about early diagnosis and early treatment, and firmly believes that everyone should have bowel cancer screening (via a colonoscopy) to eradicate their risk of cancer.
Using endoscopy for diagnosis & colon cancer prevention/screening
Mr Antoniou is very unusual in being a colorectal surgeon who carries out his own diagnostic procedures – his most valuable diagnostic tool is endoscopy – as well as performing the surgery. He played a pivotal part in developing the endoscopy unit at The Royal Marsden.
An endoscope is a long flexible tube with a camera and light at the end, inserted into a natural orifice (mouth or anus) to examine the inside of the bowel. Endoscopic procedures Mr Antoniou carries out include colonoscopy (looking at the entire colon), OGD (looking into the stomach) and flexible sigmoidoscopy (looking at the lower third of the colon).
Mr Antoniou fervently believes in colonoscopy as the ‘gold standard’ for diagnosing symptoms and for preventative colon cancer screening which he also offers. Unfortunately, the NHS does not offer an endoscopic screening programme yet, only offering stool testing screening for patients aged between 50-65, which is much less accurate.
Rapid diagnosis and treatment
Carrying out his own diagnostic procedures (eg colonoscopies) as well as performing surgery means Mr Antoniou is one of a very few UK colorectal surgeons to offer a ‘one stop shop’ – enabling him to offer exceptionally fast diagnosis and treatment. Private patients are seen within a week of referral, with the aim of carrying out diagnosis and treatment within 2 weeks of initial referral.
At The Royal Marsden diagnosis and surgery can be carried out within 5-7 days of each other, which is very rare. Most patients presenting symptoms want the peace of mind that comes from a fast diagnosis. And while time can be a key factor in malignant disease, whether their condition is benign or not, the majority of people want to be treated as quickly as possible.
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