New Surgeons Expand Colon and Rectal Services at NHRMC

January 02, 2020

With the recent additions of colon and rectal surgeons Sarah Fox, MD, and Joseph M. Payne, MD, to NHRMC Physician Specialists – General Surgery Specialists, New Hanover Regional Medical Center launched a new division—colon and rectal surgery services.  Patients will benefit from the expansion of services available and the expertise of Dr. Fox and Dr. Payne, who specialize in the medical and surgical treatment of colon, rectal and anal problems.

Colon and rectal surgeons treat malignant and benign conditions of the large and small intestine and anorectal region, perform routine screening examinations, and when necessary surgically treat problems.  Dr. Payne served as a colon and rectal surgeon in private practice in southeastern North Carolina for more than 25 years before recently joining NHRMC. “Colorectal and anal issues can get taken for granted until you have a problem in that area, then it can be a dominating thing in one’s life,” Dr. Payne said.

It’s beneficial to have physicians who have special training in colorectal and anal issues when such problems arise.  “Dr. Payne and I are both very extensively trained for anorectal issues,” Dr. Fox said. “Anytime you do an operation down there, you are always balancing the patient’s fecal continence with whatever you are trying to fix … so having someone who is highly trained in that is important.”

Some common issues Dr. Fox and Dr. Payne treat include anal condyloma, or anal warts, rectal pain, anal pain, pain from hemorrhoids, anal fistulas and anal fissures, colon cancer, rectal cancer, diverticulitis, blood in stool, constipation, Crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, colon polyps, bowel obstruction, ulcerative colitis, rectal prolapse, inflammatory bowel disease and more.

Dr. Fox is certified in da Vinci Robot Advanced Colorectal Surgery. She has a special interest in female pelvic floor functional problems and pain. “Pelvic floor issues is an area of interest to me because fecal incontinence is so debilitating, and patients feel very isolated,” she said.  “Now we have something to offer them.”

Dr. Fox has advanced training in transanal excisions and uses a technique called TAMIS, transanal minimally invasive surgery. “It’s kind of like laparoscopic surgery, except that you do it through the anus, and not many people do that.” she said. “It’s for high rectal masses that you can’t reach through the rectum.”

Dr. Payne said he’s looking forward to working with other physicians, such as gastroenterologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists to form “a more cohesive team” to address colon, anal and rectal problems. “We’re trying to coordinate a team of service to better take care of people with colorectal issues,” he said.

The office of Drs. Payne and Fox is located at the NHRMC Medical Mall. Dr. Fox also treats patients at Pender Memorial Hospital. Dr. Payne will begin also seeing patients at Pender Memorial soon.