SIUH’S ADVANCED COLORECTAL CARE PROGRAM, THE FIRST OF ITS KIND ON THE ISLAND, PROVIDES CUTTING-EDGE COMPREHENSIVE TREATMENT

BY JESSICA JONES-GORMAN • PHOTOS BY AMESSE PHOTOGRAPHY

In 2019 Staten Island University Hospital launched an aggressive campaign to develop an Advanced Colorectal Care Program in the borough, one that would offer state-of-the-art, individualized care in a collaborative, multidisciplinary setting. The first program of its kind on Staten Island, the department was built to provide patients with personalized, high-level colorectal care close to home.

“Our program guides patients through multiple points of treatment while working with our GI and oncology colleagues,” said Giovanni Bonomo, M.D., assistant professor of colon and rectal surgery at SIUH. “It can be significantly beneficial, particularly for cancer patients, who can be overwhelmed with the number of tests they must undergo.”

One of several projects at the hospital designed to provide the same level of care that major hospitals outside the Island provide, this program treats a wide variety of diseases that affect the colon, rectum, and anus. “Convenience is a big factor for coordinating care for any patient who requires major abdominal surgery,” said Dr. Bonomo. “It can be stressful, complicated, and difficult, so we guide them every step of the way. The program allows us to expedite patient care. They come in more quickly, get treated, and can get back to their life faster.”

Born and raised on Staten Island, Dr. Bonomo is a longtime resident of Prince’s Bay and a product of Tottenville High School. He graduated from NYU before earning his medical degree from Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He completed his general surgery residency at Mount Sinai, Beth Israel, and his colon-rectal surgery residency at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. He practiced for two years in Allentown, Pennsylvania, before being recruited back home to SIUH. He is trained in the management of both benign and malignant colorectal pathology with expertise in minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery, and anorectal procedures. He refers to his return to Staten Island and role at SIUH as “extremely fulfilling.”

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“As a native Staten Islander, I have always felt a fondness for the Island and a strong desire to give back to my community,” noted the doctor. “My colorectal practice has afforded me the unique opportunity to provide Staten Islanders with the latest in evidence-based treatment modalities using minimally invasive and/or robotic techniques, in conjunction with Enhanced Recovery Pathways. This approach to colorectal disease has proven successful in achieving stronger outcomes with fewer complications.”

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States with about 140,000 new cases diagnosed in 2019. Dr. Bonomo said it’s this department’s responsibility to consistently develop new modalities of treatment and diagnosis.

“This is a dynamic specialty because the community is very interested in finding and developing new ways to improve patient care and outcomes,” said Dr. Bonomo. “This can be a devastating disease but with the right diagnosis and treatment there can be minimal interruption to life while we eradicate the cancer.”

The Advanced Colorectal Care Program employs a seamless online appointment system and provides patients with a nurse navigator, who assists in coordinating appointments with other specialists, obtaining test results from previous physicians, answering questions as needed, and monitoring patient progress throughout recovery and follow-up.

More effective minimally invasive techniques are also used regularly within the Advanced Colorectal Care Program, often performed with the DaVinci Surgical Robot.

“We work in conjunction with the latest minimally invasive robotic techniques, which results in less post-operative pain, lower risk of infection, smaller incisions (which leads to minimal scarring and improved recovery times), and shorter hospital stays,” said the doctor. “Our enhanced recovery program provides state-of-the-art interventions before, during, and after a procedure in order to minimize complications and disruptions during a patient’s recovery.”

In addition to treating colorectal cancers, the program also handles a vast majority of benign issues including hemorrhoids, pilonidal cysts, fistulas, abscesses, anal fissures, constipation, and fecal incontinence, as well as inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Dr. Bonomo and his staff also make community outreach a priority, spreading the word throughout Staten Island about the American Cancer Society’s recommendation for cancer screening starting at age 45 – an update from the previously recommended age of 50.

“There are a number of colorectal cancer screening tools offered, with the gold standard being a colonoscopy,” noted the doctor. “It’s also important for people to know if they have a family history of cancer or polyps. It changes screening recommendations and is something they should discuss with a primary care physician or gastroenterologist.”

Dr. Bonomo explained the future of colorectal care is the continued improvement of protocols and outcomes, making sure that each patient receives an extremely personalized experience.

“My team and I are fully committed to working one-on-one with each patient and their family to create an individualized treatment plan that prioritizes personal goals and provides the highest quality care, delivered with great compassion,” he concluded. “I have a tremendous appreciation for the relationship that develops when a patient entrusts me with their healthcare.”

“I have a tremendous appreciation for the relationship that develops when a patient entrusts me with their healthcare.”

Advanced Colorectal Care Program
256 Mason Avenue Building C, 3rd floor
718-226-6398, Ext 2
siuh.northwell.edu/colorectal