Abdomen and Colon


The appendix is a small finger-like tube that is attached to the beginning of the large intestine. It is thought that the appendix contributes minimally to the immune system. In children, appendix inflammation can be triggered by a viral infection. In adults, the appendix can become clogged with stool or may become chronically irritated causing pain in the right lower abdomen. The surgical removal of an appendix is called an appendectomy.


The most reliable and durable operation that surgically addresses the symptoms of GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is called a fundoplication. The surgery is done using a laparoscopic or robotic technique and involves reshaping the inlet of the stomach by wrapping the top of the stomach around the bottom of the esophagus. This helps the one way valve at the bottom of the esophagus work better, keeping the stomach contents in the stomach. A hiatal hernia, if present, can also be repaired during an anti-reflux surgery.


Surgery on the colon can be recommended for a variety of medical conditions including cancer, blockage, traumatic injury, polyps, or problems related to diverticulosis. If you have had two or three episodes of diverticulitis (an infection in the out-pouchings of the colon wall), elective surgical treatment may be an option.



Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD,) also known as upper endoscopy, is used to examine the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. It is a diagnostic tool used to identify ulcers, esophageal reflux disease, bleeding, Barrett’s esophagus and even cancer. It is common for biopsies to be taken during the EGD to test for helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that can survive in acid and attacks the lining of the stomach. H. pylori can cause many abdominal symptoms including nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, and can even lead to stomach cancer.


A colonoscopy examines the colon, or large intestine, using a long, flexible tube with a tiny camera attached to the end. It is an outpatient procedure which is used to investigate the reason for blood in the stool, colon inflammation, or other abnormalities. It is also the most reliable way to screen for polyps, precancerous cells that can form small clumps on the lining of the colon. Screening is recommended beginning at age 50, or earlier if there is a history of cancer in a 1st degree relative (parents or siblings). A laxative regimen along with a clear liquid diet is required the day before the procedure.


The gallbladder stores bile made by the liver, which is then released into the intestines after meals. Gallstones may form in the gallbladder, which can lead to inflammation or irritation of the gallbladder or pancreas. The presence of gallstones or chronic inflammation may require surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). Following surgery, temporary diet changes may be needed while the body adapts to no longer having a bile storage function.


Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose veins. They are caused by inflamed collections of blood vessels in the rectum and anus. They can be caused by constipation, straining, or sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. Both external and internal hemorrhoids can cause pain or bleeding. Treatment can range from conservative measures such as increasing dietary fiber and drinking plenty of water to outpatient surgery for the removal of hemorrhoidal tissue. Non-surgical techniques such as hemorrhoid banding and infrared light treatment can be performed at the SilverBow Surgical Associates Butte location.


A hernia is a hole in the abdominal wall. Hernias can be found in the groin (inguinal or femoral), prior surgery sites (incisional), at the belly button (umbilical), between the rib cage and groin (ventral), or between the chest and abdomen (hiatal/diaphragm). Hernias can be classified as reducible, incarcerated, or strangulated. Reducible hernias can move freely in and out of the abdominal wall. Incarcerated hernias are not able to move freely, but do not cause serious problems. Strangulated hernias stick out and can become an emergency. Hernias are often surgically repaired using mesh to reinforce weak tissues.

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