General Surgery Information
Physicians on staff
The surgery department at the CGH Main Clinic is always in the know about new procedures and is up to date on any medical breakthrough. Listed below you will find information about a few different kinds of surgeries. If you need a physician's attention, please call our facility. Surgery can be a frightful thought, but by knowing more about the procedure some of our anxieties can be consoled. Please choose a topic below and learn more.
Every year thousands of women find a breast lump and fear is an understandable emotion. Whether you or your doctor found your breast lump, you may be overwhelmed by worries. A thousand questions may be running through your mind: Do I have cancer? Will I need surgery? Will I lose my breast? Your doctor refers you to a surgeon for further diagnosis and treatment to address these concerns. Rest assured that if your lump is cancerous, treating it early will give you the best chance for a healthy future.
A biopsy is usually needed to confirm a suspicion of cancer. With open biopsy, your surgeon removes all or part of your breast lump for examination under a microscope. After surgery, a small scar remains, but you'll have little change in the contour of your breast.
Many more treatment options are available today for women with breast cancer. Lumpectomy is a procedure that preserves your breast, but removes the lump and some normal tissue around it. Axillary lymph nodes are often removed and examined for signs of cancer (axillary node dissection). Also called "wide local excision," lumpectomy is most often recommended for women with a small lump that hasn't spread to the rest of the body. Radiation therapy usually follows lumpectomy to eliminate any remaining cancer cells.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
There are several types of mastectomy (removal of the breast). A modified radical mastectomy removes the breast and axillary lymph nodes. Because chest muscles are left intact, your chest wall contour and arm strength are not affected and recovery is shorter. Two variations of this procedure are simple mastectomy, which leaves axillary lymph nodes intact, and radical mastectomy, which removes deep chest muscles. Your surgeon will recommend a procedure based on the size of your cancer and how far it has spread. Most mastectomy patients can have breast reconstruction, either at the time of surgery or in the future.
A variety of techniques make reconstruction an option for many mastectomy patients. Plastic surgeons today recreate the shape of the breast and match the size and shape of the other breast as closely as possible. Knowing this may be a source of comfort, but talking to your plastic surgeon or others can help you decide whether reconstruction is for you. Some women have reconstruction started at the same time as their mastectomy; others wait several months or even years. Your body type, age, and the treatment you've had will help determine the most suitable type of reconstruction for you.
Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
This simple procedure uses advanced computer imaging technology. It allows for the removal of tiny sections of tissue that indicate they required further attention after showing up on a mammogram but cannot be felt. The ease and safety of this procedure, typically performed during a brief office visit, is well-documented. This modern procedure provides the same reliability as more complicated surgical biopsy, but provides these significant advantages:
It does not require anesthesia
It requires less time
It is more cost effective
It is much less complicated
As long as your colon is performing its job, you don't think much about it. But serious colon problems can occur, particularly as you grow older. The alarming fact is that 1 out of 15 people in this country will develop colon cancer at some point in their lives. Colon cancer takes the lives of more Americans than any other cancer, except for cancer of the lung. After age 40, the incidence of colon cancer increases with age. Within the last five years, over 600,000 men and women have been diagnosed as having colon cancer - with an additional 140,000 cases expected to be diagnosed this year. Fortunately, colon cancer is potentially the most curable of abdominal cancers. If detected in its early stages, the cancer can be removed surgically in most cases. Over three-fourths of patients diagnosed as having colon cancer live five years or longer if the cancer has been detected early. But cancer is only one problem that can occur in the colon. Diverticulosis, or pockets in the colon wall, appears in about one out of five people over the age of 45, and in three out of five over 70. And over one-tenth of all adults have growths in the colon called polyps.
Resection and Anastomosis
The goal of surgery is to remove the section of colon affected by cancer, diverticulitis, or polyps. After making an incision in the abdomen, the surgeon will cut out the diseased portion of the colon. Then the two new ends will be joined by stitches or, sometimes, staples. Because the colon is about five feet long, a small part of it can be removed without loss of function. The remaining colon compensates for the missing portion. In fact, one can live very well with no colon at all.
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Repeated bouts of heartburn, sour-tasting fluid in your throat, difficulty swallowing - all are classic symptoms of a common health problem called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD (also known as reflux disease). The heartburn caused by GERD may strike after you eat a large meal or when you bend over or lie down. GERD can sometimes be controlled with simple lifestyle changes and medication. If your symptoms persist, surgery may offer more lasting relief from GERD.
Relieving Your Discomfort
You and your doctor can work together to find the treatment options that best relieve your symptoms. These may include lifestyle changes, medication, and possibly surgery. If other attempts to control your GERD don't offer relief, you may be a candidate for laparoscopic fundoplication. This surgery combines today's technology with a surgical procedure that has been used safely for more than 40 years. The surgery is done using a laparoscope, a small telescope that allows the doctor to see clearly into your abdomen. During surgery, the doctor re-creates the one-way valve where the esophagus (the tube that food travels through) meets the stomach.
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery
Gallbladder problems can cause severe stomach pain and other distressing symptoms. To relieve your pain, you may need to have your gallbladder removed. It could be removed through a single standard incision in your abdomen (open surgery). But your doctor may have told you that you can have a newer type of gallbladder surgery. It's called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. People who have this procedure usually recover more quickly and have less pain than with open surgery. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy uses several small incisions instead of one large one. A laparoscope (a thin telescope-like tube) is inserted through one incision. It allows your doctor to view your gallbladder on a monitor. Your gallbladder is then removed through another small incision. The benefits of laparoscopy over open surgery include:
less discomfort after surgery
a shorter hospital stay
a faster recovery (days instead of weeks)
tiny scars instead of a long scar
Gallbladder removal is one of the most successful kinds of surgery. Laparoscopic gallbladder removal is often the best way to stop your pain when gallstones are the problem. Best of all, you should still be able to live a full and healthy life without your gallbladder. This includes eating the foods and doing the things you enjoyed before your gallbladder problems started.
Laparoscopic Hernia Repair
Men and women of all ages can have hernias. A hernia is a weakness or tear in the wall of the abdomen. It is sometimes called a "rupture." How does it happen? Acquired hernias are caused by wear and tear over the years. Congenital hernias result from a weakness in the abdominal wall that is present at birth. Both types of hernias may get worse or grow larger with time or physical stress. Laparoscopic surgery is done with a laparoscope, a tiny "telescope" attached to a camera. It allows your surgeon a close-up view of your hernia using only small incisions. The surgery usually takes one to two hours and you can likely go home the same day. Because large incisions are not required, recovery from laparoscopic surgery is often faster and less painful than after open surgery. There are two types of laparoscopic hernia repair. Your doctor will decide which is best for you, depending on the kind of hernia you have.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor is likely to recommend surgery. Non-surgical treatment, such as a truss (a supportive wrap), is only a temporary solution, not a cure. It's usually better to have surgery before the hernia gets bigger and complications arise. Hernia repair is often same day surgery, so you may be able to go home within several hours. Once you're home, it's up to you to make your recovery as quick and as comfortable as possible by easing slowly back into your daily activities.