Do Gallstones Always Demand Surgery?

The chronic pain and discomfort associated with gallstones and gallstone pancreatitis often drives people into emergency rooms or their doctors’ offices seeking help. For many of these people, a simple surgical procedure will be recommended to address concerns related to gallstones once and for all.

While addressing the sometimes-severe pain of gallstones is often a priority, some people may find their symptoms aren’t quite so serious. When that is the case, they may wonder if surgery is absolutely necessary. Researchers have found that it may not always be 100-percent necessary to undergo surgery if symptoms of gallstone pancreatitis don’t warrant intervention.

Gallstone pancreatitis arises when a gallstone or gallstones manage to become lodged in a duct that leads to the pancreas. This may block pancreatic enzymes from leaving the pancreas and assisting with digestion. As the enzymes back up into the pancreas, they may create inflammation and pain. The standard intervention in this case is to remove the gallbladder entirely.

Researchers interested in seeing if the surgery was always necessary with gallstone pancreatitis looked into the cases of more than 17,000 people with gallstone pancreatitis. Nearly 80 percent of the patients had their gallbladders removed. Roughly 2,500 patients did not have their gallbladders removed over the course of a four-year period. These patients were reportedly doing okay that far down the road without major recurrence concerns.

The bottom line, researchers say, is that some people may fare well without surgery. Further study is needed to understand why that is the case and when avoidance of surgery might be advisable. In the meantime, people who are diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis are urged to work closely with their doctors to find the right treatment for their case. Most commonly, surgery to remove the gallbladder will be recommended to prevent recurrences and further complications.




Hernia Pain? Here’s Why Seeing a Doctor is Important

When a funny bulge appears in the abdomen or other part of the body that serves as a source of pain when lifting, exerting or even coughing, it’s time to make an appointment with a healthcare provider. Most often, these symptoms signal the formation of a hernia. Although highly common and quite feasible for people to “live with” for a time, hernias are structural problems in the body. That means they won’t go away on their own. It also means they are likely to get worse as time passes.


A hernia forms when an organ or other tissue pokes through a weakened spot in the muscles that are meant to keep organs in place. The poking through of the organ may create that visible bulge in the abdomen. It may also promote pain during certain activities.


Getting a hernia properly diagnosed by a doctor is important for a few reasons. Firstly, it is important to make 100 percent sure a hernia is the cause of the bulge and pain. Secondly, doctors are often able to help patients control the pain and discomfort that may arise from hernias through medications, dietary changes and other options. When hernias are severe or continually getting worse, surgery is indicated to repair the concern once and for all. In most cases, a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure will be used to reinforce the muscular wall to prevent tissue from poking through.


Although surgery to repair a hernia may not be necessary at the onset, people who suffer this type of pain will find this condition does not repair itself over time. If a hernia becomes severe, the organ that pokes through the weakened spot may become “strangled.” That means its blood supply has been cut off, which is considered cause for emergency surgery to save the organ and prevent further damage.


While hernia surgery may not be indicated at the onset, people who suspect they have this condition should get checked out by a healthcare provider. The only surefire things with a hernia is that this structural complaint will only get worse as time passes. Earlier intervention can prevent the need for emergency surgery down the road.

Stomach Surgery in Dallas: How to Explore the Options

Whether there’s a need to repair a hernia, remove a gallbladder or address obesity through a bariatric surgery, finding the right doctor is important. While many surgeons offer these services, it can provide peace of mind to work directly with a physician who specializes in abdominal procedures.

Finding the right doctor to perform stomach surgery in Dallas is both an objective and subjective pursuit. Here are some things to consider when making a final choice for someone to perform hernia repair or another abdominal procedure:

• Experience and expertise – Look into a surgeon’s background, level of experience and the type of procedures he or she typically performs. Those who specialize strictly in stomach surgery in Dallas are likely to have a great deal more experience in procedures like gallbladder removal and bariatric surgery.

• Techniques used – For people who require stomach surgery in Dallas to remove a gallbladder or repair a hernia, this can be an important question to answer. These procedures can now be performed in a less invasive manner using laparoscopic techniques. When this type of surgery is indicated and a surgeon is skilled in its use, the benefits to patients are well worth exploring.

• Bedside manner – This is where the subjective part of the search comes in. If a procedure is considered an emergency, like repairing a strangulated hernia, the point will be moot. Should time be afforded, however, it’s often best to work with a surgeon that a patient feels comfortable with. This can be important, for example, if bariatric surgery is being considered. Patients should feel like their surgeons have their best interest at heart, provide them the information they need to make informed decisions and will provide necessary support before and after a procedure is performed.

Stomach surgery in Dallas offers patients with a lot of options for choosing the right physician to handle their case. Taking a little time to explore the possibilities can provide people with peace of mind as they work to address concerns like hernias, gallbladder complaints or obesity.

Minimally Invasive Treatment Offers Help For Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is common condition that is estimated to affect millions of Americans at any given time. While some people will find relief from the concern through the use of medication and lifestyle alterations, the same cannot be said for all patients. When the burning, painful symptoms associated with this condition interfere with sleep and daily living, it’s time to take action. Doctors now have a new tool at their disposal that can address the concern once and for all. Known as the LINX system, this treatment stops reflux at its source.

Acid reflux is a condition that arises when the sphincter muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach fails to work properly. Rather than closing to prevent stomach acid from seeping into the esophagus, this weakened muscle allows a back flow. When acid enters the esophagus, it can give rise to a painful, burning sensation. Over time, stomach acids can damage the esophagus permanently and even lead to an increased risk for esophageal cancer.

The LINX system addresses reflux by enabling the sphincter to function as it was designed to. The procedure is minimally invasive and is performed laparoscopically. LINX involves the placement of a small ring of magnetic beads around the bottom of the esophagus. These beads open to allow food to enter the stomach, but close to stop acid from back flowing into the esophagus. Once placed, people who suffered from reflux will not experience the symptoms associated with the condition.

While heart burn is a common complaint that many people face from time to time, chronic heart burn could very well be caused by a weakening of the sphincter muscle. If this condition is suspected, it is best to get checked out by a doctor. Acid reflux can lead to serious complications is it’s left unchecked for a long period of time. LINX provides a way to address the concern once and for all.

C-Sections May Increase Risk for Abdominal Surgery

Women who give birth by cesarean section are much more likely to require emergency abdominal surgery in the days after delivery than their counterparts who are able to undergo natural childbirth. New research indicates that the increased risk for follow-up abdominal surgery is about 17 times greater for women who undergo C-sections than those who do deliver naturally.


Cesarean sections are often performed as lifesaving measures for the mother, the baby or both. This procedure, when indicated, is an important one for protecting and preserving life. In some cases, however, women prefer C-sections for non-medical reasons. Doctors, too, may be overly quick to recommend the option if even the slightest concerns about the viability of natural delivery exist.


The recent study into the risks of C-sections as they related to additional abdominal surgeries sheds light on the importance of reserving this delivery option for only when true medical needs are present. Researchers found, for example, that about 30 percent of the women who end up needing follow-up abdominal surgery end up losing their uterus. Complications from C-sections include uterine rupturing, internal bleeding and strong abdominal bleeding, among others.


While C-sections are sometimes elective on the part of women and/or their doctors, there are many reasons to support their non-elective use. When a baby’s life is in jeopardy, for example, this type of surgery may be the only option. In cases where maternal health issues are a concern, C-sections are also lifesavers. Choosing this path to preserve the appearance of the body or speed along a delivery that is presenting with no complications, however, may not be the wisest decision.


Women who are pregnant or are considering becoming so are urged to carefully review their delivery options. C-sections can prove to be lifesaving measures when they are necessary. Undergoing such a procedure without viable cause, however, can open a new mother up to unnecessary risk. If a C-section is recommended by a healthcare provider, women are also urged to find out exactly why. Should questions remain, a second opinion may be in order.

Hernia Repair: Advances Make the Difference for Patients

It is estimated that some 5 million Americans suffer from hernias at any given time. Even so, only about 700,000 hernia repair procedures are performed annually. While not every hernia demands immediate surgical intervention, the disparity in numbers may have another root cause. Hernia surgery was once a major undertaking that involved a long recovery period. This, however, is not always the case anymore thanks to advancements in laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopic hernia repair procedures are preferred by most surgeons and their patients for a few reasons. Although not technically “easier” than open surgery, they do present with some benefits. They include:

• Smaller incisions – Open hernia repair procedures call for a large incision. Laparoscopic procedures are designed to only involve very tiny incisions to allow surgical tools and a visual aid inside the body.
• Reduced blood loss – One of the biggest advantages of laparoscopic procedures versus open is the reduced blood loss generally associated with them. In addition, these procedures generally involve a lower complication and infection risk, which can be a very big benefit.
• Shortened recovery time – Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of modern hernia repair procedures is the shortened recovery time involved. What used to involve a multi-day hospital stay and months of recovery now only generally involves an overnight or outpatient stay in the hospital and a few weeks of taking it easy.

Hernias develop when a part of an organ manages to protrude through a weakened place in the muscle or tissue meant to hold it in place. This condition, for example, can arise when intestines push through the abdominal wall. Although many people can live with hernias for a time, the condition does not remedy itself. In some cases, the organ can have its blood flow cut off as a result of the hernia. This results in a condition known as a “strangulation.” Immediate medical intervention is required when this occurs.

People who suspect they have hernias are urged to obtain medical advice as soon as possible. While surgery may not be recommended right away, hernias do require monitoring to avoid serious complications, such as strangulation. Should surgery be recommended most people will find modern laparoscopic procedures make the repair much less intimidating than it once was.

Gallstones: Can They Be Ignored?

The gallbladder is a tiny part of the body most people never think twice about. After all, when it does its job, there’s really no reason to consider it. This little sac is designed to store and release bile into the body during the digestive process. It is essentially tasked with making the digestion of fats flow a little more smoothly. When it performs as expected, the gallbladder is easy to ignore. If something goes wrong, however, discomfort and pain are likely.

Gallstones are the most common gallbladder-related concern that can arise. These form when there is too much cholesterol in the bile. Essentially, excess cholesterol promotes the formation of crystals that clump together to create the stones. If left unchecked, the stones can impede the flow of bile and cause a fair amount of pain in the process. Bouts of pain are known as gallbladder attacks. Other complications may arise, as well. As bile becomes trapped in the gallbladder thanks to those gallstones, it can lead to inflammation, which can cause a host of other problems.

Gallstones that don’t cause symptoms or interfere with digestion are generally not a cause for action. If symptoms, such as pain, vomiting and nausea occur, doctors will generally recommend the removal of the gallbladder itself. This involves a surgical procedure that is generally performed laparoscopically. Once the gallbladder is out of the body, the pain associated with attacks should go away. The good news is that people can lead long, healthy lives without a gallbladder.

Gallstones are not a reason for alarm. If they form without symptoms, it is generally okay to leave them in place. Should pain, discomfort or inflammation go along with their arrival, medical intervention is a wise choice to prevent complications.

People who suspect they have gallbladder-related pain should speak with a healthcare provider. The best recommendation will come from a physician with information about the particular case.