All Medical Procedures

Cholecystectomy (koh-luh-sis-TEK-tuh-me) is a surgical procedure to remove your gallbladder — a pear-shaped organ that sits just below your liver on the upper right side of your abdomen. Your gallbladder collects and stores bile — a digestive fluid produced in your liver.

Cholecystectomy may be necessary if you experience pain from gallstones that block the flow of bile. Cholecystectomy is a common surgery, and it carries only a small risk of complications. In most cases, you can go home the same day of your cholecystectomy.

Cholecystectomy is most commonly performed by inserting a tiny video camera and special surgical tools through four small incisions to see inside your abdomen and remove the gallbladder. Doctors call this laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In some cases, one large incision may be used to remove the gallbladder. This is called an open cholecystectomy.

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin covering the tip of the penis. Circumcision is fairly common for newborn boys in certain parts of the world, including the United States. Circumcision after the newborn period is possible, but it's a more complex procedure.

For some families, circumcision is a religious ritual. Circumcision can also be a matter of family tradition, personal hygiene or preventive health care. For others, however, circumcision seems unnecessary or disfiguring. After circumcision, it isn't generally possible to re-create the appearance of an uncircumcised penis.

A colonoscopy (koe-lun-OS-kuh-pee) is an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon.

If necessary, polyps or other types of abnormal tissue can be removed through the scope during a colonoscopy. Tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken during a colonoscopy as well.

Cystoscopy (sis-TOS-kuh-pee) is a procedure used to see inside your urinary bladder and urethra — the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. During a cystoscopy procedure, your doctor uses a hollow tube (cystoscope) equipped with a lens to carefully examine the lining of your bladder and your urethra. The cystoscope is inserted into your urethra and slowly advanced into your bladder.

Your doctor may perform the cystoscopy in a testing room, using a local anesthetic jelly to numb your urethra. Or your doctor may perform cystoscopy as an outpatient procedure, using sedation. Another option is to do the cystoscopy in the hospital while under general anesthesia. The type of cystoscopy you'll have depends on the reason for your procedure.

In hemodialysis, a machine filters wastes, salts and fluid from your blood when your kidneys are no longer healthy enough to do this work adequately. Hemodialysis is the most common way to treat advanced kidney failure. The procedure can help you carry on an active life despite failing kidneys.

Hemodialysis requires you to follow a strict treatment schedule, take medications regularly and, usually, make changes in your diet.

Hemodialysis is a serious responsibility, but you don't have to shoulder it alone. You'll work closely with your health care team, including a kidney specialist and other professionals with experience managing hemodialysis. You may be able to do hemodialysis at home.

Peritoneal (per-ih-toe-NEE-ul) dialysis is another way to remove waste products from your blood when your kidneys can no longer do the job adequately. During peritoneal dialysis, blood vessels in your abdominal lining (peritoneum) fill in for your kidneys, with the help of a cleansing fluid that flows into and out of the peritoneal space.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is treatment to stop the male hormone testosterone from reaching the prostate cancer cells in your body. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is also called androgen deprivation therapy.

Most prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer cuts off the supply of testosterone or stops testosterone from reaching the cancer cells, causing cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer may involve medications, or it can involve surgery to remove the testicles.

An intravenous pyelogram (PIE-uh-loh-gram), also called an excretory urogram, is an X-ray exam of your urinary tract. An intravenous pyelogram lets your doctor view your kidneys, your bladder and the tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder (ureters). An intravenous pyelogram may be used to diagnose disorders that affect the urinary tract, such as kidney stones, bladder stones, enlarged prostate, kidney cysts or urinary tract tumors.

During an intravenous pyelogram, you'll have an X-ray dye (iodine contrast solution) injected into a vein in your arm. The dye flows into your kidneys, ureters and bladder, outlining each of these structures. X-ray pictures are taken at specific times during the exam, so your doctor can clearly see your urinary tract and assess how well it's working.

During a kidney biopsy — also called renal biopsy — your doctor removes a small piece of kidney tissue to examine under a microscope for signs of damage or disease.

Your doctor may recommend a kidney biopsy to diagnose a suspected kidney problem, determine the severity of kidney disease or monitor treatment for kidney disease. You also may need a kidney biopsy if you've had a kidney transplant that's not working properly.

Most often, a doctor performs a kidney biopsy by inserting a thin needle through the skin — a procedure known as percutaneous kidney biopsy. An imaging device helps the doctor guide the needle into the kidney to remove tissue.

Nephrectomy (nuh-FREK-tuh-me) is a surgical procedure to remove all or part of a kidney:

  • Complete nephrectomy. During a complete (radical) nephrectomy, the surgeon removes the entire kidney.
  • Partial nephrectomy. In a partial nephrectomy, the surgeon removes diseased tissue from a kidney and leaves healthy tissue in place.

A nephrectomy is most often done to treat kidney cancer or to remove a seriously damaged or diseased kidney. The surgeon may perform the procedure through a single large incision in the abdomen or side (open nephrectomy) or through a series of small incisions in the abdomen (laparoscopic nephrectomy).

In a donor nephrectomy, the surgeon removes a healthy kidney for transplant into a person who needs a functioning kidney.

Open simple prostatectomy is a surgery used to relieve urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Open simple prostatectomy is generally recommended for men who have severe urinary symptoms and very enlarged prostates. The surgery does not remove the entire prostate, as is done in a prostate cancer operation, but removes just the obstructive part of the prostate that blocks the flow of urine.

During open simple prostatectomy, the part of your prostate blocking urine flow is removed through a cut (incision) below your navel. It may be done by making several smaller incisions in the abdomen through a technique called laparoscopy or with the assistance of a robot to accomplish the same thing.