Welcome to the website of the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand, also known as CSSANZ. Our Society, which has over 300 members, represents specialist colorectal surgeons in these two countries. Our members have undertaken advanced training in colorectal surgery, and are dedicated to ongoing professional development to maintain their expertise in the diagnosis and management of intestinal and anorectal problems. Most of our members are actively involved in research and teaching and all are committed to maintaining the highest standards in their practice. The Society and its members promote the best evidence-based practice in order to improve the treatment of our patients. We have a close relationship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and maintain strong links with many other professional organisations, both nationally and internationally. 

The CSSANZ Council recommends that any hospital or health service advertising or making an appointment for a colorectal surgeon indicate that a criteria for selection would include: either membership of CSSANZ or having completed the criteria for membership of CSSANZ. 

CSSANZ is a not for profit organisation registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) and its financial records are subject to annual audit. Our ABN is 75 055 544 664.


Background - Colorectal Surgery

Historically, surgery of the colon and rectum (large intestine) was considered to be an integral part of general surgery. Despite this, disorders of the anus (and more recently the rectum) have been subject to specialty management in some centres for many years. An expanding knowledge base and a capacity to provide more favourable outcomes for increasingly complex intestinal problems fostered the development of the specialty of colorectal surgery. Individuals such as the late Dr Edward Wilson (Sydney Hospital), the late Professor Sir Edward Hughes (Alfred Hospital), Professor Murray Pheils (Concord Hospital) and Dr Mark Killingback were, amongst others, pre-eminent in modern times in supporting the need for special interest and experience in colorectal surgery.

The Colon and Rectal Surgery Section (previously the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery), Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has existed since 1966 and is comprised of experienced colorectal surgeons, as well as trained general surgeons who have an interest in colorectal surgery but who have not necessarily undergone advanced training in the specialty.

1992 saw the first graduates of a specialised training programme in colorectal surgery within Australia and New Zealand. Originally under the auspices of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, it is now jointly administered by that Section and the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand. Prior to that time specialised colorectal surgical training was only undertaken overseas, initially in the United Kingdom, and in later years, in the United States of America.

Formation - CSSANZ

On the 11th November 1988 a meeting of 25 committed colorectal surgeons agreed to form the Australian Society of Colorectal Surgeons (later changed to the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australasia and in 2006 renamed the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand). The meeting was convened by Dr Mark Killingback and it elected Dr David Failes as the first President.

Since its inception, the cornerstones of the Society's ideals remain dedicated to TRAINING, STANDARDS, RESEARCH and EDUCATION. 

The Society continues to foster the development and maintenance of colorectal surgery as a specialty with the following objectives:

  • education of colorectal surgeons, the medical profession and the public
  • development and maintenance of standards of practice of colorectal surgery in Australia and New Zealand
  • to facilitate and promote the training, certification and accreditation of colorectal surgeons
  • development and support of research programmes in colorectal surgery
  • acting in an advisory capacity for government, the AMA and other health organisations
  • provision of peer review advice
  • to foster the international exchange of all matters important to the development of colorectal surgery.

Governance - CSSANZ

The affairs of the Society are directed by an Executive Council consisting of a President, Vice-President, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and four Councillors. A copy of the CSSANZ Constitution can be found HERE

At the November 2022 CSSANZ Annual General Meeting, the following members were elected to Council for a two year term:

President                     Dr Elizabeth Murphy (Adelaide)
Co Vice Presidents      Prof Frank Frizelle (Christchurch) and Dr Michael Johnston (Melbourne)      
Honorary Secretary     A/Prof Cherry Koh (Sydney)
Honorary Treasurer     Dr Chris Gillespie (Brisbane)
Councillor                    Dr Peter Lee (Sydney)
Councillor                    Dr Sze-Lin Peng (Auckland)
Councillor                    Dr Mary Theophilus (Perth)

Executive General Manager - Leticia Delmenico