North Shore-LIJ Opens Region’s First Center for Colon and Rectal Diseases – Spring 2004

GREAT NECK — In response to the rapidly increasing rate of colorectal diseases on Long Island and in Queens, the North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System recently opened the Center for Colon and Rectal Diseases at 900 Northern Blvd. in Great Neck.

The $1.5 million dollar, 4,800-square-foot facility is the first of its kind on Long Island and in Queens. Its creation reflects the alarming rise in colorectal diseases in the region. Patient admissions for colonoscopies and colon and rectal operations have been rising rapidly at both LIJ Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. It is projected that in its first year of operation, the Center will treat more than 3,500 outpatients and perform 2,000 inpatient procedures.

Those figures may be modest, considering that 15,000 to 20,000 people on Long Island suffer from inflammatory bowel disease and approximately 1,120 Queens residents will be diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer this year.

“The Center for Colon and Rectal Diseases is another example of how we fulfill our mission to safeguard the health and quality of life of communities we serve across Long Island and the metro area,” said Michael Dowling, the health system’s president and chief executive officer. “Recognizing that thousands of people in our area suffer from colon and rectal diseases, the health system invested the resources needed to perform life-saving surgery in a state-of-the-art ambulatory setting.”

The center houses the area’s first comprehensive Anorectal Physiology Laboratory, which specializes in evaluating and investigating the causes of a variety of bowel disorders, including chronic constipation and fecal incontinence. Tests employed in the lab help identify specific causes of bowel disorders and determine the most effective treatment plan to manage and eradicate such conditions. The lab is available to patients of all physicians and surgeons in the area. In constructing the center, designers created five examination rooms, three physician offices, an endoscopy suite with the latest technology and a spacious recovery room.

The center treats the spectrum of colorectal diseases, including colorectal and anal tumors, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease, common anorectal conditions such as hemorrhoids and fissures, and complex cases involving reconstructive abdominal surgery and anorectal surgery.

The center is directed by John Procaccino, MD, the health system’s chief of colon and rectal surgery, as well as Luz P. Angel, MD, the only female colorectal surgeon in Nassau County.

“The teamwork that was needed to establish the Center is emblematic of the integrated, collaborative team approach we employ to treat each patient,” said Dr. Procaccino. “The surgeons work closely with nutritionists, nurses and social workers to provide optimal care.”