Abdominal surgery covers procedures that involve the abdomen including the stomach, kidney, and liver. For information on lower gastrointestinal track (GI) conditions including colorectal health issues please visit our Gastrointestinal Surgery page.
Common Abdominal Health Conditions
Cholecystitis is the term for inflammation of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is the organ that stores bile after it is produced by the liver, and then releases it into your small intestine, when needed, to help digest fat. Gallstones, which are hard “pebbles” composed of bile, may form in the gallbladder or may block the ducts, causing pressure to build up behind them. Gallstones are a very common cause of cholecystitis. Women are more likely than men to suffer discomfort from gallstones. Other risk factors include high blood triglycerides, being overweight or pregnant, and having diabetes or a family history of cholecystitis.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition related to bouts of heartburn. Heartburn occurs when acid in the stomach refluxes back up into the esophagus (the tube that takes food from your mouth to your stomach) and damages the soft tissue there, causing the burning sensation we call heartburn. At the base of the esophagus is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), that acts like a valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Normally, this valve closes to prevent stomach contents from traveling back into the esophagus, but when it malfunctions, stomach contents can leak back into the esophagus and damage the tissue there. Hiatal hernia and conditions that cause increased pressure within the abdomen, such as pregnancy and obesity, may lead to GERD.
A hernia is a weakness in the wall of your abdomen. When you lift a heavy load, or when pressure in the abdomen increases, as when you cough, abdominal organs and tissues push against the wall. If the pressure is enough, they can push though at the weak spot, bulging out in a lump that you may be able to feel under your skin. This is not always painful, and you may be able to push the lump back inside then it is called a reducible hernia.