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What is laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy, also known as keyhole surgery, is a recent advancement in surgical techniques, where small incisions are made to perform the surgery. As opposed to the traditional open surgery, where a large cut is made on your body to clearly view and perform a surgery, laparoscopy is performed through 3 to 5 small incisions. This minimally invasive procedure is possible because of a thin long instrument called a laparoscope, which has a tiny camera and light source attached to its end. The laparoscope is inserted through one of the tiny incisions, and the camera relays images on a large screen, providing a clear view of the operation site to guide your surgeon throughout the surgery. Surgical instruments are then inserted into the other incisions to carry out the surgery.

How is it better than traditional open surgeries?
When compared to open surgery, laparoscopy has the following advantages:

  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery
  • Less post-operative pain and bleeding
  • Reduced scarring

What is a hernia?
A hernia is the extension of an organ or fatty tissue through a weak spot in the muscle or connective tissue that surrounds it. It can occur in the groin (inguinal or femoral hernia), belly button (umbilical hernia), upper stomach (hiatal hernia) or at the region of a previous incision (incisional hernia).

Is surgery always necessary for hernia?
All hernias do not require treatment but may be monitored for possible complications. Surgery is recommended when your hernia causes pain and enlarges. It is considered a medical emergency when the organ becomes trapped and strangulated cutting off the blood supply to the tissues.

What is mastectomy?
Mastectomy is the surgical treatment for breast cancer, and involves the complete removal of the breast. You may be suggested one of the 5 types of mastectomy, depending on your individual condition. These may include:

  • Simple or total mastectomy: removal of entire breast tissue
  • Modified radical mastectomy: removal of breast tissue and axillary lymph nodes in the underarm
  • Radical mastectomy: removal of breast tissue, axillary lymph nodes in the underarm and chest wall muscles
  • Partial mastectomy: removal of only the cancerous region along with a surrounding margin of healthy tissue
  • Subcutaneous (nipple-sparing) mastectomy: removal of entire breast tissue except the nipple

Am I candidate for mastectomy?
You are a candidate for mastectomy if:

  • Tumor is larger than 5 cm
  • Breasts are small
  • Previous attempts with lumpectomy have failed
  • Not a good candidate for lumpectomy and radiation

How is mastectomy different from lumpectomy?
While mastectomy removes the entire breast tissue, lumpectomy is a breast-conserving surgery that involves the removal of only the tumor, along with a surrounding margin of healthy tissue. Lumpectomy is usually followed by radiation therapy and is as effective as mastectomy for single-site cancers less than 4 cm, and is generally considered by many women who would like to retain their own natural breasts. However, lumpectomy has a higher risk of cancer recurrence. On the other hand, mastectomy has a much lower risk for cancer recurrence and is chosen by high-risk women who want to prevent cancer development. Mastectomy can be followed by breast reconstruction surgery to reconstruct the lost breast tissue.

Can I prevent breast cancer with mastectomy?
Prophylactic mastectomy is a surgery performed to remove one or both of your breasts in an effort to reduce your risk of breast cancer. It is suggested in women who are at a high risk of developing breast cancer. These risk factors include:

  • Personal or family history of breast cancer
  • Diagnosed positive for BRCA1, BRCA2 or PALB2 gene mutations
  • Diagnosed positive for lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
  • Radiation therapy targeted on the chest region before 30 years of age
  • Dense breasts
  • Presence of breast microcalcifications (small deposits of calcium)

Can diet reduce my risk of colon cancer?
The influence of food on colon cancer has been extensively debated upon. High fat and high cholesterol foods have been associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. While some studies show that a fiber-rich diet reduces the risk of developing the cancer, others state that it doesn’t make much of a difference. However, there is a general consensus on the benefits of fiber as a vital source of nutrients that prevents many diseases such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, gastrointestinal problems, and sometimes even stomach and esophageal cancers.

The most effective way of preventing colon cancer is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, having an active life, maintaining an ideal body weight, and scheduling regular screenings after the age of 50 years, or before if you have a family member suffering from colon cancer.

Does blood in stools always suggest colon cancer?
Blood is stools can occur for many reasons and is a common symptom of many diseases, colon cancer being one of them. Some of the common conditions that could cause blood in stools include infections of the colon, lesions in the stomach and small intestine, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s colitis or ulcerative colitis), hemorrhoids, and fissures or tears in the anus. Bleeding from the rectum or blood in stools for any reason should not be ignored. Contact your gastroenterologist for a thorough examination and timely treatment.

Am I at risk for endocrine disorders?
The risk factors for endocrine disorders include:

  • Age: Cell damage as a part of the normal aging process may alter the production, release and metabolism of various hormones, as well as your body’s response to them.
  • Diseases: Heart, liver or kidney disorders affect the metabolism of hormones. Cancerous or non-cancerous tumors may also cause problems in the endocrine system.
  • Treatment: Certain surgeries, radiation and certain cancer treatments can lead to endocrine disorders
    Stress: Physical and mental stress factors such as trauma, serious diseases and allergic reactions, can influence the functioning of the endocrine system
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC), such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides and plasticizers, are chemicals that mimic and compete with our body’s hormones, preventing them from functioning normally.
  • Genetics: Mutations or changes in genes that code for hormones can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system.

Can gallstones form after cholecystectomy?
Gallstones do not form after cholecystectomy as the gallbladder has been removed. However, stones can develop in your bile duct.

How would my diet change after cholecystectomy?
The gallbladder is a small pouch that concentrates and stores bile released by the liver between meals. When we eat food, it is released through the bile duct to digest fats in the intestine. When the gallbladder is removed during cholecystectomy, bile drains continuously into the intestine and is less concentrated. This initially affects the digestive process, but the body adjusts to this change and learns to effectively digest fats.

After the removal of the gallbladder, it is important to:

  • Eat small, frequent meals
  • Avoid high fat content
  • Gradually increase the amount of dietary fiber
  • Reduce foods that are difficult to digest such as dairy products and caffeinated beverages

What are the causes of GERD?
The exact cause of GERD is not clear, but there are certain factors that increase your chances of developing the condition. Some of them include:

  • Excess alcohol or smoking, poor posture (slouching) or obesity
  • Certain blood pressure medications
  • Fatty and acidic foods, and caffeinated drinks
  • Eating before bedtime and eating large meals
  • Related conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy and hiatal hernia

What can I expect after laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication?
After laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication, you will remain in the hospital for 2 to 3 days. You may have pain, which can be relieved with medication. You will be able to resume your work in about 2 to 3 weeks. Your doctor will give you specific instructions you need to follow with regard to your diet:

  • Eat soft foods during recovery
  • Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly

How are hemorrhoids formed?
Hemorrhoids are formed when the veins around your anus stretch and bulge under pressure. Increased pressure in the lower rectum may be caused by:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
  • Obesity
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • During pregnancy
  • Diet low in fiber
  • Aging causes the tissues that support the veins to weaken and stretch

How are hemorrhoids treated?
Hemorrhoids are usually treated with lifestyle modifications such as eating a healthy diet, losing weight if you are obese and treating constipation and diarrhea. Your doctor may prescribe creams or suppositories to relieve pain and itching. For extremely painful hemorrhoids that bleed, your doctor may suggest minimally invasive treatments such as:

  • Rubber band ligation: tiny rubber bands are placed around the base the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood circulation. The hemorrhoid shrinks and falls off.
  • Injection (sclerotherapy): a chemical solution is injected inside the hemorrhoid to shrink it.
  • Coagulation (infrared, laser or bipolar): laser or infrared light or heat is directed at the hemorrhoids to harden and shrink it.

When all these methods fail to relieve symptoms, your doctor may suggest surgery.

  • Hemorrhoidectomy: surgical removal of the hemorrhoid
  • Hemorrhoid stapling or stapled hemorrhoidectomy: base of the hemorrhoid is stapled to block the flow of blood to the hemorrhoidal tissue.

How does robotic thoracic surgery work?
Robotic thoracic surgery is a procedure that uses a surgical robot to perform the thoracic surgery. Your doctor works from a console next to the operation bed to control robotic arms that can move in 360 degrees. This enables the robotic arms to move with extreme precision and flexibility to hold and manipulate fine instruments that are passed in through 3 to 4 small incisions in your chest region. One of these instruments is a small camera that provides a magnified, 3D image of the operating site.

Am I a candidate for robotic-assisted surgery?
Robotic thoracic surgery may be suggested by your surgeon after many considerations as not everyone is a good candidate for the procedure. An appropriate procedure is decided upon based on various diagnostic tests, the type and severity of your age, medical history, heart condition and lifestyle.

What is my risk of developing a vascular disease?
A vascular disease is characterized by a problem in the blood vessels, which include the arteries, veins and capillaries. The common problems that can occur in blood vessels include clot formation, build-up of plaque, which can block the flow of blood and weaken the walls of the vessels. Your chances of developing a vascular disease increases as you grow older, have a family history of vascular or heart diseases, Illness or injury, are pregnant or obese, stand or sit for long hours, smoke and have other conditions, such as high cholesterol or diabetes, which can affect the heart and blood vessels.

Nondiscrimination Statement:

Cahaba Valley Surgical Group, P.C. complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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