Your colon, also known as your large bowel or large intestine, is the last part of your bowel. It functions to remove water from our stool before we eliminate it from our body. It is where the appendix is located and where other problems can occur.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the US. It's usually found in older patients (>50 years old) and due to genetics and lifestyle factors. It can start as a polyp and continue to grow over 10 years to a colon mass.
Symptoms of colon cancer can vary but typically affect those over the age of 50. Please speak with your doctor about if you need a colonoscopy. Symptoms include:
- Bleeding from your rectum
- Changes in the size or color of your stool
- Worsening constipation
If you have any of these symptoms, please discuss them with your doctor.
Diverticulitis is an infection of the colon due to diverticula. Diverticula are outpouches from your colon. They form over many decades due to dietary habits. Diverticula are more likely found in patients with a 'Westernized diet'. The typical Westernized diet is low in fiber (fruits and vegetables) and can cause it as early as age 30.
Symptoms are related to the infection of the colon. Most episodes will cause pain on the left side but can be found anywhere in the abdomen
- Sharp pain, typically on the lower left side of the abdomen
- Nausea or vomiting
Surgery is usually the last consideration for diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is usually treated with antibiotics, IV fluids and stop eating for 2-3 days. This allows the infection to heal. Some may accomplish this outside the hospital if the attack is mild.
Treatment will usually lead to a CT exam. This allows your doctor to see how severe the infection is and if it's complicated by other findings. An abscess or rupture may require more specialized care.
A severe infection may require an emergency surgery. Please consult with your doctor for any episodes of diverticulitis.
What is a Lipoma?
A lipoma is a collection of fatty cells that grow slowly over many years. It’s soft, looks lumpy and normally does not cause pain. Most importantly, they are NON cancerous. They can occur more than once and can be found on our arms or legs, back or many other areas. They can even be found on our internal organs.
The symptoms of a lipoma are straight forward. They include:
- Soft mass that easily movable
- Not painful
- Smooth mass
- Slowly grows over several years
Treating a lipoma usually revolves around two considerations. They are unsightly and patients traditionally want to remove it for cosmetic reasons. Secondly, it will help ease your mind by removing it and confirming the diagnosis. After the procedure, we send the tissue to a pathologist to confirm it is only a lipoma. It gives you piece of mind to know it’s removed from your body.
What is a port?
A port is a way to give you IV medications that is more durable than an IV. An IV is great for medications over a short period of time but can become problematic over just a few days. If you have ever been admitted to a hospital for longer than 2-3 days, you have already experienced having IV difficulty. The hospital will replace the IV every few days to prevent the IV from becoming infected.
A port is a way to keep great IV access over several months, if not years. Commonly, it’s used for chemotherapy but other patients have had ports placed for other reasons.
A port can be placed in several ways and different environments. Most likely, we will perform it as an outpatient procedure. You will stay in the hospital for 2-3 hours and go home the same day. You may need a xray after the procedure.
Afterwards, you can expect a small amount of soreness but you can resume your regular activities the next day. The port can be used immediately
What is an abscess?
An abscess is a collection of fluid due to an infection. It usually contains pus, which is a combination of your white blood cells (part of your immune system) and broken-down cells and tissue debris.
The symptoms of an abscess are very similar to an infection of the tissue around it. You may need a surgeon to help distinguish between an infection and an abscess. The symptoms include:
- Redness around your skin
- Pain that is worse when you touch it
- Warmth; it may feel very hot to touch
- Drainage from the skin; you may notice pus or foul smelling drainage from the skin
- An abscess can come to a ‘head’
Abscesses can arise in many different areas. They can start off as a cyst that may be present for months or years. They can arise from ingrown hair follicles. They can show up around your buttocks or anal area. They can even start from the surgical sites, or cuts, from surgery.
Treatment of an abscess requires a few approaches. Don’t hesitate to contact your physician if you believe you have an abscess. Treatment can include antibiotics and may need a small cut to drain out the infection. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body, including, into deeper tissue spaces or into your blood stream. Once the infection spreads into your bloodstream, it can cause a severe infection, or sepsis.