Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

We are please to provide you with answers to some frequently asked questions about General Surgery procedures. Please note that these answers are general guidelines and should not be used to replace medical advice from your physician.


What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged veins usually in the lower extremities. They are caused by either an increase in pressure or faulty valves in the vein allowing blood to back up into the superficial veins.

Are varicose veins dangerous?

Symptoms of varicose veins are usually not life-threatening but can be very problematic. Symptoms include pain, swelling, discoloration of the skin and, if left untreated, the formation of ulcers in the legs and ankles. Over 40 million people in the United States suffer from some form of venous disease.

Can varicose veins be successfully treated?

In most cases, yes, but to properly treat them, it is important to correctly identify their cause then a combination of closure, phlebectomy and scherotherapy may be used.

Will insurance cover varicose vein treatment?
In most cases, with the appropriate documentation of symptoms and diagnostic tests, treatment is covered.

Why do I need a mammogram each year?
A single mammogram may miss 10-20% of all breast cancers. Having annual exams allows comparison of previous films making the chance of missing a breast cancer less likely.

Do I need a mammogram more often than once a year?

Unless your doctor is looking at some specific area or process in the breast, there does not appear to be a benefit in having mammograms more frequently than annually.

What are calcifications on a mammogram?
Calcifications are simply deposits of calcium within the tissues of the breast that show up as small spots on the mammogram. These can be caused by a variety of conditions. 85% of all calcifications are benign.

What is a stereotactic breast biopsy?
It is a minimally invasive procedure that allows biopsy of lesions in the breast that can’t be felt. Performed on a specially designed table under local anesthesia, it makes breast biopsies done in surgery rarely necessary.

What is a hernia?
A hernia is a weak spot in the abdominal wall that allows the insides to protrude into a hernia sac. These usually occur in the groin or the umbilicus, but may also occur in a previous incision. Hernias usually need to be repaired because they never heal and tend to get larger in time.

What is an incarcerated hernia?
A hernia is said to be incarcerated when the contents become trapped in the hernia sac. A special type of incarceration is called strangulation in which the contents of the hernia sac loses its blood supply and can die. This may be fatal if left untreated. Never, repeat never, ignore a painful incarcerated hernia.

What does the gallbladder do?
The gallbladder stores the bile that is made by the liver and delivers it into the intestine when we eat. The bile helps to break up fat in the food. The gallbladder absorbs water out of the bile to make it more concentrated and this may lead to the formation of gallstones.

What are gallstones?
Most gallstones are made of cholesterol with the exception of people who have certain disorders of the blood. When the bile is stored in the gallbladder and the water is absorbed out of the bile, certain chemical reactions occur that cause the cholesterol to come out of solution and form stones. This is not related to high levels of cholesterol in the blood. The bile normally contains very high levels of cholesterol and other sterols that are broken down in the liver.

What causes a ‘gallbladder attack’?
In people with gallstones, the stones may block the duct leading from the gallbladder when it tries to empty in response to a meal. This is a mechanical obstruction and causes pains in the upper abdomen and the back. This may last a few minutes to a few hours until the stone floats back up into the gallbladder. This is why people tend to have ‘gallbladder attacks’ after they eat .

Can I eat normally after my gallbladder has been removed?
Yes. While the gallbladder stores the bile, the bile is stored in the liver and it continues to make enough bile to aid in the digestion of fat in the diet.

 

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