All Medical Procedures

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. It often works when other treatments are unsuccessful.

Much of the stigma attached to ECT is based on early treatments in which high doses of electricity were administered without anesthesia, leading to memory loss, fractured bones and other serious side effects.

ECT is much safer today and is given to people while they're under general anesthesia. Although ECT still causes some side effects, it now uses electrical currents given in a controlled setting to achieve the most benefit with the fewest possible risks.

Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them (motor neurons).

Motor neurons transmit electrical signals that cause muscles to contract. An EMG translates these signals into graphs, sounds or numerical values that a specialist interprets.

An EMG uses tiny devices called electrodes to transmit or detect electrical signals.

During a needle EMG, a needle electrode inserted directly into a muscle records the electrical activity in that muscle.

A nerve conduction study, another part of an EMG, uses electrodes taped to the skin (surface electrodes) to measure the speed and strength of signals traveling between two or more points.

EMG results can reveal nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction or problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission.

A procedure called endometrial ablation destroys the endometrium — the lining of your uterus — with the goal of reducing your menstrual flow. In some women, menstrual flow may stop completely. No incisions are needed for endometrial ablation. Your doctor inserts slender tools through your cervix — the passageway between your vagina and your uterus.

The tools vary, depending on the method used to destroy the endometrium. Some types of endometrial ablation use extreme cold, while other varieties depend on heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radiofrequencies.

Some types of endometrial ablation can be done in your doctor's office, while others must be performed in an operating room. Factors such as the size and condition of your uterus will help determine which endometrial ablation method is most appropriate.

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.

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a minimally invasive procedure to assess digestive (gastrointestinal) and lung diseases. It uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the lining and walls of your digestive tract and chest, nearby organs such as the pancreas and liver, and lymph nodes.

When combined with a procedure called fine-needle aspiration, EUS allows your doctor to sample (biopsy) fluid and tissue from your abdomen or chest for analysis. EUS with fine-needle aspiration can be a minimally invasive alternative to exploratory surgery.

EUS techniques are also used in certain treatments, such as draining pseudocysts.

Epilepsy surgery is a procedure that either removes or isolates the area of your brain where your seizures originate. If the section of your brain where your seizures begin is too vital to remove, your surgeon can make a series of incisions that prevent your seizures from spreading to the rest of your brain.

Epilepsy surgery works best for people who have seizures that always originate in the same place in their brains. To be considered for epilepsy surgery, you must have tried at least two anti-seizure drugs without success. If two appropriate drugs have failed, it is highly unlikely that any other anti-epileptic drug will help you.

Esophageal manometry (muh-NOM-uh-tree) is a test that gauges how well your esophagus works. Your esophagus is the long, muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Esophageal manometry measures the rhythmic muscle contractions (peristalsis) that occur in your esophagus when you swallow. Esophageal manometry also measures the coordination and force exerted by the muscles of your esophagus.

During esophageal manometry, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) that contains sensors is passed through your nose, down your esophagus and into your stomach. Esophageal manometry can be helpful in diagnosing some mostly uncommon disorders that affect your esophagus.

The Essure system is a type of permanent birth control for women. It cannot be reversed.

During insertion of the Essure system, your health care provider uses flexible tube with a small camera (hysteroscope) inserted through the vagina, into the cervix and up to the uterus. Once the openings to the fallopian tubes are visualized, small metal and fiber coils are passed through the hysteroscope and into your fallopian tubes. The Essure system causes scar tissue to form around the coils, blocking your fallopian tubes and preventing sperm from reaching the egg.

The Essure system takes three months to become effective in preventing pregnancy, and in some women, it may take up to six months. During this time, you must use other contraceptive methods to prevent pregnancy. Essure doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

External beam radiation for prostate cancer uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. During external beam radiation for prostate cancer, the high-energy beams are generated by a machine called a linear accelerator that aims the beams at your prostate gland.

External beam radiation for prostate cancer kills cancer cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. Healthy cells in the beam's path also are affected by external beam radiation therapy, resulting in side effects. The goal of external beam radiation for prostate cancer is to destroy the cancerous cells while sparing as much of the normal surrounding tissue as possible.

External beam radiation for prostate cancer is one of the standard treatment options to treat prostate cancer. It may also be used for men who have prostate cancer that comes back after surgery.

A complete eye exam involves a series of tests designed to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases. Your eye doctor may use a variety of instruments, shine bright lights directly at your eyes and request that you look through an array of lenses. Each test during an eye exam evaluates a different aspect of your vision or eye health.