An aneurysm is a bulge in the artery wall. Weakened by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), smoking, hypertension, or other causes, the vessel walls balloon outward with the pressure of the blood flow inside. If an aneurysm bursts, it can cause heavy, life-threatening internal bleeding. Other risks include blood clots (possibly leading to a heart attack or stroke) and leakage of blood.
Aneurysms can form in arteries throughout the body, but most occur in the aorta. Starting in the heart and continuing through the chest and abdomen to the legs, the aorta is the body's largest blood vessel. If the aneurysm occurs in the lower section of the aorta, it is known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm; if it occurs in the portion of the aorta in your chest, it is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm.
Aneurysms may expand slowly or quickly, or they may stay the same size for many years. They often develop without any warning signs. Sometimes, however, people experience symptoms from an aneurysm that can include:
A burst aneurysm is a medical emergency. Signs of a ruptured aneurysm include:
If an aneurysm is discovered, it will be monitored closely. Many remain small and never rupture. Large, fast-growing, leaking or painful aneurysms may require surgery. Surgery is performed immediately on aneurysms that threaten imminent rupture or that have already ruptured, although the procedure is less successful once the vessel has burst.
In an endovascular stent-grafting procedure, a small metal cylinder called a stent is implanted in the artery to provide a strong new vessel wall. During the procedure, a thin tube called a catheter is guided up the aorta to the site of the aneurysm. A balloon on the end of the catheter helps fit the stent into place. Then the catheter is removed. The aneurysm generally shrinks around the stent as time passes.
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Appendectomy is the removal of the appendix, a small organ that helps lubricate the colon. Appendectomy may be recommended when the appendix swells (appendicitis) or ruptures (potentially causing infection, abscess, intestinal blockage or sepsis). Symptoms of appendicitis include abdominal pain and tenderness, elevated temperature, nausea and vomiting.
In a minimally invasive appendectomy, an endoscope and a few surgical instruments are inserted through a series of small incisions so the appendix can be removed with less pain and a shorter recovery period than open surgery. The camera on the endoscope allows the surgeon to confirm the presence of appendicitis and perform the surgery without making a large incision. Patients can return home in as little as one day.
A colon resection is a surgical procedure to remove either part of or all of the entire colon (large intestine). A colon resection may be performed to treat the following colon conditions:
While the patient is under general anesthesia, an incision is made in the abdomen and the diseased part of the colon is located. The diseased part of the colon will be removed, and the healthy colon sewn back together. In more extensive operations, a colostomy may be performed in which a surgical opening is made through the abdomen to provide a path for waste elimination. A colostomy may be created as a temporary measure to allow more time for the colon to heal.
Laparoscopic colon resection requires three to four small incisions instead of one large one. The abdomen may be filled with gas to help the surgeon view the abdominal cavity better. As with other minimally invasive surgeries, laparoscopic colon resection results in a faster recovery, less post-operative pain, and smaller scars.
The gallbladder is the pear-shaped organ located under the liver that collects and releases bile after eating to help in the digestion process. When the amount of bile and chemicals inside the gallbladder are imbalanced, gallstones may develop and irritate the lining of the bladder, causing heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Gallstones are often treated with surgery to remove the gallbladder, which is not necessary for proper body functioning.
A cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the gallbladder for patients with severe gallstones and other bladder problems. This procedure is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the US and is safe for most patients with gallbladder problems, except for those who have had previous upper abdominal surgery.
Cholecystectomy can be performed laparoscopically, which involves making several small incisions rather than one large incision to remove the gallbladder with ultrasound guidance. This technique also avoids the need to cut the muscles of the abdomen for access to the gallbladder. A laparoscope and tiny surgical instruments are inserted into these incisions to remove the gallbladder, which is taken out through one of the same incisions. With laparoscopy, patients can return to work more quickly after surgery and have less pain and scarring as well. Most patients can return home the same day.
While laparoscopic cholecystectomy is safe for most patients, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks may include bleeding, infection, injury to the bile duct or injury to the intestines. These risks are considered rare, and can be reduced by choosing an experienced doctor to perform your surgery.