Transanal endoscopic surgery (TES) techniques encompass a variety of approaches, including transanal endoscopic microsurgery and transanal minimally invasive surgery. These allow a surgeon to perform local excision of rectal lesions with minimal morbidity and the potential to spare the need for proctectomy. As understanding of the long-term outcomes from these procedures has evolved, so have the indications for TES. In this study, we review the development of TES, its early results, and the evolution of new surgical techniques. In addition, we evaluate the most recent research on indications and outcomes in rectal cancer.