Milford Regional's surgeons provide comprehensive surgical care while treating each patient with respect and compassion. General surgeons perform a wide range of surgical procedures to treat many different conditions. With the technological advances made during the last several years, general surgery can often be performed with a minimally invasive approach called laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon makes several tiny incisions in the abdomen and inserts a laparoscope (miniature video camera) and surgical instruments. The camera sends a magnified image from inside the body to a video monitor, giving the surgeon a close-up view of the organs and tissues. While watching the monitor, the surgeon uses the instruments to perform the surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery shortens the hospital stay for the patient, and normal activity can usually be resumed after a few days at home. Because the abdominal muscles are not cut as in open surgery, patients have less pain and fewer complications. Depending on your condition, the surgeon will determine which surgery is best for you.
Some of the more common conditions which may require surgery include:
The gallbladder is a small organ located in the upper right abdomen under the liver. It stores bile until it is needed for digestion. Sometimes bile forms stones in the gallbladder and if a stone moves into a bile duct, it can create a blockage causing pain. This is referred to as a gallbladder attack. Often these attacks pass as gallstones move. If you are having frequent gallbladder attacks, your doctor may recommend you have your gallbladder surgically removed. Luckily, the liver produces enough bile to digest a normal diet, so people can live normally without a gallbladder.
An inguinal hernia is a condition in which part of the small intestine bulges through a weak area in the lower abdominal muscles. It occurs in the groin; the area between the abdomen and thigh. This type of hernia is called inguinal because fat or part of the intestine slides through a weak area at the inguinal ring, the opening to the inguinal canal. It tends to become larger over time and is much more common in males than females.
In adults, inguinal hernias that enlarge, cause symptoms, or become confined are treated surgically. In infants and children, inguinal hernias are operated on to prevent the hernia from being confined. The surgeon moves the hernia back into the abdomen and the area of muscle weakness is reinforced with a synthetic mesh or screen to provide additional support. Recovery time varies depending on the size of the hernia, the technique used, and the age and health of the patient.
Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease
GER (gastro esophageal reflux) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens spontaneously, for varying periods of time, or does not close properly and stomach contents rise up into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach.
GERD is also called acid reflux because digestive juices (acids) rise up with the food and can cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn. Occasional GER is common and does not necessarily mean one has GERD. Persistent reflux that occurs more than twice a week is considered GERD, and it can eventually lead to more serious health problems.
People of all ages can have GERD. Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment may involve lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery. With surgery, the top part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower part of the esophagus. This helps to keep acid from washing up from the stomach.
When It’s Time for Surgery
Nissen fundoplication is a surgical procedure which not only relieves symptoms of acid reflux, but it can also help prevent future complications.
The lower part of your digestive tract includes the small intestine, large intestine (colon) and the rectum. Most colon problems are diagnosed with either a colonoscopy or a barium enema. A colonoscope is a soft, flexible tube that is inserted into the anus and allows the physician to view the inside of the large intestine. A barium enema is an x-ray that is taken after a white fluid is flushed through the large intestine.
One of the more common colon conditions a patient could encounter is called diverticulosis. Diverticulosis refers to the presence of tiny pouches that form in weak spots in the wall of the colon. Many people have this condition and never have a problem, but if waste gets trapped in these pouches and become inflamed (diverticulitis), it can cause symptoms such as pain, nausea or bleeding from the rectum. For most people with diverticulosis, eating a high-fiber diet is the only treatment needed. Your physician may also prescribe antibiotics.
If symptoms of diverticulitis are frequent, or the patient does not respond to antibiotics and resting the colon, the doctor may advise surgery. The surgeon removes the affected part of the colon and joins the remaining sections. This type of surgery, called colon resection, aims to prevent complications and future diverticulitis. The doctor may also recommend surgery for complications such as an obstruction or a perforation.
In addition to being a diagnostic test, a colonoscopy is a screening test that is recommended for men and women over age 50, or earlier if you have symptoms or someone in your family has had polyps or colon cancer. During a colonoscopy a colon polyp could be discovered. A colon polyp is a growth on the inside surface of the colon. Your doctor will remove polyps during the colonoscopy and test them for cancer. Polyps can be benign or cancerous. If cancer is found, surgery will be required to remove the affected tissue.
Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional Medical Center
Following surgery for colon cancer, your surgeon will meet with oncologists at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Milford. The doctors will work collaboratively to determine the best course of treatment for you. The Cancer Center provides both medical oncology and radiation therapy so you don’t have to travel far for your cancer care.
We have highlighted just a few of the more common conditions that may require surgery, but our general surgeons are highly trained and very experienced in performing many types of surgery.