All Medical Procedures

The A1C test is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and then to gauge how well you're managing your diabetes. The A1C test goes by many other names, including glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C and HbA1c.

The A1C test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications.

ACL reconstruction is surgery to replace the anterior cruciate (KROO-she-ate) ligament (ACL) — one of the major ligaments in your knee. ACL injuries most commonly occur during sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction — such as basketball, soccer, football and volleyball.

A torn ACL can't be successfully sewn back together, so the ligament is replaced with a piece of tendon from another part of your leg or from a deceased donor. This surgery is usually performed through small incisions around your knee joint. A narrow, fiber-optic viewing scope is used to guide the placement of the ACL graft.

An ANA test detects antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in your blood. Your immune system normally makes antibodies to help you fight infection. In contrast, antinuclear antibodies often attack your body's own tissues — specifically targeting each cell's nucleus.

In most cases, a positive ANA test indicates that your immune system has launched a misdirected attack on your own tissue — in other words, an autoimmune reaction. But some people have positive ANA tests even when they're healthy.

Your doctor may order an ANA test if he or she suspects you have an autoimmune disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma.

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.

During active surveillance for prostate cancer, your doctor closely monitors your prostate cancer for any changes. Active surveillance for prostate cancer is sometimes called watchful waiting.

No cancer treatment is provided during active surveillance for prostate cancer. This means medications, radiation and surgery aren't used. Periodic tests are done to check for signs the cancer is growing.

You might consider active surveillance for prostate cancer if your cancer is small, expected to grow very slowly, confined to one area of your prostate, and isn't causing signs or symptoms.

If you have other health problems that limit your life expectancy, active surveillance for prostate cancer may also be a reasonable approach.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain.

Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.

In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body's natural painkillers and increases blood flow.

Allergy shots are injections you receive at regular intervals over a period of approximately three to five years to stop or reduce allergy attacks. Allergy shots are a form of treatment called immunotherapy. Each allergy shot contains a tiny amount of the specific substance or substances that trigger your allergic reactions. These are called allergens. Allergy shots contain just enough allergens to stimulate your immune system — but not enough to cause a full-blown allergic reaction.

Over time, your doctor increases the dose of allergens in each of your allergy shots. This helps get your body used to the allergens (desensitization). Your immune system builds up a tolerance to the allergens, causing your allergy symptoms to diminish over time.

During allergy skin tests, your skin is exposed to suspected allergy-causing substances (allergens) and is then observed for signs of an allergic reaction.

Along with your medical history, allergy tests may be able to confirm whether or not a particular substance you touch, breathe or eat is causing symptoms.

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.