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Voice: (860) 423-5000
FAX: (860) 423-4838
This e-mail link is for non-urgent questions only. If you believe you may need immediate medical attention, please call our office directly or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
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Monday - Friday
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Typical Medical Terms Explained
APPENDECTOMYRemoval of the appendix, a small structure attached to your cecum; this is the right side of your large intestine. The appendix has no function in humans, but it can cause infection (appendicitis) in young and old patients alike! Appendicitis is most common in 15-21 year old boys, but causes the most serious problems in very young children and elderly patients.
ASPIRATION, FINE NEEDLEThis is a small office procedure where the surgeon uses a syringe with a small needle to remove either fluid (from a cyst) or tissue (from a solid nodule). This is a nonsurgical way to biopsy a solid, suspicious nodule in the thyroid, breast, or lymph node. The surgeon can also drain an uncomfortable, large breast cyst.
BASAL CELLBasal cell skin cancer is a type of skin cancer which typically occurs in an older patient who has a life time of excessive sun exposure. It tends to grow in one spot, but can be difficult to remove completely due to extensive "roots" in the surrounding skin.
BENIGNBenign means "not cancerous". A tissue growth that will not spread into the body and will not recur after it is removed.
BIOPSYBiopsy is a surgical procedure to remove some tissue from a suspicious area in the body. This biopsy is sent to the lab where the pathologist will check it out under the microscope; the pathologist checks for cancer.
BOARD CERTIFIEDA surgeon becomes board certified only after completing a surgical residency in his area of expertise. A general surgeon completes at least a 5 year residency after finishing 4 years of medical school. The surgeon can then study for a test which will review all of this surgical and medical knowledge. If he passes this rigorous 8 hour written test he then takes another all day oral exam. This tests his practical surgical judgement and his scientific knowledge of common surgical practices. Only then, if he passes both of these very difficult and intimidating tests can the surgeon call himself or herself "board certified". The American Board of Surgery bestows this honor on the surgeon. It is a testament to the surgeon's hard work, knowledge and clinical judgement
CHOLECYSTECTOMYCholecystectomy is the removal of the gallbladder. This can be done through the telescope (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) or through the "old fashioned" open incision below the right side rib cage. It is the most common surgery in America! Gallbladder troubles are common in this country due to our diet and our sedentary lifestyle.
COLOSTOMYColostomy is a bag on the skin that collects the stool from the intestine. This is most often a temporary way to rid the body of infection. The piece of bowel that drains the stool into this bag can be "hooked back up" once the infection is adequately treated. Perforated diverticulitis is a common reason for a patient to have a temporary colostomy.
CYSTCyst is a fluid-filled "balloon". This is a very thin-walled structure often found in the breast of young ladies. The cyst results from a natural accumulation of body secretions. Cysts also occur in the liver and kidneys in "polycystic disease". Cysts are usually benign (not cancerous).
EDEMAEdema is natural body fluid that accumulates in your skin and body tissue. When you stand all day at work, your feet swell. You also notice your socks "cut into" your skin and leave an indentation. This is edema fluid. Sometimes this edema fluid can become very serious with your legs terribly swollen.
GOITERGoiter is a general enlargement of the thyroid gland. A goiter is not necessarily cancerous.
H. PYLORIH.Pylori is a bacteria that was discovered (in the 1980's) to live in the stomach despite the acid environment in the stomach. H.Pylori actually causes stomach ulcers and gastritis. If a stomach ulcer is treated only with antacid medications it will have a much higher recurrence rate. H.Pylori can be treated with 2 antibiotics plus the antacid medication and then the ulcer in your stomach will have a much lower rate of recurrence.
HIATAL HERNIAHiatal Hernia is a hole in the diaphragm (the muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest) which allows the stomach to slide high up into the chest. Sometimes this hernia is big enough that even the colon and small intestine can slide up into the chest. Hiatal hernia is very common in this country, but it does NOT usually require any surgery.
INVASIVE PROCEDUREInvasive procedure is any surgery, endoscopy, colonoscopy, or biopsy performed by a surgeon where we are doing something to you. All invasive procedures have some inherent risks of complications.
INTESTINAL RESECTIONIntestinal resection is the removal of a piece of the bowel or intestine by surgery. Usually we can "put things back together"; in an emergency a temporary colostomy can be required.
INCISIONAL HERNIAIncisional hernia is a hernia which protrudes through the natural weak area from a prior surgical incision (eg. An old gallbladder scar). These types of hernias tend to grow over time and require surgical repair with mesh.
LESIONLesion is a growth or abnormal tissue. "Lesion" is a general term and doesn't mean cancer.
LYMPH NODELymph nodes are the bodies waste or "trash" receptacles. They are located all over the body; most people become aware of lymph nodes in the neck when they are suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection or a "cold". Lymph nodes help fight infection by trapping bacteria. They also help fight off cancer in a similar manner.
MEDIASTINOSCOPYMediastinoscopy is a small surgery done through a small incision in the neck where a telescope goes down into the space between the breast bone (sternum) and the lungs and heart. There are lymph nodes in this space which are tested for cancer. This space is called the mediastinum.
MELANOMAMelanoma is a very serious skin cancer. It can spread (unlike other types of skin cancer) into the lymph nodes and into the liver. A typical melanoma is a dark brown or black spot on the skin. Any change in a mole requires attention by your doctor and perhaps a biopsy to rule out melanoma.
METABOLISMMetabolism is the body's over all process of controlling our heart, intestinal, and chemical functions. There are many aspects to our metabolism: thyroid controlling our energy level; liver and pancreas controlling our sugar and weight; parathyroid controlling our blood calcium and overall bone density.
PATHOLOGISTA physician who is trained in evaluation tissue and biopsies; usually this evaluation is done with a microscope. The pathologist does a special residency training program. They learn many highly technical skills to assist your surgeon in making the diagnosis. The pathologist then gives your surgeon the "diagnosis". This process usually takes several days although in special circumstances, a "frozen section" can be done. This is a rapid, highly accurate, but preliminary assessment of the biopsy. A diagnosis is obtained right then; It is important to remember, however that this is a preliminary result. The final or "permanent" results still take several days.
PERICARDIAL WINDOWPericardial window is a surgical procedure done to relieve pressure around the heart.
POLYPPolyp is an abnormal growth of tissue, usually found in the colon (although polyps can occur in the nasal passages or in the uterus). They can usually be removed by a surgeon via the colonoscope. Polyps can grow into cancer. Some polyps stand up tall like a tree (pedunculated polyp) and some sit down flat like a hill (sessile polyp).
RESECTEDResect is removal of a piece of tissue or piece of the bowel from the body; this resection is usually sent to the lab to be tested.
SCHATZKI'S RINGSchatzki's ring is a tight area at the lower end of the esophagus; typically found in patients with a hiatal hernia. This ring is usually asymptomatic.
STRICTUREStricture is typically an area of tightness either in the large bowel (from diverticulitis) or in the esophagus (from acid reflux). Sometimes a stricture can cause a complete blockage of either the bowel or the esophagus; this obviously needs emergency surgical attention!
THYROIDECTOMYThyroidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove either a portion (hemithyroidectomy) of the thyroid to test a nodule for cancer or all (total thyroidectomy) of the thyroid due to known thyroid cancer.
ULCERAn ulcer occurs in the stomach or in the duodenum (part of the intestine attached to the stomach) as a result of irritation by acid. Ibuprofen, aspirin, alcohol, stress, all make ulcers in the stomach more likely.
162 Mansfield Avenue Willimantic, Connecticut 06226