Transanal minimally invasive surgery (TAMIS)

By Danilo Miskovic, Consultant Surgeon at CRSC

Transanal minimally invasive surgery (TAMIS) is a surgical technique used to remove tumours or polyps from the rectum. The procedure involves using a special device, a transanal access platform to access the rectum through the anus, a high-definition camera and keyhole instruments. The procedure can even be used to remove cancers, thus avoiding a major operation or a stoma bag, however not all patients are suitable candidates for this technique.

TAMIS is typically used to remove small tumours or polyps from the rectum that are too large to be removed using traditional endoscopic techniques (colonoscopy). This procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and typically takes about an hour to complete, but can also be performed with a spinal tap, a local anaesthesia during which the patient is awake. During the procedure, the surgeon uses the transanal access platform to remove the tumour or polyp.

(Image rights by manufacturer Applied Medical Ltd)


Minimally invasive procedures and precision

One of the main benefits of TAMIS is that it’s a minimally invasive procedure. This means there are no external incisions (also known as “no scar surgery”) because access is through the anus, removing the need for an abdominal incision. It also means the patient has less pain, and a faster recovery time compared to traditional open surgery. It’s part of a group of procedures called NOTES (natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery).

The transanal access platform allows the surgeon to have a clear view of the rectum and the tumour or polyp. This means that TAMIS allows for a very high degree of precision, leading to better outcomes for patients and a lower risk of complications.

Faster recovery

Usually, patients stay in hospital for just one night and, in some cases, a same-day discharge is possible. Patients can eat and drink normally after the procedure and are able to get back to all their daily activities quickly.

After the procedure, patients may experience some discomfort or bleeding, but this typically resolves within a few days. Patients may also need to follow a special diet or take medications to help with bowel movements during the recovery period.

Not for everybody

However, as mentioned, not all tumours can be removed via TAMIS. There are many factors to consider, but transanal surgery is usually only recommended for patients with smaller tumours and early-stage rectal cancer without any additional risk factors. A thorough workup, including endoscopic evaluation, biopsies and MRI scans, is crucial to determine whether a patient is a suitable candidate for TAMIS.

One of the groups that can benefit most are elderly and frail patients. Often not suited to major surgery, these patients can sometimes be treated successfully, even if the tumour has become cancerous.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a rectal tumour or polyp, talk to your healthcare provider about whether TAMIS could be a good option for you. They’ll be able to look at your individual needs and medical history and help you determine the next steps.

Book an appointment

To book a consultation with The Colorectal & Robotic Surgery Centre, you can phone, email or use our “contact us” form.


Call:  +44 20 3214 3440
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