All Medical Procedures

Although an abdominal ultrasound can be done to check for a number of conditions, it can be used to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakened, bulging spot in your abdominal aorta, the artery that runs through the middle of your abdomen and supplies blood to the lower half of your body.

An abdominal ultrasound can also be used to check for other diseases that affect your kidneys, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

An abdominal ultrasound to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm is recommended for men ages 65 to 75 who are current or former cigarette smokers. Having an abdominal ultrasound to screen for an aortic aneurysm isn't specifically recommended for men who have never smoked, nor women, unless your doctor suspects you may have an aneurysm.

Abdominal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your uterus through an incision in your lower abdomen. Your uterus — or womb — is where a baby grows if you're pregnant. A partial hysterectomy removes just the uterus, and a total hysterectomy removes the uterus and the cervix.

Sometimes a hysterectomy includes removal of one or both ovaries and fallopian tubes, a procedure called total hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy (sal-ping-go-o-of-uh-REK-tuh-me).

Hysterectomy can also be performed through an incision in the vagina (vaginal hysterectomy) or by a laparoscopic or robotic surgical approach — which uses long, thin instruments passed through small abdominal incisions. Abdominal hysterectomy may be recommended over other types of hysterectomy if you have a large uterus or if your doctor wants to check other pelvic organs for signs of disease.

Amniocentesis is a procedure in which amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus for testing or treatment. Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds and protects a baby during pregnancy. This fluid contains fetal cells and various chemicals produced by the baby.

Amniocentesis can be done for various reasons:

  • With genetic amniocentesis, a sample of amniotic fluid is tested for certain conditions — such as Down syndrome and spina bifida.
  • With maturity amniocentesis, a sample of amniotic fluid is tested to determine whether the baby's lungs are mature enough for birth.
  • Occasionally, amniocentesis is used to evaluate a baby for infection or other illness.
  • Rarely, amniocentesis is used to decrease the volume of amniotic fluid.

Although amniocentesis can provide valuable information about your baby's health, the decision to pursue invasive diagnostic testing is serious. It's important to understand the risks of amniocentesis — and be prepared for the results.

The basal body temperature method — a fertility awareness-based method — is a type of natural family planning. Your basal body temperature is your temperature when you're fully at rest. Ovulation may cause a slight increase in basal body temperature.

You'll be most fertile during the two to three days before your temperature rises. By tracking your basal body temperature each day, you may be able to predict when you'll ovulate. In turn, this may help you determine when you're most likely to conceive.

If you're hoping to get pregnant, you can use the basal body temperature method to determine the best days to have sex. Similarly, if you're hoping to avoid pregnancy, you can use the basal body temperature method to help determine which days to avoid unprotected sex. Because the basal body temperature method alone doesn't provide enough warning time to effectively prevent pregnancy, it's generally used in combination with other fertility awareness-based methods if you're hoping to avoid pregnancy.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast — or breast MRI — is a test used to detect breast cancer and other abnormalities in the breast.

A breast MRI captures multiple images of your breast. Breast MRI images are combined, using a computer, to generate detailed pictures.

Breast MRI usually is performed after you have a biopsy that's positive for cancer, and your doctor needs more information about the extent of the disease. In certain situations, such as for women with high risk of breast cancer, breast MRI may be used with mammograms as a screening tool for detecting breast cancer.

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.

A breast self-exam for breast awareness is an inspection of your breasts that you do on your own. To help increase your breast awareness, you use your eyes and hands to observe the look and feel of your breasts.

If you notice new breast changes, discuss these with your doctor. Though most breast changes detected during a breast self-exam have benign causes, some changes may signal something serious, such as breast cancer.

Most medical organizations don't recommend routine breast self-exams as a part of breast cancer screening. That's because breast self-exams haven't been shown to be effective in detecting cancer or improving survival for women who have breast cancer.

Still, doctors believe there is value in women being familiar with their own breasts, so they understand what's normal and promptly report changes.

Cesarean delivery — also known as a C-section — is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through an incision in the mother's abdomen and a second incision in the mother's uterus.

A C-section might be planned ahead of time if you develop pregnancy complications or you've had a previous C-section and aren't considering vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Often, however, the need for a first-time C-section doesn't become obvious until labor is under way.

If you're pregnant, knowing what to expect during a C-section — both during the procedure and afterward — can help you prepare.

The cervical cap is a birth control (contraceptive) device that prevents sperm from entering the uterus. The cervical cap is a reusable, deep silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina and fits tightly over the cervix. The cervical cap is held in place by suction and has a strap to help with removal.

The cervical cap is effective at preventing pregnancy only when used with spermicide. Only one cervical cap — FemCap — has Food and Drug Administration approval in the U.S. It must be fitted and prescribed by a health care provider.

Cervical cerclage is a procedure in which sutures are used to close the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that opens to the vagina — during pregnancy to help prevent premature birth.

Cervical cerclage can be done through the vagina (transvaginal cervical cerclage) or through the abdomen (transabdominal cervical cerclage). Typically, the sutures are removed when a baby is considered full term — during week 37 of pregnancy. If necessary, the sutures can be removed earlier.

Your health care provider might recommend cervical cerclage if your cervix is at risk of opening before your baby is ready to be born or, in some cases, if your cervix begins to open too early. However, cervical cerclage isn't appropriate for everyone. It can cause serious side effects and doesn't always prevent premature birth. Understand the risks of cervical cerclage and whether the procedure might benefit you and your baby.