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All Medical Procedures

A breast biopsy is a procedure to remove a small sample of breast tissue for laboratory testing. Breast biopsy is a way to evaluate a suspicious area in your breast to determine if it is breast cancer. There are several types of breast biopsy procedures.

A breast biopsy provides a sample of tissue that doctors use to identify and diagnose abnormalities in the cells that make up breast lumps or other unusual breast changes. And the lab report from the breast biopsy can help determine whether you need additional surgery or other treatment.

Colectomy is a surgical procedure to remove all or part of your colon. Your colon, also called your large intestine, is a long tube-like organ at the end of your digestive system. Colectomy may be necessary to treat or prevent diseases and conditions that affect your colon.

There are various types of colectomy operations:

  • Total colectomy involves removing the entire colon.
  • Partial colectomy involves removing part of the colon and may also be called subtotal colectomy.
  • Hemicolectomy involves removing the right or left portion of the colon.
  • Proctocolectomy involves removing both the colon and rectum.

Colectomy surgery usually requires other procedures to reattach the remaining portions of your digestive system and permit waste to leave your body.

Gastrointestinal endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a procedure to remove cancerous or other abnormal tissues (lesions) from the digestive tract.

Endoscopic mucosal resection is performed with a long, narrow tube equipped with a light, video camera and other instruments. During EMR of the upper digestive tract, the tube (endoscope) is passed down your throat to reach an abnormality in your esophagus, stomach or upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).

To remove lesions from the colon, the tube is guided up through the anus.

Primarily a treatment procedure, EMR is also used to collect tissues for diagnosis. If cancer is present, EMR can help determine if the cancer has invaded tissues beneath the digestive tract lining.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a type of radiation therapy used to treat tumors and other abnormalities in the brain.

In Gamma Knife radiosurgery, specialized equipment focuses close to 200 tiny beams of radiation on a tumor or other target. Although each beam has very little effect on the brain tissue it passes through, a strong dose of radiation is delivered to the site where all the beams meet.

The precision of Gamma Knife radiosurgery results in minimal damage to healthy tissues surrounding the target. In some cases, Gamma Knife radiosurgery may have a lower risk of side effects compared with other types of radiation therapy. Also, Gamma Knife radiosurgery is often a safer option than is traditional brain surgery.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is usually a one-time therapy completed in a single day.

A liver biopsy is a procedure to remove a small piece of liver tissue, so it can be examined under a microscope for signs of damage or disease. Your doctor may recommend a liver biopsy if blood tests or imaging studies suggest you might have a liver problem. A liver biopsy is also used to determine the severity of liver disease. This information helps guide treatment decisions.

The most common type of liver biopsy is called percutaneous liver biopsy. It involves inserting a thin needle through your abdomen into the liver and removing a small piece of tissue. Two other types of liver biopsy — one using a vein in the neck (transjugular) and the other using a small abdominal incision (laparoscopic) — also remove liver tissue with a needle.

Lumpectomy (lum-PEK-tuh-me) is surgery to remove cancer or other abnormal tissue from your breast.

Lumpectomy is also called breast-conserving surgery or wide local excision because — unlike a mastectomy — only a portion of the breast is removed. Doctors may also refer to lumpectomy as an excisional biopsy.

During lumpectomy, a small amount of normal tissue around the lump (also described as clean or normal margins of breast tissue) also is taken to help ensure that all the cancer or other abnormal tissue is removed.

Lumpectomy helps confirm a diagnosis of cancer or rule it out. Lumpectomy is also a first treatment option for some women with early-stage breast cancer. In cases where cancer is found, lumpectomy usually is followed by radiation therapy to the breast to reduce the chances of cancer returning.

Mastectomy is surgery to remove all breast tissue from a breast as a way to treat or prevent breast cancer.

For those with early-stage breast cancer, mastectomy may be one treatment option. Breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), in which only the tumor is removed from the breast, may be another option.

Deciding between mastectomy and lumpectomy can be difficult. Both procedures are equally effective for preventing a recurrence of breast cancer. But lumpectomy isn't an option for everyone with breast cancer, and others prefer to undergo a mastectomy.

Newer mastectomy techniques can preserve breast skin and allow for a more natural breast appearance following the procedure. This is also known as skin-sparing mastectomy.

Surgery to restore shape to your breast — called breast reconstruction — may be done at the same time as your mastectomy or during a second operation at a later date.

Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Mohs surgery is also known as Mohs micrographic surgery.

The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove as much of the skin cancer as possible, while doing minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Mohs surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic.

Mohs surgery is an improvement to standard surgery (local excision), which involves removing the visible cancer and a small margin of healthy tissue all at once. Mohs surgery allows surgeons to verify that all cancer cells have been removed at the time of surgery. This increases the chance of a cure and reduces the need for additional treatments or additional surgery.

Sentinel node biopsy is a surgical procedure used to determine if cancer has spread beyond a primary tumor into your lymphatic system. Sentinel node biopsy is used most commonly in evaluating breast cancer and melanoma.

The sentinel nodes are the first few lymph nodes into which a tumor drains. Sentinel node biopsy involves injecting a tracer material that helps the surgeon locate the sentinel nodes during surgery. The sentinel nodes are removed and analyzed in a laboratory. If the sentinel nodes are free of cancer, then cancer isn't likely to have spread and removing additional lymph nodes is unnecessary.

If, after sentinel node biopsy, evaluation of the sentinel nodes reveals cancer, then you'll likely need additional lymph nodes removed for your doctor to determine how far the cancer has spread.

A skin biopsy removes cells or skin samples from the surface of your body. The sample taken from a skin biopsy is examined to provide information about your medical condition. A doctor uses a skin biopsy to diagnose or rule out certain skin conditions and diseases.

Three main types of skin biopsies are:

  • Shave biopsy. A doctor uses a tool similar to a razor to remove a small section of the top layers of skin (epidermis and a portion of the dermis).
  • Punch biopsy. A doctor uses a circular tool to remove a small section of skin including deeper layers (epidermis, dermis and superficial fat).
  • Excisional biopsy. A doctor uses a small knife (scalpel) to remove an entire lump or an area of abnormal skin, including a portion of normal skin down to or through the fatty layer of skin.