I sometimes joke with patients that their problems are either learned or inherited, and therefore caused by their parents. While our genetics and what we have learned from family and friends definitely impact our health, it’s not the whole story. Our environment, how we use our bodies and the choices we make also impact our health. I would like to share one other truism of health with you: Almost everyone at some time in their life will be treated by a general surgeon. And those times can be anxiety provoking and sometimes life altering (usually for the better). The staff at Island Surgeons are dedicated to overcoming the anxieties that may accompany an upcoming procedure by listening to our patients, creating an individualized plan for each patient and prioritizing open communication throughout the process while addressing your particular concerns.

Why might you see a general surgeon? Maybe you have an abnormal mammogram, a lump in your breast or have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Maybe you have diverticulitis or colon cancer and might need to have part of your colon removed. Maybe you have a lump in your thyroid, abdominal pain, gallstones, a hernia or a bowel obstruction. Maybe your doctor suspects you have skin cancer and would like it removed. Maybe you have longstanding heartburn and are tired of taking medication. Maybe you have to receive chemotherapy and need IV access (port-a-cath) to get it. These are all conditions that a general surgeon routinely treats. And there are many others. I like to say we treat everything but brains, hearts, the urinary tract and extremity bones, but even those are sometimes in the realm of what we do to save a life.

At Island Surgeons, your medical needs are met with more than a scheduled surgery. Island Surgeons will work collaboratively with referring providers to confirm your diagnosis, determine the best treatment, make sure you are healthy enough for the treatment you select and coordinate recovery strategies. Whether under local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia, whether open or laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery, the team at Island Surgeons provides services aimed to give you an excellent result, reduce infection, better manage pain and promote an accelerated recovery; all with the intention to resume or increase the quality of your life. If you have a condition that requires an expertise we lack, we will help direct you to the most appropriate caregiver for your condition. We want you to have the best outcome possible!

As a patient and consumer, you have choices when it comes to your medical services. From your initial consultation and surgical preparation to post-operative care and recovery, Island Surgeons’ skilled team is dedicated to meeting your needs. Island Hospital’s operating rooms are equipped to serve a wide range of needs, utilizing highly skilled surgeons and compassionate nurses to carry out critical procedures, keeping you close to home for your treatment and recovery.

Surgeons in rural or remote settings often perform a wider range of services than what you may find in urban hospitals. Island Surgeons often perform upper and lower intestinal endoscopies (EGD and colonoscopy), also performed by gastroenterologists. The benefit of having a general surgeon perform these types of procedures is that we can often treat other surgical conditions, such as hemorrhoids, while doing these procedures. Whether it’s scheduling a surgical procedure or your next colonoscopy, the off ice staff at Island Surgeons can assist in guiding you through the process, including working with your insurance company and ensuring referrals are complete.

With COVID-19 safety measures in place to keep patients and staff safe, Island Surgeons is prepared to see you through your procedure. If you postponed a colonoscopy or other procedure over the past year, it may be time to schedule an appointment with one of our general surgeons. Further delaying care can turn a simple procedure into something far more complex. Screenings such as colonoscopies can often remove polyps before they become cancer or detect cancer in its earliest stages, when it is easier to treat and leads to better outcomes. You may not realize this, but we have many tests to detect cancer early (like mammograms for breast cancer), but colonoscopy is the only screening exam that can prevent cancer by removing premalignant polyps before they become cancer.


For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons, call Island Surgeons at 360-293-5142 or visit islandhealth.org/surgeons.



Article by Joseph Mulcahy, MD, FACS 

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Published on July 23, 2021