All Medical Procedures

Sperm donation is a procedure in which a man donates semen — the fluid released during ejaculation — to help an individual or a couple conceive a baby.

Donated sperm can be injected into a woman's reproductive organs (intrauterine insemination) or used to fertilize mature eggs in a lab (in vitro fertilization). The use of donated sperm is known as third party reproduction.

A man who makes a sperm donation can be known or anonymous to the recipient. Sperm donations made to a known recipient are called directed donations.

You must be screened for medical conditions and other risk factors before you can make a sperm donation. It's also important to understand the possible emotional, psychological and legal issues of sperm donation.

Spermicide is a substance that contains chemicals, such as nonoxynol-9, that immobilize or kill sperm. Spermicide is put into the vagina before sex to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Spermicide is available without a prescription and comes in many forms, including cream, gel, foam, film, suppository and tablet.

Spermicide isn't a highly effective birth control method when used alone. However, spermicide can also be used with a barrier method — such as a condom, diaphragm or cervical cap — to prevent pregnancy. Spermicide doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.

Spinal fusion is surgery to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in your spine, eliminating motion between them.

Spinal fusion involves techniques designed to mimic the normal healing process of broken bones. During spinal fusion, your surgeon places bone or a bone-like material within the space between two spinal vertebrae. Metal plates, screws and rods may be used to hold the vertebrae together, so they can heal into one solid unit.

Because spinal fusion surgery immobilizes parts of your spine, it changes the way your spine can move. This places additional stress and strain on the vertebrae above and below the fused portion, and may increase the rate at which those areas of your spine degenerate.

Spirometry (spy-ROM-uh-tree) is a common office test used to assess how well your lungs work by measuring how much air you inhale, how much you exhale and how quickly you exhale.

Spirometry is used to diagnose asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions that affect breathing. Spirometry may also be used periodically to check whether a treatment for a chronic lung condition is helping you breathe better.

Splenectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your spleen — an organ that sits under your rib cage on the left side of your abdomen. The spleen helps fight infection and filters unneeded material, such as old or damaged blood cells. Although your bone marrow produces most of your blood products, the spleen also produces red blood cells and certain types of white blood cells.

The most common reason for splenectomy is to treat a ruptured spleen, often caused by an abdominal injury. Splenectomy may be used to treat other conditions, including enlarged spleen (splenomegaly), some blood disorders, certain cancers, infection, and noncancerous cysts or tumors.

Splenectomy is most commonly performed using a tiny video camera and special surgical tools (laparoscopic splenectomy).

A stem cell transplant — also called a blood or marrow transplant — is the injection or infusion of healthy stem cells into your body to replace damaged or diseased stem cells.

A stem cell transplant may be necessary if your bone marrow stops working and doesn't produce enough healthy stem cells.

This procedure also may be performed if high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy is given in the treatment of blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma or sickle cell anemia.

A stem cell transplant can help your body make enough healthy white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets, and reduce your risk of life-threatening infections, anemia and bleeding.

Although the procedure to replenish your body's supply of healthy blood-forming cells is generally called a stem cell transplant, it's also known as a bone marrow transplant, peripheral blood stem cell transplant or an umbilical cord blood transplant, depending on the source of the stem cells.

Stem cell transplants can use cells from your own body (autologous stem cell transplant), from a donor (allogeneic stem cell transplant) or from an identical twin (syngeneic transplant).

The stool DNA test is a noninvasive laboratory test that identifies DNA changes in the cells of a stool sample. The stool DNA test specifically looks for DNA alterations associated with colon polyps and colon cancer.

The major goal of the stool DNA test is to detect whether DNA changes that indicate colon cancer or precancerous polyps are present in the colon.

One stool DNA test (Cologuard) is approved for use the United States.

A stress test, also called an exercise stress test, gathers information about how your heart works during physical activity. Because exercise makes your heart pump harder and faster than usual, an exercise stress test can reveal problems within your heart that might not be noticeable otherwise.

An exercise stress test usually involves walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike while your heart rhythm, blood pressure and breathing are monitored.

Your doctor may recommend an exercise stress test if he or she suspects you have coronary artery disease or an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). The test may also be used to guide your treatment if you've already been diagnosed with a heart condition.

Tattoo ink is placed beneath the top layer of skin. That makes tattoo removal more complicated — and expensive — than the original tattoo application. If you're no longer satisfied with your tattoo, however, tattoo removal might be possible.

Common procedures for tattoo removal include:

  • Laser surgery
  • Dermabrasion
  • Surgical removal

If you're interested in tattoo removal, consult your dermatologist about the options. Don't attempt tattoo removal on your own. Do-it-yourself tattoo removal creams and other home treatments aren't likely to be effective and can cause skin irritation or other reactions.

A testicular exam is an inspection of the appearance and feel of your testicles. You can do a testicular exam yourself, typically standing in front of a mirror.

Routine testicular exams may give you a greater awareness of the condition of your testicles and help you detect when changes occur. Testicular exams may also help you identify potential testicular problems.

If you detect lumps or other changes during a testicular exam, make an appointment with your doctor.