Abdominal surgery involves the surgical removal of a mass or masses through incisions in the abdomen. The abdomen contains many vital organs and tissues including the liver, digestive tract, and soft tissues. Common procedures include abdominal aortic aneurysm and gallstones. Preparation and recovery are key for a successful surgical procedure.
What is Abdominal Surgery?
Abdominal surgery is any surgical procedure that requires the opening of the abdominal cavity. It covers a broad range of issues that can affect abdominal organs and tissues, including the:
- Bile ducts
- Lower digestive tract (stomach and bowels)
- Surrounding soft tissues
These surgeries can be performed in an inpatient or outpatient environment depending on the severity of the condition.
Check out our abdominal surgery specialty page to learn more about these procedures!
Common Reasons for Abdominal Surgery Procedures
The abdomen is home to many of the body’s vital organs, including the stomach, small and large intestines, and liver. It also contains many veins and arteries that are vital for blood to flow throughout the body.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that there are so many surgical procedures that can be classified as forms of abdominal surgery. What all of these surgeries have in common is that they involve the removal of a mass or masses through incisions in the abdomen.
To help better understand what abdominal surgery is and what to expect, it helps to look at specific examples. To do that, we’ll look at some common abdominal procedures.
Reasons for abdominal surgery include:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
The aorta is the large artery that goes from the center of the heart down to the stomach. It is essential for pumping blood throughout the lower part of the body, including the:
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is when the aorta starts to bulge or balloon outward due to weakening artery walls. This is a slow process that develops gradually over time. Without diagnosis and treatment, it can eventually lead to tears or a rupture within the artery that results in internal bleeding.
300,000 appendectomies (the surgical removal of the appendix) are performed each year in the United States. Despite being such common surgical procedures, experts in the medical field still aren’t sure what the appendix does. While we may not understand what the appendix does, a blockage-related rupture is still hard on patients.
Appendicitis (the inflammation of the appendix) is usually signaled by pain in the lower right side of the abdomen. However, pain can also start at your belly button and spread downwards.
Other appendicitis symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
These symptoms aren’t exclusively related to appendicitis. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical treatment even if you’re not experiencing appendicitis.
Gallstones occur when digestive fluids harden inside your gallbladder. These “stones” can vary in size, ranging from the size of a grain of rice all the way to a golf ball. It’s also possible to have more than one at a time.
Similar to appendicitis, we aren’t currently sure why gallstones develop. Some suspect that they may be caused by too much cholesterol. Others think that they are caused by too much bilirubin, a chemical that occurs when red blood cells break down. Still, others suspect that gallstones are the result of too much bile in the gallbladder from it not being emptied enough.
Whatever the cause may be, gallstones can cause blocked bile ducts and inflammation in the gallbladder. A cholecystectomy may be required when this occurs, which is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. This procedure is a common surgery performed for gallstones as well as other gallbladder issues.
To learn more about common reasons for abdominal surgery, click here!
Preparing for and Recovering from Abdominal Surgery
Preparation and recovery are pivotal aspects of any surgical procedure whether it’s minimally invasive or not. By preparing properly, you’re helping to ensure that the procedure performed has the best outcome possible. This, along with proper recovery will help you have a much smoother, faster recovery time.
Preparing for Abdominal Surgery
Preparing for abdominal surgery, or any surgery, puts you in the best health possible for the procedure. To prepare for abdominal surgery, you should:
- Quit smoking
- Reduce your blood sugar
When you quit smoking, you significantly reduce your risk of developing pneumonia as well as pulmonary and wound complications. It’s best to quit smoking six weeks before surgery. Another effort that will best prepare you for surgery is reducing your blood sugar. This lowers your risk of tiny organisms such as bacteria feeding off of sugar in your body, which lowers your risk of infection. Regular exercise before abdominal surgery will help speed up your recovery and provide better overall function post-surgery.
Click here to go more in-depth on abdominal surgery preparation and recovery!
Recovering from Abdominal Surgery
As with preparing for surgery, there are certain steps you should take after surgery to improve your recovery experience. To accomplish this, you can:
- Move your body
- Avoid strenuous activities
- Stay comfortable
It’s important to move your body before and after surgery. This can be as simple as walking from one end of the hall to the other. On the other hand, you should also avoid strenuous activities. Overexerting yourself can hamper the healing process and make it take longer. You should also stay comfortable so you can get plenty of sleep, which helps the body heal itself.
Do you need abdominal surgery in Evansville, Indiana? Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231 to schedule your appointment!
The opening of the abdominal cavity using incisions is abdominal surgery. Many vital organs and tissues are located in the abdomen, including the digestive tract, liver, and soft tissues. Common reasons for abdominal surgery include abdominal aortic aneurysm and appendicitis. Preparation for and recovery from surgery is important for having the best procedure possible.
Evansville Surgical Associates has been providing comprehensive and compassionate surgical care for over 50 years. Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231. We are available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. if you would like to schedule an appointment.