Clinical Research

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Fairfax Colon & Rectal Surgery is dedicated to advancing treatments for diseases of the colon, rectum and anus.

Clinical research plays a significant in role in helping understand more about colon and rectal conditions, ways to prevent them, and how best to treat patients diagnosed with them. As the largest single-specialty Colorectal Surgery practice in Virginia and the DC Metro region, FCRS is successfully positioned to help our medical and research community; through retrospective data collection and analysis efforts, enrolling patients in clinical trials when available, and partnering with researchers, universities and hospital systems, FCRS continues its ultimate goal of achieving the best outcomes for our patients.

Current Projects

ERAS-Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Study *

Fairfax Colon & Rectal Surgery is currently partnering with the Inova Fairfax Hospital Department of Surgery to compare the outcomes between two different local anesthetics used as TAP blocks while reducing narcotic agents. The primary goal of implementing an ERAS protocol after colon and rectal surgery is to decrease the use of narcotic agents: Narcotic agents delay the return of bowel function after colon surgery, depresses operative lung function and can lead to narcotic addiction: One specific way to reduce narcotic use after surgery is to block the abdominal wall nerves with local anesthetics called TAP blocks. Although there are several anesthetic drugs routinely used for TAP blocks, this study is comparing two diffferent local anesthetics currently used for TAP blocks to see which one possibly works better.

Immune Profiling of Patients with Colon Carcinoma Study * Fairfax Colon & Rectal Surgery is currently partnering with George Mason University and the Inova Schar Cancer Institute to determine the activity of immune “T” cells in an effort to help determine the best way to fight colon cancer by enhancing the immune system. Researchers already know that the body’s immune system can destroy cancer cells, however, some colon cancer cells have receptors that “deactivate” some of the immune cells that are trying to kill the cancer cells: Blocking or preventing those receptors from “deactivating” could allow immune cells to kill cancer cells. Additionally, if the immune cells could be enhance in various ways then better cancer control may be achieved. FCRS will be assisting in this initial pilot study by collecting a small sample vial of blood of patients with colon cancer pathology, which will then be tested for T cell activity.

*Both studies have been approved by an Investigational Review Board (IRB) to ensure that there is no possibility of patient harm or breach of confidentiality. Neither study would change current post operative management or the current management of colon cancer.

Fistulotomy Study Fairfax Colon & Rectal Surgery is performing a retrospective analysis of anal fistulotomy procedures comparing two different surgical techniques; “marsupialization” and “non-marsupialization”. An anal fistual typically starts as an anal abscess, which is an infection that begins in a mucous-secreting gland in the anal canal, and creates a tunnel connecting the anal gland and skin. Marsupialization is a surgical technique where the tract is opened and the edges are sutured to form a continuous surface from the exterior surface to the interior surface. This allows the site to remain open and drain freely. This study is designed to identify if marsupialization of the fistula tract in a straightforward fistulotomy improves healing and decreases recurrence.

If you are asked to participate in any of these studies we strongly encourage you to do so. Participation may not currently help you, but may help you, your loved ones and others in the future.