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Taking the mystery out of general surgery
June 3, 2011
The word "surgery" can be intimidating. No one wants to feel ill, and better yet, no one wants to have to undergo surgery. However, some surgical procedures can help prevent illness or greatly relieve discomfort and pain.
Despite being one of the most preventable diseases, colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with 50,000 reported in 2010. The American Cancer Society recommends colonoscopies every 10 years beginning at age 50 to check for colorectal cancer and polyps.
"Some may be intimidated by colonoscopies, but it is a simple procedure that could help save your life," said Mark Coate, MD, general surgeon at Madison County Hospital.
Colonoscopies are performed using endoscopy, which is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure where an endoscope is inserted into the body allowing the physician to see inside the patient’s colon via a television monitor. The procedure usually only takes 15 to 30 minutes and a light sedative is used to help keep patients relaxed.
If necessary during a colonoscopy, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis (a biopsy) and polyps can be identified and removed. If polyps are found, speak with your doctor about the appropriate measures for follow-up screenings. Sometimes a polyp that starts off benign can turn cancerous.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer if detected early and getting a colonoscopy is one of the best ways to protect yourself.
Another common surgical procedure is gallbladder surgery. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 20 million American have gallstones.
"Gallbladder surgical procedures are very safe and effective," said Don Hura, MD, general surgeon at Madison County Hospital. "It can be the best way to eliminate the pain caused by gallstones."
A gallbladder is a small pear-shaped pouch that sits under the liver and is found on the right side of your abdomen. Some times gallstones can form and block the pathway from the gallbladder to the small intestine causing a condition called cholecystitis. This can cause severe pain in your upper right abdomen, pain in the center of you abdomen below the breastbone, back pain between your shoulder blades, or pain in your right shoulder.
If you are diagnosed with gallstones, one treatment option is to remove the gallbladder. Like the appendix or tonsils, your gallbladder can be removed without affecting your body’s processes.
A general surgeon may remove your gallbladder using small incisions in a procedure called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. If your gallbladder is removed laparoscopically, it is performed as an outpatient procedure. Many are able to go home the same day of the surgery, and after a day or two of rest, many are able to return to work or to their normal routines.
Madison County Hospital’s three general surgeons, Dr. Coate, Dr. Hura and Dr. Spier provide a full range of procedures including abdominal surgery, hernia repair, breast surgery, laparoscopic appendectomy, thyroidectomy and colon resection among many others.
If you think you may benefit from a surgical procedure or have questions, don't hesitate to contact a general surgeon to learn more about your options.
To find a general surgeon, visit "Find a physician."