Lauren A Poliakin MD, DABS, DABOM

General Surgery . Bariatric Surgery . Obesity Medicine

805-497-8820

227 W Janss Rd, Ste 300
 Thousand Oaks, CA 91360


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HCA Healthcare Magazine



Our Location


General Surgery . Bariatric Surgery . Obesity Medicine
227 W Janss Rd
Ste 300
Thousand Oaks, California 91360
Phone: 805-497-8820

General Surgery // Patient Education

Da Vinci® Surgical System

In a relatively new approach to minimally invasive surgery (MIS), the da Vinci® system applies robotic technology to various types of surgery. Although laparoscopic surgery is also minimally invasive, it limits the surgeon to rigid and fairly restricted movements. The da Vinci surgical system offers flexibility and control, and permits precise, effective results in a wide range of surgical procedures, including those used in treating cardiac, colorectal, gynecologic, head and neck, thoracic, and urological problems. ...


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Obesity

Obesity is a chronic condition defined by an excess of body fat. Body fat has several important functions in the body, such as storing energy and providing insulation. Excess body fat, however, may interfere with an individual's health and well-being, particularly if a patient becomes morbidly obese. Not only does obesity interfere with everyday activities, it also increases the risk of developing serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Obesity is a serious health issue presently reaching epidemic proportions in society. It results in medical complications and early morbidity for a great many people. Other health conditions caused or exacerbated by obesity may include heart disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, high cholesterol and asthma. The good news is that obesity is a treatable ailment and that modern medicine provides more remedies for the condition than previously existed. ...


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Body Mass Index

Body mass index, or BMI, is a calculation of total body fat based on height and weight. It is used to determine whether a patient is underweight, at a healthy weight or overweight. A high BMI can alert both doctor and patient to potential health risks associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, breathing difficulties, severe sleep apnea or certain cancers. A low BMI can help to diagnose various illnesses which lead to or are precipitated by malnutrition, such as anemia, eating disorders or other types of cancer. ...


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Breast Biopsy

A biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes a sample of abnormal tissue to determine whether it is benign or malignant. A biopsy can be performed on many different areas of the body, but is commonly used to diagnose, and sometimes treat, lumps found in breast tissue.

A breast biopsy may be performed after abnormalities have been detected in the breast as a result of a breast self-exam, mammogram or other imaging procedure. In addition to its diagnostic purpose, a biopsy can remove small tumors or other abnormalities that are found during the procedure, eliminating the need for additional surgery. ...


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Diagnostic Laparoscopy FAQs

What is diagnostic laparoscopy?

Diagnostic laparoscopy involves the insertion of a thin camera-tipped instrument called a laparoscope through a small incision to examine a patient's abdomen or pelvis. This includes the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, small and large bowels, appendix, liver and gallbladder. A diagnostic laparoscopy is typically done to confirm the presence or absence of a condition when noninvasive tests, such as X-ray or ultrasound, prove inconclusive, and to help the surgeon determine the proper course of treatment. There are situations in which a diagnostic laparoscopy may be contraindicated, as, for example, when the patient has a swollen bowel, fluid in the abdomen, or another serious medical condition. ...


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Core Needle Breast Biopsy

A core needle breast biopsy is performed to evaluate breast abnormalities. Although similar to a fine-needle biopsy, a core needle biopsy removes tissue rather than just cells. Through microscopic analysis of this tissue, a determination can be made as to whether or not a malignancy is present. ...


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Nutrition

Proper diet is essential to maintaining good health. Keeping the body well-nourished and at a healthy weight has been proven to improve mood, quality of life and longevity. It may also go a long way in preventing or controlling many serious illnesses. Obesity, which has now reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and an enemy of good health, can be kept at bay through proper nutrition along with a program of healthy exercise. ...


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Diet and Exercise

Developing a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen are equally important. Many people only consider improving their diet and exercise routine when they want to lose weight. Diet and exercise, however, should not be forgotten once weight loss goals are achieved since they are important health factors even in individuals who are at an optimal weight. ...


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Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove malignant or other abnormal breast tissue. Since during a lumpectomy the surgeon removes the smallest amount of breast tissue possible, the procedure is sometimes referred to as breast-conserving or breast-sparing surgery. ...


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Robotic-assisted Surgery

Today, laparoscopic surgery may be performed with robotic assistance. Usually performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System, the doctor is able to operate with real-time images and EndoWrist® instruments, tools which can mimic the surgeon's dexterity with great precision and which have an even greater range of motion than the human wrist. ...


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Mastectomy

A mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the breast(s) in a patient with breast cancer. It is one of the most commonly used and effective options for treating breast cancer because it removes all traces of cancer, and reduces the risk of its recurrence.

Types of Mastectomy

There are several different mastectomy procedures designed to eradicate the cancer but retain as much of the natural breast as possible. Some of the most commonly used techniques include: ...


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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that involves repeated breathing interruptions during sleep. These interruptions may occur hundred of times each night, and may be the result of structural abnormalities or brain malfunctions. During normal breathing, air passes through the nose, past the flexible structures in the back of the throat, including the soft palate, uvula and tongue. When a person is awake, the muscles hold this airway open. When they are asleep, these muscles relax and the airway usually stays open. Sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway and airflow are blocked, causing the oxygen levels to drop in both in the brain and the blood, resulting in shallow breathing or breathing pauses during sleep. ...


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Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia occurs when abdominal tissue protrudes through the skin around the navel or belly button. A common congenital condition in newborns, it may also appear in adulthood, often precipitated or exacerbated by obesity, pregnancy, abdominal surgery or heavy lifting. Umbilical hernias, like other hernias, happen when part of an abdominal organ, usually the intestine, presses through a weak point in the abdominal wall. ...


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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid, used for digestion, regurgitates or refluxes into the esophagus, causing inflammation and damage to the lining of the esophagus. GERD is a complication of gastroesophageal reflux, also known as GER, a less serious form of GERD. Most people have occasional episodes of GER, but when GER becomes more frequent, occurring more than two times a week, it is classified as GERD. The stomach acid causes pain or burning in the chest or throat, known as heartburn. ...


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Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a diagnostic surgical procedure performed to determine whether cancer has spread into the lymphatic system from its original site. The sentinel node is the first node to which the cancer spreads after leaving its site of origin. In the case of breast cancer, the sentinel node is located under the arm. ...


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Breast Abscess

A breast abscess is a a painful mass on the breast. It presents as a pink to reddish swelling, warm or hot to the touch. Like other abscesses, it is filled with fluid and pus. Pus is a combination of bacteria, white blood cells the body sends to eradicate the bacteria, and dead tissue. The accumulation of these materials causes inflammation and pain. ...


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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease FAQs

What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?

During normal ingestion and digestion, food travels from the mouth through a tube of muscle called the esophagus to the stomach, where it remains until it moves into the intestine. Muscles in the lower part of the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, tighten keeping food and digestive acids in the stomach. For patients who have gastroesophageal reflux disease, the LES muscles are loose allowing acid to escape, or reflux, into the esophagus, damaging or burning the sensitive esophageal lining. ...


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Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a surgical treatment for patients who are seriously obese, or obese and have another dangerous medical condition. There are several types of bariatric surgery, each of which makes surgical changes to the stomach and digestive tract that limit how much food can be ingested, and how much nutrition can be absorbed. All types of bariatric surgery are performed to promote weight loss. ...


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Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia presents as a bulge in the upper thigh or groin on either side of the pubic bone. It occurs when an abdominal organ, usually the small intestine, protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall or in the inguinal canal. Inguinal hernias are by far the most common hernias, occurring more frequently in men than in women. ...


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Ventral Hernia FAQs

What is a ventral hernia?

A ventral or abdominal hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall which develops a tear or hole. The hernia is created as abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes through the opening, causing a bulge to appear on the outside of the body. ...


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Ventral Hernia

A ventral, or abdominal, hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall which develops a tear through which a portion of abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes. Ventral hernias can vary in severity and may or may not require surgical repair.

A ventral hernia may be present at birth or develop over time. It may be caused by a congenital defect in which there is an incomplete closure of the abdominal wall during fetal development. Often a weakness in the abdominal wall present at birth is worn through as the patient ages. Reasons for the development or worsening of ventral hernias include heavy lifting, chronic coughing, and straining during bowel movements or urination. Risk factors for herniation in the abdomen include smoking, obesity and pregnancy. ...


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Gastric Banding

Gastric banding is a restrictive operation in which a band is surgically inserted in the stomach to decrease the organ's size in order to restrict food intake and promote weight loss. This procedure has been FDA approved since 2001 to assist obese patients who require major weight loss and to help relieve their obesity-related health problems. Gastric banding is a commonly performed type of bariatric surgery. ...


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Incisional Hernia

An incisional hernia is a complication of surgery that develops at the site of a previous surgical incision. An incisional hernia usually develops in the abdominal wall where the wall of the abdomen has weakened, resulting in a bulge or tear and a hernia to form. An incisional hernia may occur soon after surgery or many years later. An incisional hernia can cause pain and discomfort with even the slightest physical activity. ...


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Sleeve Gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy, sometimes known as a gastric reduction or a vertical gastroplasty, is a restrictive form of bariatric surgery that effectively shrinks the stomach to approximately 15 percent of its original size. During the procedure, the surgeon sutures the stomach into the shape of a tube, or sleeve. Sleeve gastrectomy is commonly performed on severely obese patients who are not healthy enough to undergo a successful gastric bypass, biliopancreatic diversion or similar weight loss surgery. ...


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Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Repair

Laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is a minimally invasive procedure for repairing a ventral (abdominal) hernia, which occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall that develops into a tear or hole. The hernia is created as the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the opening, forming a sac into which a portion of abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes. The hernia manifests itself as a bulge in the outer wall of the abdomen. Depending on its severity, a ventral hernia may or may not require surgical repair. Using laparoscopic surgery rather than traditional open surgery for repair has significant advantages; they include less scarring, less pain, less risk of infection, and a shorter recovery period. ...


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Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is performed to help severely obese patients lose significant amounts of weight. The surgeon uses suture-like staples to separate a portion of the top of the stomach and create a pouch which is then connected directly to a section of the small intestine called the Roux limb. The name of this procedure derives from the surgical connection to the Roux limb and from the Y-shaped junction between stomach and small intestine. ...


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Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch

Like other bariatric procedures, a biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) is a surgical operation performed to promote weight loss in obese, usually morbidly obese, patients. It works by structurally shrinking the size of stomach and by keeping food to be digested out of most of the small intestine. ...


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Breast Cyst Aspiration

Breast cyst aspiration is a procedure performed to drain a fluid-filled pouch that has formed in breast tissue. The purpose of aspiration is to relieve symptoms, and to provide, if necessary, fluid for laboratory examination.

Breast cysts are usually discovered by mammogram or ultrasound. Such cysts are common and may cause discomfort, but are usually benign. Because a small percentage of breast cysts are malignant, however, they must be checked carefully to see whether further treatment is required. ...


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Dysphagia

Dysphagia, also known as a swallowing disorder, is not an uncommon condition. Because the swallowing process is vital to gastrointestinal health, and the throat functions as a pathway for respiration as well as ingestion, swallowing disorders are not only uncomfortable, but may be life-threatening. There are two types of dysphagia: esophageal and oropharyngeal. Esophageal dysphagia refers to the sensation of food getting stuck in the base of the throat or chest after swallowing. Oropharyngeal dysphagia is caused by weakened throat muscles that make it difficult to move food from the mouth into the throat and esophagus when swallowing. Older individuals are more commonly affected by oropharyngeal dysphagia because of weaker teeth and throat muscles. In addition, people with neurological problems or nervous system disorders may also experience oropharyngeal dysphagia. Individuals who suffer from acid reflux or esophageal problems are more likely to suffer from esophageal dysphagia. ...


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Upper Gastrointestinal Series

The upper gastrointestinal series, or GI series, is a diagnostic set of X-rays taken to detect abnormalities of the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.

An upper gastrointestinal series can help determine the cause of symptoms that may include the following: ...


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Bariatric Revision Surgery

Bariatric surgery is usually a successful procedure that helps a patient achieve significant weight loss. In addition, there are normally minimal to no complications associated with the surgery. However, some patients may experience problems with the surgery or they may not succeed in losing the expected amount of excess weight. In these situations, a follow-up bariatric revision surgery is sometimes necessary. The revision may be recommended for individuals who have been experiencing complications, had poor weight loss results from the initial procedure or recently gained a substantial amount of weight, increasing the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. ...


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Esophagitis

Esophagitis is a condition that involves an irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. This condition may cause pain,difficulty swallowing, bleeding and if left untreated, ulcers may form within the esophagus.

Causes of Esophagitis

Esophagitis is often caused by stomach acid and fluids that flow backward into the esophagus causing pain and irritation. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a common cause of esophagitis. It may also be caused by a bacterial, fungal or viral infection in the esophagus such as a yeast infection or herpes, both of which can develop when the immune system is weak. Other factors that may irritate the esophagus and lead to esophagitis may include: ...


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Esophageal Impedance-pH Study

An esophageal impedance-pH study is a medical test performed to evaluate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to determine whether surgery is necessary for the condition and whether it will be helpful in providing symptom relief. The 24-hour study is an outpatient procedure in which a tube with sensors is inserted into the esophagus to measure acid and nonacid reflux. The patient wears a device that records pertinent data concerning reflux and episodes during which symptoms occur. Correlation between the two is later analyzed to determine whether the patient's symptoms are the result of GERD. ...


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Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy is a diagnostic procedure used to examine liver tissue and determine the cause of any abnormalities. This procedure is often performed after another test, such as a blood test or imaging test, indicates a problem with the liver. A liver biopsy can diagnose many problems, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C, and liver cancer. Results from a liver biopsy are available within a few days to several weeks. ...


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Esophageal Manometry

An esophageal manometry is a diagnostic test used to measure the pressure inside the lower part of the esophagus and determine if it is contracting properly. The esophagus is the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach. The esophageal manometry test also measures the muscle contractions and coordination within the esophagus when patients swallow. This test can help diagnose swallowing problems, or gastroesophageal reflux. Patients who may be suffering from heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or chest pain may be advised to undergo a esophageal manometry test. ...


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Barium Swallow

A barium swallow is a diagnostic test that allows doctors to take X-rays of the esophagus. It is normally used to diagnose conditions in people experiencing digestive problems that may include the following symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Severe indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss

A barium swallow is used to diagnose various conditions that may include the following: ...


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Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus is a medical condition in which the tissue that lines the esophagus is replaced by tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestines. Barrett's esophagus is the result of long-term exposure to stomach acid, most often due to gastrointestinal reflux disease, also known as GERD. The lining of the esophagus changes color and composition, and patients may develop cellular abnormalities, known as dysplasia. Patients with Barrett's esophagus may be prone to developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, a cancer of the esophagus. ...


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Gastritis

Gastritis is the abnormal inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Gastritis can be acute, or chronic, but most often is not a serious condition.

Causes of Gastritis

Gastritis usually occurs when the mucous lining on the stomach is weakened and becomes damaged and inflamed by digestive juices. This weakening can be triggered by a number of factors such as: ...


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Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a sore or lesion that develops in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum.

Types of Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are classified according to the location they are found within the body. These include the following:

  • Duodenal - located in the duodenum
  • Esophageal - located in the esophagus
  • Gastric - located in the stomach

Causes of a Peptic Ulcer

It is commonly believed that ulcers form as a result of stress or poor eating habits. It has been found, however, that 90 percent of ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori, also known as H. pylori, a bacterium that lives on the lining of the stomach. Other causes of an ulcer may include the following: ...


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Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

Helicobacter pylori, commonly known as H. pylori, is a bacterial infection of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). While the infection is believed to be present in more than half of the world's population, a great many people are asymptomatic and unaware that they have the infection. Nonetheless, H. pylori can be serious and is a common cause of ulcers. In addition, H. pylori that produces inflammation puts patients at increased risk of developing stomach cancer. ...


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Upper Endoscopy

Upper endoscopy, also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD, is a diagnostic procedure used to visually examine and diagnose conditions of the upper gastrointestinal, or digestive tract. The upper gastrointestinal tract includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, or upper part of the small intestine. An upper endoscopy is performed using a flexible tube with an attached light and camera, called an endoscope. It is inserted through the mouth and guided along to thoroughly examine the upper gastrointestinal tract. ...


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Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition that causes the movement of food to slow down or stop, as it moves from the stomach to the small intestine. The stomach muscles do not function properly and the stomach's ability to empty is reduced. As a result, people with gastroparesis are at risk for dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and malnutrition. ...


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Gastric Emptying Study

A gastric emptying study, also known as GES, is a diagnostic test conducted to determine the amount of time it takes for the stomach to empty. A GES is usually performed to identify conditions that may affect the natural emptying of the stomach and causing symptoms that include nausea and vomiting. A slow or rapid emptying of the stomach may occur as a result of conditions that include systemic sclerosis, medication or diabetes. ...


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Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy

A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, also known as a PEG or gastrostomy tube insertion, is a surgical procedure to insert a feeding tube through the abdomen and into the stomach. A gastrostomy can be either a temporary or long-term treatment, depending on the condition of the patient. ...


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Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. The hiatus is the place where the stomach and esophagus connect. When the stomach pushes through this opening due to a weakness in the diaphragm, a hiatal hernia results. ...


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Hiatal Hernia FAQs

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. It is the hole through which the esophagus attaches to the stomach. If the stomach pushes upward through a weakened area in the wall of the diaphragm, however, this results in a hiatal hernia and, often, symptoms of acid reflux. ...


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Nissen Fundoplication

A Nissen fundoplication is a surgical procedure to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. The operation treats gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by preventing stomach acid from backing up. During the procedure, the upper end of the stomach, known as the fundus, is wrapped around the lower esophagus to strengthen the barrier between the two organs. Performed laparoscopically, the surgery requires only small incisions and results in less scarring and a shorter recovery period than an open procedure. A hiatal hernia can also be repaired during this operation. ...


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Repair of Failed Nissen Fundoplication

Surgical procedures to correct reflux disease, also known as GERD, are usually highly successful. These procedures, which usually involve repair of a hiatal hernia, are undertaken when medications alone do not relieve troublesome and potentially dangerous symptoms. Sometimes, however, symptoms of GERD recur after surgery and the patient once again experiences heartburn, regurgitation, nausea or upper intestinal discomfort. ...


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Intussusception

Intussusception is a serious disorder in which one part of the intestine slides into another, cutting off blood supply and frequently blocking food or liquid from progressing through the digestive tract. Left untreated, intussusception can result in perforation of the intestine that may cause infection and necrosis (tissue death). Intussusception is the most common cause of intestinal blockage in patients under the age of 3. Although rare in adults, when it does occur, it is typically caused by an underlying condition, such as a tumor. ...


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Small Bowel Resection

During a small bowel resection, part of the small intestine is removed to treat various medical problems. During a small bowel resection, the surgeon removes the diseased portion of the small intestine and stitches the healthy ends together. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Reasons for small bowel resection may include: ...


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Bowel Resection FAQs

What is a bowel resection?

Also known as colon resection or colectomy, a bowel resection involves the surgical removal of part of the small intestine (small bowel resection) or colon (large bowel resection) and the reconnection of the remaining ends.

When is a bowel resection necessary?

Surgery is recommended for the treatment of certain diseases such as cancer and diverticular disease, intestinal blockage due to scar tissue, ulcerative colitis that does not respond to medication, traumatic injuries and polyps. ...


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Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum and anus, is a symptom of many different diseases, some of which may be life-threatening. Many cases of gastrointestinal bleeding are a result of ulcers or hemorrhoids, which can be treated, but still require prompt treatment. ...


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Gastrointestinal Perforation

A gastrointestinal perforation is a hole that occurs in the entire wall of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum or gallbladder. The perforation causes the content of these organs to flow into the abdominal cavity resulting in medical shock or death. A gastrointestinal perforation is considered to be a medical and surgical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. ...


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Appendectomy

An appendectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the appendix, a small organ located at the junction of the small intestine and colon. The appendix, once thought to be only vestigial, is now known to help lubricate the colon, and assist the immune system. Appendectomies are, therefore, performed only when necessary. ...


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Constipation

Constipation affects almost everyone at some point. A person is considered constipated if he or she has three or fewer bowel movements a week, or has bowel movements that are hard, dry and/or painful. How often a bowel movement typically occurs determines whether a person is considered constipated. ...


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Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the inside of the colon and rectum; it is used to determine causes of abdominal pain; rectal bleeding; and changes in bowel activity. It is also used to detect early signs of cancer. Colonoscopies are recommended every 10 years for everyone between the ages of 50 and 75. They may be recommended more frequently, or at a younger age, for people at elevated risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), typically patients with certain medical conditions or with a family history of the disease. Colonoscopies are also performed as follow-ups to other screening tests with positive results, such as a fecal occult blood tests. ...


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Colonoscopy FAQs

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the inside of the colon and rectum.

Why is a colonoscopy performed?

The colonoscopy procedure can aid in determining the cause of changes in bowel activity, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, as well as detect early signs of cancer. A colonoscopy may be recommended as an option for people who are at risk of developing cancer of the colon and rectum, known as colorectal cancer, or CRC. ...


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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, develops in the large intestine or the rectum. Cancer occurs when healthy cells become altered, growing and dividing in a way that keeps the body from functioning normally. Most cases of colorectal cancer begin as small, benign clusters of cells (polyps) on the lining of the colon or rectum. Certain types of polyps, called adenomas, can become malignant. ...


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Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a tear in the mucous membrane that lines the anus and the anal canal. This condition often leads to pain, itching, burning and bleeding during bowel movements, as well as as to a visible crack in the skin around the anus. Anal fissures are relatively common in young infants, but can occur in patients of all ages. While most anal fissures heal on their own within 4 to 6 weeks, some require surgery. ...


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Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. In their normal state, these veins provide cushioning during bowel movements. They can, however, swell from lifting, straining, being constipated, passing hard stools and having diarrhea, or from pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are not life-threatening, but they can be painful. If swelling persists, the veins may become permanently stretched (prolapsed). ...


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Hemorrhoid Treatment with CRH O'Regan System

Hemorrhoids, the often troublesome swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus, affect approximately 50 percent of the population older than 50. They can cause pain, itching, bleeding and fecal-matter leakage. Over the years, several surgical and nonsurgical methods of treating hemorrhoids have been developed. Recently, a new treatment, known as the CRH O'Regan System, has moved into the forefront of hemorrhoid care. In most cases, patients can have this treatment on their first visit to the doctor, experiencing relief from hemorrhoidal pain almost immediately. ...


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Pilonidal Cyst Removal

A pilonidal cyst is a fluid-filled, pimple-like sac at the coccyx (tailbone), just below the crack of the buttocks. Pilonidal cysts are prone to infection; if one does become infected, filling with pus, it is technically called a "pilonidal abscess." Pilonidal abscesses are always treated with excision and drainage because, left untreated, the infection can spread. ...


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Gallstones

Gallstones are small deposits of crystallized bile that form in the gallbladder, a small sac that sits below the liver and is located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. The gallbladder is connected to both the liver and the intestine by a series of ducts that transfer bile from the liver to the intestine to aid in digestion. Bile, which is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, helps the body digest fats and is composed of water, cholesterol, fats, salts and proteins. ...


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Cholecystitis

Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder, the small organ behind the liver. The great majority of cases of cholecystitis result from the presence of gallstones, though the disorder may also occur because of another disease or, rarely, a tumor in the area. Normally, the gallbladder releases bile to the small intestine as needed, but when there is a blockage bile builds up in the gallbladder, resulting in pain, swelling and possible infection. While the gallbladder plays a part in the digestive process, it is not a vital organ and can be removed if necessary for the patient's health and well-being. ...


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Gallbladder Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging is commonly used to help physicians diagnose and treat conditions of the gallbladder and other organs within the abdomen. Unlike other ionizing-type wave imaging systems, ultrasound is captured in real time, allowing both the technician and patient to view the results immediately. An ultrasound of the gallbladder may be performed to detect cholecystitis, the inflammation of the gallbladder, gallstones, or blocked bile ducts. ...


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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a diagnostic procedure performed to detect abnormalities in the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and bile ducts. It is performed using an endoscope (a lighted tube snaked down the esophagus) and X-rays to obtain a detailed view of the gastrointestinal region. ...


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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. The gallbladder collects and releases bile to aid in the process of digestion. Although the gallbladder performs a digestive function, it is not necessary for proper body functioning and may be removed if diseased. ...


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Cholecystectomy FAQs

 

What is a cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy is a surgical removal of the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver.

When is a cholecystectomy required?

A cholecystectomy is usually performed when the gallbladder is inflamed, blocked, diseased, cancerous or contains gallstones. ...


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Biliary Drainage

Biliary drainage, also called percutaneous biliary drainage, is a common treatment for clearing gallstones and other blockages from the bile ducts. The bile ducts carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine to aid in digestion.

During biliary drainage, an incision is made through the skin into the liver, where a stent is placed to hold the bile duct open. A biliary drainage tube (catheter) is then inserted to clear the bile duct of any obstructions. If the bile duct is blocked by gallstones, surgery to remove the gallbladder is usually performed. In the case of cancer in the region, the bile duct may be widened during an endoscopic procedure. ...


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Post-Cholecystectomy Syndrome

A certain percentage of people who have undergone a cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder) continue to suffer from some of their presurgical symptoms, a condition known as post-cholecystectomy syndrome (PCS). In most cases, PCS symptoms are not severe and either subside on their own or are controlled well with medication. In some few cases, however, symptoms persist or even become increasingly severe, and another surgical procedure is necessary. ...


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Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large, flat gland located in the upper abdomen, between the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. The pancreas produces enzymes that flow through the pancreatic duct and combine with bile to aid in the digestion of food. The pancreas also produces insulin and glucagon to help regulate blood sugar levels. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the enzymes it produces become active and attack it, damaging the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be either an acute or chronic condition causing mild to severe symptoms. Both forms of pancreatitis may lead to complications. Severe cases of pancreatitis may cause permanent damage to the tissue. Pancreatitis is more likely to occur in men than women. ...


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Peritoneal Dialysis

Dialysis is a treatment to filter the blood and remove waste products when the kidneys are no longer functioning properly. During hemodialysis, the patient's blood circulates through a machine to be cleansed before re-entering the body. This procedure takes place in a medical setting under the supervision of a healthcare professional. ...


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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot, also known as a thrombus, forms in a vein deep within the body. Such clots most frequently form in the legs, but may occur in other parts of the body.

Causes of DVT

There are a variety of reasons blood clots may occur in the veins: damage to veins, slow blood flow, or thickened blood consistency. Most patients who develop DVT are over 60 years old, but this condition can occur at any age. Causes of changes to veins and blood flow may include: ...


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Atelectasis

Atelectasis is a collapse of part or all of a lung as a result of a blockage in one of the bronchi, the tubes that carry air from the trachea to lung tissue. A blockage may be caused by a number of factors, including a buildup of mucus or fluid in the airways. The blockage can also be caused externally to the bronchi by a tumor or a lymph node. It is a common occurrence for a patient who has had surgery or was recently released from the hospital. ...


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Spirometry

Spirometry is a pulmonary examination used to diagnose conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It measures the amount of air the lungs can hold, as well as how fast they can expel air. During spirometry, a patient breathes through a tube attached to a spirometer, which calculates and records results. ...


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Abscess Drainage

An abscess is a mass caused by a bacterial infection; it forms when a cavity fills with pus, which is a combination of dead tissue, white blood cells and bacteria. Although an abscess can develop anywhere (sometimes as a postsurgical complication), moist areas such as the armpits, groin, tailbone region (pilonidal cyst) and mouth (dental abscess) are particularly susceptible. Although some drain on their own, many abscesses require medical intervention. ...


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Da Vinci® Surgical System

In a relatively new approach to minimally invasive surgery (MIS), the da Vinci® system applies robotic technology to various types of surgery. Although laparoscopic surgery is also minimally invasive, it limits the surgeon to rigid and fairly restricted movements. The da Vinci surgical system offers flexibility and control, and permits precise, effective results in a wide range of surgical procedures, including those used in treating cardiac, colorectal, gynecologic, head and neck, thoracic, and urological problems. ...


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Obesity

Obesity is a chronic condition defined by an excess of body fat. Body fat has several important functions in the body, such as storing energy and providing insulation. Excess body fat, however, may interfere with an individual's health and well-being, particularly if a patient becomes morbidly obese. Not only does obesity interfere with everyday activities, it also increases the risk of developing serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Obesity is a serious health issue presently reaching epidemic proportions in society. It results in medical complications and early morbidity for a great many people. Other health conditions caused or exacerbated by obesity may include heart disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, high cholesterol and asthma. The good news is that obesity is a treatable ailment and that modern medicine provides more remedies for the condition than previously existed. ...


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Body Mass Index

Body mass index, or BMI, is a calculation of total body fat based on height and weight. It is used to determine whether a patient is underweight, at a healthy weight or overweight. A high BMI can alert both doctor and patient to potential health risks associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, breathing difficulties, severe sleep apnea or certain cancers. A low BMI can help to diagnose various illnesses which lead to or are precipitated by malnutrition, such as anemia, eating disorders or other types of cancer. ...


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Breast Biopsy

A biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes a sample of abnormal tissue to determine whether it is benign or malignant. A biopsy can be performed on many different areas of the body, but is commonly used to diagnose, and sometimes treat, lumps found in breast tissue.

A breast biopsy may be performed after abnormalities have been detected in the breast as a result of a breast self-exam, mammogram or other imaging procedure. In addition to its diagnostic purpose, a biopsy can remove small tumors or other abnormalities that are found during the procedure, eliminating the need for additional surgery. ...


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Diagnostic Laparoscopy FAQs

What is diagnostic laparoscopy?

Diagnostic laparoscopy involves the insertion of a thin camera-tipped instrument called a laparoscope through a small incision to examine a patient's abdomen or pelvis. This includes the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, small and large bowels, appendix, liver and gallbladder. A diagnostic laparoscopy is typically done to confirm the presence or absence of a condition when noninvasive tests, such as X-ray or ultrasound, prove inconclusive, and to help the surgeon determine the proper course of treatment. There are situations in which a diagnostic laparoscopy may be contraindicated, as, for example, when the patient has a swollen bowel, fluid in the abdomen, or another serious medical condition. ...


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Core Needle Breast Biopsy

A core needle breast biopsy is performed to evaluate breast abnormalities. Although similar to a fine-needle biopsy, a core needle biopsy removes tissue rather than just cells. Through microscopic analysis of this tissue, a determination can be made as to whether or not a malignancy is present. ...


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Nutrition

Proper diet is essential to maintaining good health. Keeping the body well-nourished and at a healthy weight has been proven to improve mood, quality of life and longevity. It may also go a long way in preventing or controlling many serious illnesses. Obesity, which has now reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and an enemy of good health, can be kept at bay through proper nutrition along with a program of healthy exercise. ...


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Diet and Exercise

Developing a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen are equally important. Many people only consider improving their diet and exercise routine when they want to lose weight. Diet and exercise, however, should not be forgotten once weight loss goals are achieved since they are important health factors even in individuals who are at an optimal weight. ...


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Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove malignant or other abnormal breast tissue. Since during a lumpectomy the surgeon removes the smallest amount of breast tissue possible, the procedure is sometimes referred to as breast-conserving or breast-sparing surgery. ...


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Robotic-assisted Surgery

Today, laparoscopic surgery may be performed with robotic assistance. Usually performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System, the doctor is able to operate with real-time images and EndoWrist® instruments, tools which can mimic the surgeon's dexterity with great precision and which have an even greater range of motion than the human wrist. ...


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Mastectomy

A mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the breast(s) in a patient with breast cancer. It is one of the most commonly used and effective options for treating breast cancer because it removes all traces of cancer, and reduces the risk of its recurrence.

Types of Mastectomy

There are several different mastectomy procedures designed to eradicate the cancer but retain as much of the natural breast as possible. Some of the most commonly used techniques include: ...


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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that involves repeated breathing interruptions during sleep. These interruptions may occur hundred of times each night, and may be the result of structural abnormalities or brain malfunctions. During normal breathing, air passes through the nose, past the flexible structures in the back of the throat, including the soft palate, uvula and tongue. When a person is awake, the muscles hold this airway open. When they are asleep, these muscles relax and the airway usually stays open. Sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway and airflow are blocked, causing the oxygen levels to drop in both in the brain and the blood, resulting in shallow breathing or breathing pauses during sleep. ...


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Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia occurs when abdominal tissue protrudes through the skin around the navel or belly button. A common congenital condition in newborns, it may also appear in adulthood, often precipitated or exacerbated by obesity, pregnancy, abdominal surgery or heavy lifting. Umbilical hernias, like other hernias, happen when part of an abdominal organ, usually the intestine, presses through a weak point in the abdominal wall. ...


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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid, used for digestion, regurgitates or refluxes into the esophagus, causing inflammation and damage to the lining of the esophagus. GERD is a complication of gastroesophageal reflux, also known as GER, a less serious form of GERD. Most people have occasional episodes of GER, but when GER becomes more frequent, occurring more than two times a week, it is classified as GERD. The stomach acid causes pain or burning in the chest or throat, known as heartburn. ...


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Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a diagnostic surgical procedure performed to determine whether cancer has spread into the lymphatic system from its original site. The sentinel node is the first node to which the cancer spreads after leaving its site of origin. In the case of breast cancer, the sentinel node is located under the arm. ...


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Breast Abscess

A breast abscess is a a painful mass on the breast. It presents as a pink to reddish swelling, warm or hot to the touch. Like other abscesses, it is filled with fluid and pus. Pus is a combination of bacteria, white blood cells the body sends to eradicate the bacteria, and dead tissue. The accumulation of these materials causes inflammation and pain. ...


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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease FAQs

What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?

During normal ingestion and digestion, food travels from the mouth through a tube of muscle called the esophagus to the stomach, where it remains until it moves into the intestine. Muscles in the lower part of the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, tighten keeping food and digestive acids in the stomach. For patients who have gastroesophageal reflux disease, the LES muscles are loose allowing acid to escape, or reflux, into the esophagus, damaging or burning the sensitive esophageal lining. ...


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Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a surgical treatment for patients who are seriously obese, or obese and have another dangerous medical condition. There are several types of bariatric surgery, each of which makes surgical changes to the stomach and digestive tract that limit how much food can be ingested, and how much nutrition can be absorbed. All types of bariatric surgery are performed to promote weight loss. ...


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Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia presents as a bulge in the upper thigh or groin on either side of the pubic bone. It occurs when an abdominal organ, usually the small intestine, protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall or in the inguinal canal. Inguinal hernias are by far the most common hernias, occurring more frequently in men than in women. ...


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Ventral Hernia FAQs

What is a ventral hernia?

A ventral or abdominal hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall which develops a tear or hole. The hernia is created as abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes through the opening, causing a bulge to appear on the outside of the body. ...


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Ventral Hernia

A ventral, or abdominal, hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall which develops a tear through which a portion of abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes. Ventral hernias can vary in severity and may or may not require surgical repair.

A ventral hernia may be present at birth or develop over time. It may be caused by a congenital defect in which there is an incomplete closure of the abdominal wall during fetal development. Often a weakness in the abdominal wall present at birth is worn through as the patient ages. Reasons for the development or worsening of ventral hernias include heavy lifting, chronic coughing, and straining during bowel movements or urination. Risk factors for herniation in the abdomen include smoking, obesity and pregnancy. ...


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Gastric Banding

Gastric banding is a restrictive operation in which a band is surgically inserted in the stomach to decrease the organ's size in order to restrict food intake and promote weight loss. This procedure has been FDA approved since 2001 to assist obese patients who require major weight loss and to help relieve their obesity-related health problems. Gastric banding is a commonly performed type of bariatric surgery. ...


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Incisional Hernia

An incisional hernia is a complication of surgery that develops at the site of a previous surgical incision. An incisional hernia usually develops in the abdominal wall where the wall of the abdomen has weakened, resulting in a bulge or tear and a hernia to form. An incisional hernia may occur soon after surgery or many years later. An incisional hernia can cause pain and discomfort with even the slightest physical activity. ...


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Sleeve Gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy, sometimes known as a gastric reduction or a vertical gastroplasty, is a restrictive form of bariatric surgery that effectively shrinks the stomach to approximately 15 percent of its original size. During the procedure, the surgeon sutures the stomach into the shape of a tube, or sleeve. Sleeve gastrectomy is commonly performed on severely obese patients who are not healthy enough to undergo a successful gastric bypass, biliopancreatic diversion or similar weight loss surgery. ...


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Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Repair

Laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is a minimally invasive procedure for repairing a ventral (abdominal) hernia, which occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall that develops into a tear or hole. The hernia is created as the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the opening, forming a sac into which a portion of abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes. The hernia manifests itself as a bulge in the outer wall of the abdomen. Depending on its severity, a ventral hernia may or may not require surgical repair. Using laparoscopic surgery rather than traditional open surgery for repair has significant advantages; they include less scarring, less pain, less risk of infection, and a shorter recovery period. ...


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Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is performed to help severely obese patients lose significant amounts of weight. The surgeon uses suture-like staples to separate a portion of the top of the stomach and create a pouch which is then connected directly to a section of the small intestine called the Roux limb. The name of this procedure derives from the surgical connection to the Roux limb and from the Y-shaped junction between stomach and small intestine. ...


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Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch

Like other bariatric procedures, a biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) is a surgical operation performed to promote weight loss in obese, usually morbidly obese, patients. It works by structurally shrinking the size of stomach and by keeping food to be digested out of most of the small intestine. ...


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Breast Cyst Aspiration

Breast cyst aspiration is a procedure performed to drain a fluid-filled pouch that has formed in breast tissue. The purpose of aspiration is to relieve symptoms, and to provide, if necessary, fluid for laboratory examination.

Breast cysts are usually discovered by mammogram or ultrasound. Such cysts are common and may cause discomfort, but are usually benign. Because a small percentage of breast cysts are malignant, however, they must be checked carefully to see whether further treatment is required. ...


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Dysphagia

Dysphagia, also known as a swallowing disorder, is not an uncommon condition. Because the swallowing process is vital to gastrointestinal health, and the throat functions as a pathway for respiration as well as ingestion, swallowing disorders are not only uncomfortable, but may be life-threatening. There are two types of dysphagia: esophageal and oropharyngeal. Esophageal dysphagia refers to the sensation of food getting stuck in the base of the throat or chest after swallowing. Oropharyngeal dysphagia is caused by weakened throat muscles that make it difficult to move food from the mouth into the throat and esophagus when swallowing. Older individuals are more commonly affected by oropharyngeal dysphagia because of weaker teeth and throat muscles. In addition, people with neurological problems or nervous system disorders may also experience oropharyngeal dysphagia. Individuals who suffer from acid reflux or esophageal problems are more likely to suffer from esophageal dysphagia. ...


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Upper Gastrointestinal Series

The upper gastrointestinal series, or GI series, is a diagnostic set of X-rays taken to detect abnormalities of the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.

An upper gastrointestinal series can help determine the cause of symptoms that may include the following: ...


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Bariatric Revision Surgery

Bariatric surgery is usually a successful procedure that helps a patient achieve significant weight loss. In addition, there are normally minimal to no complications associated with the surgery. However, some patients may experience problems with the surgery or they may not succeed in losing the expected amount of excess weight. In these situations, a follow-up bariatric revision surgery is sometimes necessary. The revision may be recommended for individuals who have been experiencing complications, had poor weight loss results from the initial procedure or recently gained a substantial amount of weight, increasing the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. ...


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Esophagitis

Esophagitis is a condition that involves an irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. This condition may cause pain,difficulty swallowing, bleeding and if left untreated, ulcers may form within the esophagus.

Causes of Esophagitis

Esophagitis is often caused by stomach acid and fluids that flow backward into the esophagus causing pain and irritation. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a common cause of esophagitis. It may also be caused by a bacterial, fungal or viral infection in the esophagus such as a yeast infection or herpes, both of which can develop when the immune system is weak. Other factors that may irritate the esophagus and lead to esophagitis may include: ...


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Esophageal Impedance-pH Study

An esophageal impedance-pH study is a medical test performed to evaluate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to determine whether surgery is necessary for the condition and whether it will be helpful in providing symptom relief. The 24-hour study is an outpatient procedure in which a tube with sensors is inserted into the esophagus to measure acid and nonacid reflux. The patient wears a device that records pertinent data concerning reflux and episodes during which symptoms occur. Correlation between the two is later analyzed to determine whether the patient's symptoms are the result of GERD. ...


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Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy is a diagnostic procedure used to examine liver tissue and determine the cause of any abnormalities. This procedure is often performed after another test, such as a blood test or imaging test, indicates a problem with the liver. A liver biopsy can diagnose many problems, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C, and liver cancer. Results from a liver biopsy are available within a few days to several weeks. ...


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Esophageal Manometry

An esophageal manometry is a diagnostic test used to measure the pressure inside the lower part of the esophagus and determine if it is contracting properly. The esophagus is the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach. The esophageal manometry test also measures the muscle contractions and coordination within the esophagus when patients swallow. This test can help diagnose swallowing problems, or gastroesophageal reflux. Patients who may be suffering from heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or chest pain may be advised to undergo a esophageal manometry test. ...


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Barium Swallow

A barium swallow is a diagnostic test that allows doctors to take X-rays of the esophagus. It is normally used to diagnose conditions in people experiencing digestive problems that may include the following symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Severe indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss

A barium swallow is used to diagnose various conditions that may include the following: ...


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Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus is a medical condition in which the tissue that lines the esophagus is replaced by tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestines. Barrett's esophagus is the result of long-term exposure to stomach acid, most often due to gastrointestinal reflux disease, also known as GERD. The lining of the esophagus changes color and composition, and patients may develop cellular abnormalities, known as dysplasia. Patients with Barrett's esophagus may be prone to developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, a cancer of the esophagus. ...


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Gastritis

Gastritis is the abnormal inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Gastritis can be acute, or chronic, but most often is not a serious condition.

Causes of Gastritis

Gastritis usually occurs when the mucous lining on the stomach is weakened and becomes damaged and inflamed by digestive juices. This weakening can be triggered by a number of factors such as: ...


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Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a sore or lesion that develops in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum.

Types of Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are classified according to the location they are found within the body. These include the following:

  • Duodenal - located in the duodenum
  • Esophageal - located in the esophagus
  • Gastric - located in the stomach

Causes of a Peptic Ulcer

It is commonly believed that ulcers form as a result of stress or poor eating habits. It has been found, however, that 90 percent of ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori, also known as H. pylori, a bacterium that lives on the lining of the stomach. Other causes of an ulcer may include the following: ...


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Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

Helicobacter pylori, commonly known as H. pylori, is a bacterial infection of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). While the infection is believed to be present in more than half of the world's population, a great many people are asymptomatic and unaware that they have the infection. Nonetheless, H. pylori can be serious and is a common cause of ulcers. In addition, H. pylori that produces inflammation puts patients at increased risk of developing stomach cancer. ...


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Upper Endoscopy

Upper endoscopy, also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD, is a diagnostic procedure used to visually examine and diagnose conditions of the upper gastrointestinal, or digestive tract. The upper gastrointestinal tract includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, or upper part of the small intestine. An upper endoscopy is performed using a flexible tube with an attached light and camera, called an endoscope. It is inserted through the mouth and guided along to thoroughly examine the upper gastrointestinal tract. ...


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Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition that causes the movement of food to slow down or stop, as it moves from the stomach to the small intestine. The stomach muscles do not function properly and the stomach's ability to empty is reduced. As a result, people with gastroparesis are at risk for dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and malnutrition. ...


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Gastric Emptying Study

A gastric emptying study, also known as GES, is a diagnostic test conducted to determine the amount of time it takes for the stomach to empty. A GES is usually performed to identify conditions that may affect the natural emptying of the stomach and causing symptoms that include nausea and vomiting. A slow or rapid emptying of the stomach may occur as a result of conditions that include systemic sclerosis, medication or diabetes. ...


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Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy

A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, also known as a PEG or gastrostomy tube insertion, is a surgical procedure to insert a feeding tube through the abdomen and into the stomach. A gastrostomy can be either a temporary or long-term treatment, depending on the condition of the patient. ...


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Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. The hiatus is the place where the stomach and esophagus connect. When the stomach pushes through this opening due to a weakness in the diaphragm, a hiatal hernia results. ...


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Hiatal Hernia FAQs

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. It is the hole through which the esophagus attaches to the stomach. If the stomach pushes upward through a weakened area in the wall of the diaphragm, however, this results in a hiatal hernia and, often, symptoms of acid reflux. ...


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Nissen Fundoplication

A Nissen fundoplication is a surgical procedure to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. The operation treats gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by preventing stomach acid from backing up. During the procedure, the upper end of the stomach, known as the fundus, is wrapped around the lower esophagus to strengthen the barrier between the two organs. Performed laparoscopically, the surgery requires only small incisions and results in less scarring and a shorter recovery period than an open procedure. A hiatal hernia can also be repaired during this operation. ...


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Repair of Failed Nissen Fundoplication

Surgical procedures to correct reflux disease, also known as GERD, are usually highly successful. These procedures, which usually involve repair of a hiatal hernia, are undertaken when medications alone do not relieve troublesome and potentially dangerous symptoms. Sometimes, however, symptoms of GERD recur after surgery and the patient once again experiences heartburn, regurgitation, nausea or upper intestinal discomfort. ...


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Intussusception

Intussusception is a serious disorder in which one part of the intestine slides into another, cutting off blood supply and frequently blocking food or liquid from progressing through the digestive tract. Left untreated, intussusception can result in perforation of the intestine that may cause infection and necrosis (tissue death). Intussusception is the most common cause of intestinal blockage in patients under the age of 3. Although rare in adults, when it does occur, it is typically caused by an underlying condition, such as a tumor. ...


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Small Bowel Resection

During a small bowel resection, part of the small intestine is removed to treat various medical problems. During a small bowel resection, the surgeon removes the diseased portion of the small intestine and stitches the healthy ends together. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Reasons for small bowel resection may include: ...


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Bowel Resection FAQs

What is a bowel resection?

Also known as colon resection or colectomy, a bowel resection involves the surgical removal of part of the small intestine (small bowel resection) or colon (large bowel resection) and the reconnection of the remaining ends.

When is a bowel resection necessary?

Surgery is recommended for the treatment of certain diseases such as cancer and diverticular disease, intestinal blockage due to scar tissue, ulcerative colitis that does not respond to medication, traumatic injuries and polyps. ...


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Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum and anus, is a symptom of many different diseases, some of which may be life-threatening. Many cases of gastrointestinal bleeding are a result of ulcers or hemorrhoids, which can be treated, but still require prompt treatment. ...


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Gastrointestinal Perforation

A gastrointestinal perforation is a hole that occurs in the entire wall of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum or gallbladder. The perforation causes the content of these organs to flow into the abdominal cavity resulting in medical shock or death. A gastrointestinal perforation is considered to be a medical and surgical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. ...


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Appendectomy

An appendectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the appendix, a small organ located at the junction of the small intestine and colon. The appendix, once thought to be only vestigial, is now known to help lubricate the colon, and assist the immune system. Appendectomies are, therefore, performed only when necessary. ...


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Constipation

Constipation affects almost everyone at some point. A person is considered constipated if he or she has three or fewer bowel movements a week, or has bowel movements that are hard, dry and/or painful. How often a bowel movement typically occurs determines whether a person is considered constipated. ...


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Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the inside of the colon and rectum; it is used to determine causes of abdominal pain; rectal bleeding; and changes in bowel activity. It is also used to detect early signs of cancer. Colonoscopies are recommended every 10 years for everyone between the ages of 50 and 75. They may be recommended more frequently, or at a younger age, for people at elevated risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), typically patients with certain medical conditions or with a family history of the disease. Colonoscopies are also performed as follow-ups to other screening tests with positive results, such as a fecal occult blood tests. ...


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Colonoscopy FAQs

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the inside of the colon and rectum.

Why is a colonoscopy performed?

The colonoscopy procedure can aid in determining the cause of changes in bowel activity, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, as well as detect early signs of cancer. A colonoscopy may be recommended as an option for people who are at risk of developing cancer of the colon and rectum, known as colorectal cancer, or CRC. ...


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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, develops in the large intestine or the rectum. Cancer occurs when healthy cells become altered, growing and dividing in a way that keeps the body from functioning normally. Most cases of colorectal cancer begin as small, benign clusters of cells (polyps) on the lining of the colon or rectum. Certain types of polyps, called adenomas, can become malignant. ...


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Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a tear in the mucous membrane that lines the anus and the anal canal. This condition often leads to pain, itching, burning and bleeding during bowel movements, as well as as to a visible crack in the skin around the anus. Anal fissures are relatively common in young infants, but can occur in patients of all ages. While most anal fissures heal on their own within 4 to 6 weeks, some require surgery. ...


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Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. In their normal state, these veins provide cushioning during bowel movements. They can, however, swell from lifting, straining, being constipated, passing hard stools and having diarrhea, or from pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are not life-threatening, but they can be painful. If swelling persists, the veins may become permanently stretched (prolapsed). ...


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Hemorrhoid Treatment with CRH O'Regan System

Hemorrhoids, the often troublesome swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus, affect approximately 50 percent of the population older than 50. They can cause pain, itching, bleeding and fecal-matter leakage. Over the years, several surgical and nonsurgical methods of treating hemorrhoids have been developed. Recently, a new treatment, known as the CRH O'Regan System, has moved into the forefront of hemorrhoid care. In most cases, patients can have this treatment on their first visit to the doctor, experiencing relief from hemorrhoidal pain almost immediately. ...


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Pilonidal Cyst Removal

A pilonidal cyst is a fluid-filled, pimple-like sac at the coccyx (tailbone), just below the crack of the buttocks. Pilonidal cysts are prone to infection; if one does become infected, filling with pus, it is technically called a "pilonidal abscess." Pilonidal abscesses are always treated with excision and drainage because, left untreated, the infection can spread. ...


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Gallstones

Gallstones are small deposits of crystallized bile that form in the gallbladder, a small sac that sits below the liver and is located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. The gallbladder is connected to both the liver and the intestine by a series of ducts that transfer bile from the liver to the intestine to aid in digestion. Bile, which is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, helps the body digest fats and is composed of water, cholesterol, fats, salts and proteins. ...


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Cholecystitis

Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder, the small organ behind the liver. The great majority of cases of cholecystitis result from the presence of gallstones, though the disorder may also occur because of another disease or, rarely, a tumor in the area. Normally, the gallbladder releases bile to the small intestine as needed, but when there is a blockage bile builds up in the gallbladder, resulting in pain, swelling and possible infection. While the gallbladder plays a part in the digestive process, it is not a vital organ and can be removed if necessary for the patient's health and well-being. ...


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Gallbladder Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging is commonly used to help physicians diagnose and treat conditions of the gallbladder and other organs within the abdomen. Unlike other ionizing-type wave imaging systems, ultrasound is captured in real time, allowing both the technician and patient to view the results immediately. An ultrasound of the gallbladder may be performed to detect cholecystitis, the inflammation of the gallbladder, gallstones, or blocked bile ducts. ...


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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a diagnostic procedure performed to detect abnormalities in the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and bile ducts. It is performed using an endoscope (a lighted tube snaked down the esophagus) and X-rays to obtain a detailed view of the gastrointestinal region. ...


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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. The gallbladder collects and releases bile to aid in the process of digestion. Although the gallbladder performs a digestive function, it is not necessary for proper body functioning and may be removed if diseased. ...


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Cholecystectomy FAQs

 

What is a cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy is a surgical removal of the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver.

When is a cholecystectomy required?

A cholecystectomy is usually performed when the gallbladder is inflamed, blocked, diseased, cancerous or contains gallstones. ...


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Biliary Drainage

Biliary drainage, also called percutaneous biliary drainage, is a common treatment for clearing gallstones and other blockages from the bile ducts. The bile ducts carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine to aid in digestion. ...


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Post-Cholecystectomy Syndrome

A certain percentage of people who have undergone a cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder) continue to suffer from some of their presurgical symptoms, a condition known as post-cholecystectomy syndrome (PCS). In most cases, PCS symptoms are not severe and either subside on their own or are controlled well with medication. In some few cases, however, symptoms persist or even become increasingly severe, and another surgical procedure is necessary. ...


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Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large, flat gland located in the upper abdomen, between the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. The pancreas produces enzymes that flow through the pancreatic duct and combine with bile to aid in the digestion of food. The pancreas also produces insulin and glucagon to help regulate blood sugar levels. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the enzymes it produces become active and attack it, damaging the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be either an acute or chronic condition causing mild to severe symptoms. Both forms of pancreatitis may lead to complications. Severe cases of pancreatitis may cause permanent damage to the tissue. Pancreatitis is more likely to occur in men than women. ...


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Peritoneal Dialysis

Dialysis is a treatment to filter the blood and remove waste products when the kidneys are no longer functioning properly. During hemodialysis, the patient's blood circulates through a machine to be cleansed before re-entering the body. This procedure takes place in a medical setting under the supervision of a healthcare professional. ...


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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot, also known as a thrombus, forms in a vein deep within the body. Such clots most frequently form in the legs, but may occur in other parts of the body.

Causes of DVT

There are a variety of reasons blood clots may occur in the veins: damage to veins, slow blood flow, or thickened blood consistency. Most patients who develop DVT are over 60 years old, but this condition can occur at any age. Causes of changes to veins and blood flow may include: ...


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Atelectasis

Atelectasis is a collapse of part or all of a lung as a result of a blockage in one of the bronchi, the tubes that carry air from the trachea to lung tissue. A blockage may be caused by a number of factors, including a buildup of mucus or fluid in the airways. The blockage can also be caused externally to the bronchi by a tumor or a lymph node. It is a common occurrence for a patient who has had surgery or was recently released from the hospital. ...


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Spirometry

Spirometry is a pulmonary examination used to diagnose conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It measures the amount of air the lungs can hold, as well as how fast they can expel air. During spirometry, a patient breathes through a tube attached to a spirometer, which calculates and records results. ...


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Abscess Drainage

An abscess is a mass caused by a bacterial infection; it forms when a cavity fills with pus, which is a combination of dead tissue, white blood cells and bacteria. Although an abscess can develop anywhere (sometimes as a postsurgical complication), moist areas such as the armpits, groin, tailbone region (pilonidal cyst) and mouth (dental abscess) are particularly susceptible. Although some drain on their own, many abscesses require medical intervention. ...


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Da Vinci® Surgical System

In a relatively new approach to minimally invasive surgery (MIS), the da Vinci® system applies robotic technology to various types of surgery. Although laparoscopic surgery is also minimally invasive, it limits the surgeon to rigid and fairly restricted movements. The da Vinci surgical system offers flexibility and control, and permits precise, effective results in a wide range of surgical procedures, including those used in treating cardiac, colorectal, gynecologic, head and neck, thoracic, and urological problems. ...


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Obesity

Obesity is a chronic condition defined by an excess of body fat. Body fat has several important functions in the body, such as storing energy and providing insulation. Excess body fat, however, may interfere with an individual's health and well-being, particularly if a patient becomes morbidly obese. Not only does obesity interfere with everyday activities, it also increases the risk of developing serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Obesity is a serious health issue presently reaching epidemic proportions in society. It results in medical complications and early morbidity for a great many people. Other health conditions caused or exacerbated by obesity may include heart disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, high cholesterol and asthma. The good news is that obesity is a treatable ailment and that modern medicine provides more remedies for the condition than previously existed. ...


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Body Mass Index

Body mass index, or BMI, is a calculation of total body fat based on height and weight. It is used to determine whether a patient is underweight, at a healthy weight or overweight. A high BMI can alert both doctor and patient to potential health risks associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, breathing difficulties, severe sleep apnea or certain cancers. A low BMI can help to diagnose various illnesses which lead to or are precipitated by malnutrition, such as anemia, eating disorders or other types of cancer. ...


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Breast Biopsy

A biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes a sample of abnormal tissue to determine whether it is benign or malignant. A biopsy can be performed on many different areas of the body, but is commonly used to diagnose, and sometimes treat, lumps found in breast tissue.

A breast biopsy may be performed after abnormalities have been detected in the breast as a result of a breast self-exam, mammogram or other imaging procedure. In addition to its diagnostic purpose, a biopsy can remove small tumors or other abnormalities that are found during the procedure, eliminating the need for additional surgery. ...


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Diagnostic Laparoscopy FAQs

What is diagnostic laparoscopy?

Diagnostic laparoscopy involves the insertion of a thin camera-tipped instrument called a laparoscope through a small incision to examine a patient's abdomen or pelvis. This includes the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, small and large bowels, appendix, liver and gallbladder. A diagnostic laparoscopy is typically done to confirm the presence or absence of a condition when noninvasive tests, such as X-ray or ultrasound, prove inconclusive, and to help the surgeon determine the proper course of treatment. There are situations in which a diagnostic laparoscopy may be contraindicated, as, for example, when the patient has a swollen bowel, fluid in the abdomen, or another serious medical condition. ...


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Core Needle Breast Biopsy

A core needle breast biopsy is performed to evaluate breast abnormalities. Although similar to a fine-needle biopsy, a core needle biopsy removes tissue rather than just cells. Through microscopic analysis of this tissue, a determination can be made as to whether or not a malignancy is present. ...


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Nutrition

Proper diet is essential to maintaining good health. Keeping the body well-nourished and at a healthy weight has been proven to improve mood, quality of life and longevity. It may also go a long way in preventing or controlling many serious illnesses. Obesity, which has now reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and an enemy of good health, can be kept at bay through proper nutrition along with a program of healthy exercise. ...


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Diet and Exercise

Developing a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen are equally important. Many people only consider improving their diet and exercise routine when they want to lose weight. Diet and exercise, however, should not be forgotten once weight loss goals are achieved since they are important health factors even in individuals who are at an optimal weight. ...


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Lumpectomy

A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove malignant or other abnormal breast tissue. Since during a lumpectomy the surgeon removes the smallest amount of breast tissue possible, the procedure is sometimes referred to as breast-conserving or breast-sparing surgery. ...


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Robotic-assisted Surgery

Today, laparoscopic surgery may be performed with robotic assistance. Usually performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System, the doctor is able to operate with real-time images and EndoWrist® instruments, tools which can mimic the surgeon's dexterity with great precision and which have an even greater range of motion than the human wrist. ...


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Mastectomy

A mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the breast(s) in a patient with breast cancer. It is one of the most commonly used and effective options for treating breast cancer because it removes all traces of cancer, and reduces the risk of its recurrence.

Types of Mastectomy

There are several different mastectomy procedures designed to eradicate the cancer but retain as much of the natural breast as possible. Some of the most commonly used techniques include: ...


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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that involves repeated breathing interruptions during sleep. These interruptions may occur hundred of times each night, and may be the result of structural abnormalities or brain malfunctions. During normal breathing, air passes through the nose, past the flexible structures in the back of the throat, including the soft palate, uvula and tongue. When a person is awake, the muscles hold this airway open. When they are asleep, these muscles relax and the airway usually stays open. Sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway and airflow are blocked, causing the oxygen levels to drop in both in the brain and the blood, resulting in shallow breathing or breathing pauses during sleep. ...


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Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia occurs when abdominal tissue protrudes through the skin around the navel or belly button. A common congenital condition in newborns, it may also appear in adulthood, often precipitated or exacerbated by obesity, pregnancy, abdominal surgery or heavy lifting. Umbilical hernias, like other hernias, happen when part of an abdominal organ, usually the intestine, presses through a weak point in the abdominal wall. ...


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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid, used for digestion, regurgitates or refluxes into the esophagus, causing inflammation and damage to the lining of the esophagus. GERD is a complication of gastroesophageal reflux, also known as GER, a less serious form of GERD. Most people have occasional episodes of GER, but when GER becomes more frequent, occurring more than two times a week, it is classified as GERD. The stomach acid causes pain or burning in the chest or throat, known as heartburn. ...


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Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a diagnostic surgical procedure performed to determine whether cancer has spread into the lymphatic system from its original site. The sentinel node is the first node to which the cancer spreads after leaving its site of origin. In the case of breast cancer, the sentinel node is located under the arm. ...


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Breast Abscess

A breast abscess is a a painful mass on the breast. It presents as a pink to reddish swelling, warm or hot to the touch. Like other abscesses, it is filled with fluid and pus. Pus is a combination of bacteria, white blood cells the body sends to eradicate the bacteria, and dead tissue. The accumulation of these materials causes inflammation and pain. ...


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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease FAQs

What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?

During normal ingestion and digestion, food travels from the mouth through a tube of muscle called the esophagus to the stomach, where it remains until it moves into the intestine. Muscles in the lower part of the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, tighten keeping food and digestive acids in the stomach. For patients who have gastroesophageal reflux disease, the LES muscles are loose allowing acid to escape, or reflux, into the esophagus, damaging or burning the sensitive esophageal lining. ...


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Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a surgical treatment for patients who are seriously obese, or obese and have another dangerous medical condition. There are several types of bariatric surgery, each of which makes surgical changes to the stomach and digestive tract that limit how much food can be ingested, and how much nutrition can be absorbed. All types of bariatric surgery are performed to promote weight loss. ...


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Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia presents as a bulge in the upper thigh or groin on either side of the pubic bone. It occurs when an abdominal organ, usually the small intestine, protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall or in the inguinal canal. Inguinal hernias are by far the most common hernias, occurring more frequently in men than in women. ...


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Ventral Hernia FAQs

What is a ventral hernia?

A ventral or abdominal hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall which develops a tear or hole. The hernia is created as abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes through the opening, causing a bulge to appear on the outside of the body. ...


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Ventral Hernia

A ventral, or abdominal, hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall which develops a tear through which a portion of abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes. Ventral hernias can vary in severity and may or may not require surgical repair.

A ventral hernia may be present at birth or develop over time. It may be caused by a congenital defect in which there is an incomplete closure of the abdominal wall during fetal development. Often a weakness in the abdominal wall present at birth is worn through as the patient ages. Reasons for the development or worsening of ventral hernias include heavy lifting, chronic coughing, and straining during bowel movements or urination. Risk factors for herniation in the abdomen include smoking, obesity and pregnancy. ...


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Gastric Banding

Gastric banding is a restrictive operation in which a band is surgically inserted in the stomach to decrease the organ's size in order to restrict food intake and promote weight loss. This procedure has been FDA approved since 2001 to assist obese patients who require major weight loss and to help relieve their obesity-related health problems. Gastric banding is a commonly performed type of bariatric surgery. ...


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Incisional Hernia

An incisional hernia is a complication of surgery that develops at the site of a previous surgical incision. An incisional hernia usually develops in the abdominal wall where the wall of the abdomen has weakened, resulting in a bulge or tear and a hernia to form. An incisional hernia may occur soon after surgery or many years later. An incisional hernia can cause pain and discomfort with even the slightest physical activity. ...


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Sleeve Gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy, sometimes known as a gastric reduction or a vertical gastroplasty, is a restrictive form of bariatric surgery that effectively shrinks the stomach to approximately 15 percent of its original size. During the procedure, the surgeon sutures the stomach into the shape of a tube, or sleeve. Sleeve gastrectomy is commonly performed on severely obese patients who are not healthy enough to undergo a successful gastric bypass, biliopancreatic diversion or similar weight loss surgery. ...


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Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Repair

Laparoscopic ventral hernia repair is a minimally invasive procedure for repairing a ventral (abdominal) hernia, which occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall that develops into a tear or hole. The hernia is created as the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the opening, forming a sac into which a portion of abdominal or intestinal tissue protrudes. The hernia manifests itself as a bulge in the outer wall of the abdomen. Depending on its severity, a ventral hernia may or may not require surgical repair. Using laparoscopic surgery rather than traditional open surgery for repair has significant advantages; they include less scarring, less pain, less risk of infection, and a shorter recovery period. ...


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Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is performed to help severely obese patients lose significant amounts of weight. The surgeon uses suture-like staples to separate a portion of the top of the stomach and create a pouch which is then connected directly to a section of the small intestine called the Roux limb. The name of this procedure derives from the surgical connection to the Roux limb and from the Y-shaped junction between stomach and small intestine. ...


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Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch

Like other bariatric procedures, a biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) is a surgical operation performed to promote weight loss in obese, usually morbidly obese, patients. It works by structurally shrinking the size of stomach and by keeping food to be digested out of most of the small intestine. ...


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Breast Cyst Aspiration

Breast cyst aspiration is a procedure performed to drain a fluid-filled pouch that has formed in breast tissue. The purpose of aspiration is to relieve symptoms, and to provide, if necessary, fluid for laboratory examination.

Breast cysts are usually discovered by mammogram or ultrasound. Such cysts are common and may cause discomfort, but are usually benign. Because a small percentage of breast cysts are malignant, however, they must be checked carefully to see whether further treatment is required. ...


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Dysphagia

Dysphagia, also known as a swallowing disorder, is not an uncommon condition. Because the swallowing process is vital to gastrointestinal health, and the throat functions as a pathway for respiration as well as ingestion, swallowing disorders are not only uncomfortable, but may be life-threatening. There are two types of dysphagia: esophageal and oropharyngeal. Esophageal dysphagia refers to the sensation of food getting stuck in the base of the throat or chest after swallowing. Oropharyngeal dysphagia is caused by weakened throat muscles that make it difficult to move food from the mouth into the throat and esophagus when swallowing. Older individuals are more commonly affected by oropharyngeal dysphagia because of weaker teeth and throat muscles. In addition, people with neurological problems or nervous system disorders may also experience oropharyngeal dysphagia. Individuals who suffer from acid reflux or esophageal problems are more likely to suffer from esophageal dysphagia. ...


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Upper Gastrointestinal Series

The upper gastrointestinal series, or GI series, is a diagnostic set of X-rays taken to detect abnormalities of the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.

An upper gastrointestinal series can help determine the cause of symptoms that may include the following: ...


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Bariatric Revision Surgery

Bariatric surgery is usually a successful procedure that helps a patient achieve significant weight loss. In addition, there are normally minimal to no complications associated with the surgery. However, some patients may experience problems with the surgery or they may not succeed in losing the expected amount of excess weight. In these situations, a follow-up bariatric revision surgery is sometimes necessary. The revision may be recommended for individuals who have been experiencing complications, had poor weight loss results from the initial procedure or recently gained a substantial amount of weight, increasing the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. ...


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Esophagitis

Esophagitis is a condition that involves an irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. This condition may cause pain,difficulty swallowing, bleeding and if left untreated, ulcers may form within the esophagus.

Causes of Esophagitis

Esophagitis is often caused by stomach acid and fluids that flow backward into the esophagus causing pain and irritation. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a common cause of esophagitis. It may also be caused by a bacterial, fungal or viral infection in the esophagus such as a yeast infection or herpes, both of which can develop when the immune system is weak. Other factors that may irritate the esophagus and lead to esophagitis may include: ...


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Esophageal Impedance-pH Study

An esophageal impedance-pH study is a medical test performed to evaluate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to determine whether surgery is necessary for the condition and whether it will be helpful in providing symptom relief. The 24-hour study is an outpatient procedure in which a tube with sensors is inserted into the esophagus to measure acid and nonacid reflux. The patient wears a device that records pertinent data concerning reflux and episodes during which symptoms occur. Correlation between the two is later analyzed to determine whether the patient's symptoms are the result of GERD. ...


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Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy is a diagnostic procedure used to examine liver tissue and determine the cause of any abnormalities. This procedure is often performed after another test, such as a blood test or imaging test, indicates a problem with the liver. A liver biopsy can diagnose many problems, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C, and liver cancer. Results from a liver biopsy are available within a few days to several weeks. ...


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Esophageal Manometry

An esophageal manometry is a diagnostic test used to measure the pressure inside the lower part of the esophagus and determine if it is contracting properly. The esophagus is the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach. The esophageal manometry test also measures the muscle contractions and coordination within the esophagus when patients swallow. This test can help diagnose swallowing problems, or gastroesophageal reflux. Patients who may be suffering from heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or chest pain may be advised to undergo a esophageal manometry test. ...


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Barium Swallow

A barium swallow is a diagnostic test that allows doctors to take X-rays of the esophagus. It is normally used to diagnose conditions in people experiencing digestive problems that may include the following symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Severe indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss

A barium swallow is used to diagnose various conditions that may include the following: ...


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Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus is a medical condition in which the tissue that lines the esophagus is replaced by tissue that is similar to the lining of the intestines. Barrett's esophagus is the result of long-term exposure to stomach acid, most often due to gastrointestinal reflux disease, also known as GERD. The lining of the esophagus changes color and composition, and patients may develop cellular abnormalities, known as dysplasia. Patients with Barrett's esophagus may be prone to developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, a cancer of the esophagus. ...


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Gastritis

Gastritis is the abnormal inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Gastritis can be acute, or chronic, but most often is not a serious condition.

Causes of Gastritis

Gastritis usually occurs when the mucous lining on the stomach is weakened and becomes damaged and inflamed by digestive juices. This weakening can be triggered by a number of factors such as: ...


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Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a sore or lesion that develops in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum.

Types of Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are classified according to the location they are found within the body. These include the following:

  • Duodenal - located in the duodenum
  • Esophageal - located in the esophagus
  • Gastric - located in the stomach

Causes of a Peptic Ulcer

It is commonly believed that ulcers form as a result of stress or poor eating habits. It has been found, however, that 90 percent of ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori, also known as H. pylori, a bacterium that lives on the lining of the stomach. Other causes of an ulcer may include the following: ...


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Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

Helicobacter pylori, commonly known as H. pylori, is a bacterial infection of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). While the infection is believed to be present in more than half of the world's population, a great many people are asymptomatic and unaware that they have the infection. Nonetheless, H. pylori can be serious and is a common cause of ulcers. In addition, H. pylori that produces inflammation puts patients at increased risk of developing stomach cancer. ...


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Upper Endoscopy

Upper endoscopy, also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD, is a diagnostic procedure used to visually examine and diagnose conditions of the upper gastrointestinal, or digestive tract. The upper gastrointestinal tract includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, or upper part of the small intestine. An upper endoscopy is performed using a flexible tube with an attached light and camera, called an endoscope. It is inserted through the mouth and guided along to thoroughly examine the upper gastrointestinal tract. ...


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Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition that causes the movement of food to slow down or stop, as it moves from the stomach to the small intestine. The stomach muscles do not function properly and the stomach's ability to empty is reduced. As a result, people with gastroparesis are at risk for dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and malnutrition. ...


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Gastric Emptying Study

A gastric emptying study, also known as GES, is a diagnostic test conducted to determine the amount of time it takes for the stomach to empty. A GES is usually performed to identify conditions that may affect the natural emptying of the stomach and causing symptoms that include nausea and vomiting. A slow or rapid emptying of the stomach may occur as a result of conditions that include systemic sclerosis, medication or diabetes. ...


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Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy

A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, also known as a PEG or gastrostomy tube insertion, is a surgical procedure to insert a feeding tube through the abdomen and into the stomach. A gastrostomy can be either a temporary or long-term treatment, depending on the condition of the patient. ...


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Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. The hiatus is the place where the stomach and esophagus connect. When the stomach pushes through this opening due to a weakness in the diaphragm, a hiatal hernia results. ...


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Hiatal Hernia FAQs

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. It is the hole through which the esophagus attaches to the stomach. If the stomach pushes upward through a weakened area in the wall of the diaphragm, however, this results in a hiatal hernia and, often, symptoms of acid reflux. ...


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Nissen Fundoplication

A Nissen fundoplication is a surgical procedure to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. The operation treats gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by preventing stomach acid from backing up. During the procedure, the upper end of the stomach, known as the fundus, is wrapped around the lower esophagus to strengthen the barrier between the two organs. Performed laparoscopically, the surgery requires only small incisions and results in less scarring and a shorter recovery period than an open procedure. A hiatal hernia can also be repaired during this operation. ...


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Repair of Failed Nissen Fundoplication

Surgical procedures to correct reflux disease, also known as GERD, are usually highly successful. These procedures, which usually involve repair of a hiatal hernia, are undertaken when medications alone do not relieve troublesome and potentially dangerous symptoms. Sometimes, however, symptoms of GERD recur after surgery and the patient once again experiences heartburn, regurgitation, nausea or upper intestinal discomfort. ...


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Intussusception

Intussusception is a serious disorder in which one part of the intestine slides into another, cutting off blood supply and frequently blocking food or liquid from progressing through the digestive tract. Left untreated, intussusception can result in perforation of the intestine that may cause infection and necrosis (tissue death). Intussusception is the most common cause of intestinal blockage in patients under the age of 3. Although rare in adults, when it does occur, it is typically caused by an underlying condition, such as a tumor. ...


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Small Bowel Resection

During a small bowel resection, part of the small intestine is removed to treat various medical problems. During a small bowel resection, the surgeon removes the diseased portion of the small intestine and stitches the healthy ends together. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Reasons for small bowel resection may include: ...


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Bowel Resection FAQs

What is a bowel resection?

Also known as colon resection or colectomy, a bowel resection involves the surgical removal of part of the small intestine (small bowel resection) or colon (large bowel resection) and the reconnection of the remaining ends.

When is a bowel resection necessary?

Surgery is recommended for the treatment of certain diseases such as cancer and diverticular disease, intestinal blockage due to scar tissue, ulcerative colitis that does not respond to medication, traumatic injuries and polyps. ...


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Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum and anus, is a symptom of many different diseases, some of which may be life-threatening. Many cases of gastrointestinal bleeding are a result of ulcers or hemorrhoids, which can be treated, but still require prompt treatment. ...


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Gastrointestinal Perforation

A gastrointestinal perforation is a hole that occurs in the entire wall of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum or gallbladder. The perforation causes the content of these organs to flow into the abdominal cavity resulting in medical shock or death. A gastrointestinal perforation is considered to be a medical and surgical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. ...


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Appendectomy

An appendectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the appendix, a small organ located at the junction of the small intestine and colon. The appendix, once thought to be only vestigial, is now known to help lubricate the colon, and assist the immune system. Appendectomies are, therefore, performed only when necessary. ...


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Constipation

Constipation affects almost everyone at some point. A person is considered constipated if he or she has three or fewer bowel movements a week, or has bowel movements that are hard, dry and/or painful. How often a bowel movement typically occurs determines whether a person is considered constipated. ...


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Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the inside of the colon and rectum; it is used to determine causes of abdominal pain; rectal bleeding; and changes in bowel activity. It is also used to detect early signs of cancer. Colonoscopies are recommended every 10 years for everyone between the ages of 50 and 75. They may be recommended more frequently, or at a younger age, for people at elevated risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), typically patients with certain medical conditions or with a family history of the disease. Colonoscopies are also performed as follow-ups to other screening tests with positive results, such as a fecal occult blood tests. ...


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Colonoscopy FAQs

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure performed to examine the inside of the colon and rectum.

Why is a colonoscopy performed?

The colonoscopy procedure can aid in determining the cause of changes in bowel activity, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, as well as detect early signs of cancer. A colonoscopy may be recommended as an option for people who are at risk of developing cancer of the colon and rectum, known as colorectal cancer, or CRC. ...


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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, develops in the large intestine or the rectum. Cancer occurs when healthy cells become altered, growing and dividing in a way that keeps the body from functioning normally. Most cases of colorectal cancer begin as small, benign clusters of cells (polyps) on the lining of the colon or rectum. Certain types of polyps, called adenomas, can become malignant. ...


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Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a tear in the mucous membrane that lines the anus and the anal canal. This condition often leads to pain, itching, burning and bleeding during bowel movements, as well as as to a visible crack in the skin around the anus. Anal fissures are relatively common in young infants, but can occur in patients of all ages. While most anal fissures heal on their own within 4 to 6 weeks, some require surgery. ...


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Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. In their normal state, these veins provide cushioning during bowel movements. They can, however, swell from lifting, straining, being constipated, passing hard stools and having diarrhea, or from pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are not life-threatening, but they can be painful. If swelling persists, the veins may become permanently stretched (prolapsed). ...


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Hemorrhoid Treatment with CRH O'Regan System

Hemorrhoids, the often troublesome swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus, affect approximately 50 percent of the population older than 50. They can cause pain, itching, bleeding and fecal-matter leakage. Over the years, several surgical and nonsurgical methods of treating hemorrhoids have been developed. Recently, a new treatment, known as the CRH O'Regan System, has moved into the forefront of hemorrhoid care. In most cases, patients can have this treatment on their first visit to the doctor, experiencing relief from hemorrhoidal pain almost immediately. ...


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Pilonidal Cyst Removal

A pilonidal cyst is a fluid-filled, pimple-like sac at the coccyx (tailbone), just below the crack of the buttocks. Pilonidal cysts are prone to infection; if one does become infected, filling with pus, it is technically called a "pilonidal abscess." Pilonidal abscesses are always treated with excision and drainage because, left untreated, the infection can spread. ...


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Gallstones

Gallstones are small deposits of crystallized bile that form in the gallbladder, a small sac that sits below the liver and is located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. The gallbladder is connected to both the liver and the intestine by a series of ducts that transfer bile from the liver to the intestine to aid in digestion. Bile, which is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, helps the body digest fats and is composed of water, cholesterol, fats, salts and proteins. ...


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Cholecystitis

Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder, the small organ behind the liver. The great majority of cases of cholecystitis result from the presence of gallstones, though the disorder may also occur because of another disease or, rarely, a tumor in the area. Normally, the gallbladder releases bile to the small intestine as needed, but when there is a blockage bile builds up in the gallbladder, resulting in pain, swelling and possible infection. While the gallbladder plays a part in the digestive process, it is not a vital organ and can be removed if necessary for the patient's health and well-being. ...


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Gallbladder Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging is commonly used to help physicians diagnose and treat conditions of the gallbladder and other organs within the abdomen. Unlike other ionizing-type wave imaging systems, ultrasound is captured in real time, allowing both the technician and patient to view the results immediately. An ultrasound of the gallbladder may be performed to detect cholecystitis, the inflammation of the gallbladder, gallstones, or blocked bile ducts. ...


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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a diagnostic procedure performed to detect abnormalities in the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and bile ducts. It is performed using an endoscope (a lighted tube snaked down the esophagus) and X-rays to obtain a detailed view of the gastrointestinal region. ...


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Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. The gallbladder collects and releases bile to aid in the process of digestion. Although the gallbladder performs a digestive function, it is not necessary for proper body functioning and may be removed if diseased. ...


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Cholecystectomy FAQs


What is a cholecystectomy?

A cholecystectomy is a surgical removal of the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver.

When is a cholecystectomy required?

A cholecystectomy is usually performed when the gallbladder is inflamed, blocked, diseased, cancerous or contains gallstones. ...


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Biliary Drainage

Biliary drainage, also called percutaneous biliary drainage, is a common treatment for clearing gallstones and other blockages from the bile ducts. The bile ducts carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine to aid in digestion. ...


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Post-Cholecystectomy Syndrome

A certain percentage of people who have undergone a cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder) continue to suffer from some of their presurgical symptoms, a condition known as post-cholecystectomy syndrome (PCS). In most cases, PCS symptoms are not severe and either subside on their own or are controlled well with medication. In some few cases, however, symptoms persist or even become increasingly severe, and another surgical procedure is necessary. ...


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Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large, flat gland located in the upper abdomen, between the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. The pancreas produces enzymes that flow through the pancreatic duct and combine with bile to aid in the digestion of food. The pancreas also produces insulin and glucagon to help regulate blood sugar levels. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the enzymes it produces become active and attack it, damaging the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be either an acute or chronic condition causing mild to severe symptoms. Both forms of pancreatitis may lead to complications. Severe cases of pancreatitis may cause permanent damage to the tissue. Pancreatitis is more likely to occur in men than women. ...


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Peritoneal Dialysis

Dialysis is a treatment to filter the blood and remove waste products when the kidneys are no longer functioning properly. During hemodialysis, the patient's blood circulates through a machine to be cleansed before re-entering the body. This procedure takes place in a medical setting under the supervision of a healthcare professional. ...


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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot, also known as a thrombus, forms in a vein deep within the body. Such clots most frequently form in the legs, but may occur in other parts of the body.

Causes of DVT

There are a variety of reasons blood clots may occur in the veins: damage to veins, slow blood flow, or thickened blood consistency. Most patients who develop DVT are over 60 years old, but this condition can occur at any age. Causes of changes to veins and blood flow may include: ...


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Atelectasis

Atelectasis is a collapse of part or all of a lung as a result of a blockage in one of the bronchi, the tubes that carry air from the trachea to lung tissue. A blockage may be caused by a number of factors, including a buildup of mucus or fluid in the airways. The blockage can also be caused externally to the bronchi by a tumor or a lymph node. It is a common occurrence for a patient who has had surgery or was recently released from the hospital. ...


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Spirometry

Spirometry is a pulmonary examination used to diagnose conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It measures the amount of air the lungs can hold, as well as how fast they can expel air. During spirometry, a patient breathes through a tube attached to a spirometer, which calculates and records results. ...


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Abscess Drainage

An abscess is a mass caused by a bacterial infection; it forms when a cavity fills with pus, which is a combination of dead tissue, white blood cells and bacteria. Although an abscess can develop anywhere (sometimes as a postsurgical complication), moist areas such as the armpits, groin, tailbone region (pilonidal cyst) and mouth (dental abscess) are particularly susceptible. Although some drain on their own, many abscesses require medical intervention. ...


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