By Tom Bostock

Surgery has transformed over the years with the advent and invention of lifesaving robotic techniques that improve outcomes and patient recovery times. According to uc.health.com, “Robotic-assisted surgery with the da Vinci®  Surgical System allows surgeons to perform complex minimally invasive surgical procedures with precision and accuracy.” 

“The system is an advanced robotic platform designed to expand the surgeon’s capabilities and offer an option to open surgery. The da Vinci System has been successfully used in tens of thousands of procedures. Its safety and efficacy are documented in clinical publications and the literature supporting its use is extensive.”

With March being National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, it is only fitting to introduce and highlight one leader in his field of colorectal and general surgery, and a vigorous proponent of the Da Vinci robotic surgery, Dr. Jared Frattini. 

After graduating with honors from Providence College in Rhode Island, Dr. Frattini got his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. His general surgery training was at the Yale New Haven Hospital and his fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida. 

Before joining his practice, Dr. Frattini was the Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of South Florida. Indicative of his expertise, he has authored 18 peer-reviewed articles, four book chapters and presented at National Surgical Meetings.  

Currently part of the Gulf Coast Surgical Group, Dr. Frattini is board certified in both General Surgery and Colon and Rectal Surgery. On his website, Dr. Frattini explains why his board certification matters to his patients. 

“Board certification should be one of your top considerations when choosing a doctor. Board certification is an official recognition given to doctors who have met specific requirements set by national medical specialty boards in the United States.”

“Board certification indicates that a doctor is highly qualified in the medical field in which he or she practices. A board-certified doctor is more likely than a non-board-certified doctor to have the most current skills and knowledge about how to treat your medical condition.” 

In response to the question if he always wanted to be a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Frattini responded the human anatomy intrigued him “and the ability to correct the underlying condition and see immediate improvement.”

During our interview, Dr. Frattini spoke passionately about what we can do to avoid colon and rectal cancers. The title of his article came from his telling people not to diagnose themselves but to see a specialist as soon as possible. He warned not to dismiss occult blood in the stool as simply hemorrhoids. Early detection and treatment are the keys. 

It shocked me to learn that colorectal cancer is the #3 killer in the United States today. Yet, in 2021, a simple Cologuard stool sample test, easily performed in the convenience of your home bathroom for a DNA sample and a follow up colonoscopy can identify polyps before they become cancerous. Dr. Frattini specializes in the minimally invasive, robotic surgery procedures employing the Da Vinci Surgical System that reduces recovery times and can have a patient back on his feet in as little as two days.  

Time is cancer’s friend and the patient’s enemy. Survival rates with colorectal cancer transform according to Dr. Frattini. Survival with early detection can be as high as 90-95%. By the time the cancer reaches stage 4, there is only about a 15% survival rate, a deadly difference. 

Dr. Frattini noted that the age for patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer has also changed over the years. Not too many years ago, patients in their 60s were the typical profile for a colorectal cancer patient; today he is finding them as early as in their 30s and 40s. These are statistics everyone should pay attention to. 

Dr. Frattini suggested that poor dietary habits, high fats, low-fiber, and processed foods in Western society may be a large part of the root cause. He strongly recommends that everyone 45 years and older should have a colonoscopy at least once every ten years. 

If the colonoscopy identifies any polyps, Dr. Frattini advises one-to-five-year colonoscopies after the initial one. They might be a little uncomfortable, and inconvenient, but they could save your life. He could not stress strongly enough the need for early detection. 

He noted there are many symptoms of colon cancer everyone should know. Persistent abdominal pain may indicate colon cancer, and a change in bowels or blood in the stool. Dr. Frattini noted he sees many patients who thought the blood was nothing more than simple hemorrhoids. Of immediate concern should be the significant loss of weight over a short period, 10–15 pounds over a month or less. If you have any of these symptoms, he urges you to contact your doctor immediately.  

Have you ever heard the saying that “you are what you eat?” Dr. Frattini recommends eating a high-fiber diet of at least 30 grams of fiber a day. He noted high-fiber cereals are an excellent source. He added that a high-fiber supplement like Metamucil should also be part of that high-fiber diet. He advised everyone to avoid self-diagnosis and see a doctor as soon as possible. “Get a full evaluation as soon as possible.” He continuously stressed early diagnosis.  

“The fiber,” Dr. Frattini noted, “acts like a fuel to the colon to keep it healthy and in tune.” He continued. “It acts like the high-test gas for your engine. The key is you can eat what you want in moderation as long as you eat it with a high-fiber diet.”

When I asked why a patient should choose Dr. Frattini’s practice over another general surgeon, he likened it to an auto mechanic. “Would you take your Porsche to a regular mechanic?” He deals with colon and rectal cancer daily. Board certified, he has proven his expertise to decrease patient risk with his minimally invasive robotic surgery and improve patient recovery times.  

Patients visiting Dr. Frattini for the first time can take comfort from their patient care philosophy: 

From our Surgeons & Office Staff: 

“We strive to do our best to make all our patients as comfortable as possible. We understand patients are naturally apprehensive, especially if there is a surgical procedure necessary. We take pride in spending time with our patients discussing various options and alternatives so that our informed decision regarding any procedures can be made.”  

“I am Board Certified in Colon & Rectal Surgery and General Surgery. I specialize in Minimally Invasive Surgery/Laparoscopic/Robotic Surgery to treat a variety of issues. Our Patient’s length of stay in the hospital and complication rate following surgery is quite low when compared to the national average. I have added enhanced recovery protocols to my surgical care, which significantly improves patient outcomes and satisfaction.”

In 2021, Cancer does not have to be a death sentence. With early detection and treatment, positive outcomes are a real possibility. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms noted in the article, a simple evaluation and treatment can have you on the way to recovery and a long and productive future. Call Dr. Frattini and put your mind to rest. 

Conveniently located from anywhere in the Tampa Bay area. Gulf Coast Surgical Group, 2439 Country Place Blvd Ste 102, Trinity, FL 34655. Satellite location at 1501 S. Pinellas Ave. Ste G, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689 (727) 845-1662 – Note: Hours or services may vary because of COVID-19.