Procedures Performed by Dr. Harris


Heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease.  Proton pump inhibitors such as Omeprazole are often used to control the symptoms of reflux by neutralizing stomach acid.  When medications fail or patients do not want to take them long-term, anti-reflux surgery can often help.  Many patients with reflux have hiatal hernias that need to be repaired as well.  A fundoplication is an important part of most reflux surgery and is performed by wrapping part of the stomach around the end of the esophagus.  There is also a new device called LINX that can be used instead of a fundoplication.  Antireflux surgery usually requires a one night stay in the hospital and is almost always done laparoscopically. Some studies have suggested that long-term use of proton pump inhibitors may have negative health consequences.


The gallbladder is most often removed because of the presence of stones that can prevent the gallbladder from emptying normally.  Usually symptoms consist of pain on the right side of the abdomen below ribs and it is usually worse after eating.  Sometimes patients can have gallbladder disease without gallstones which is called biliary dyskinesia.  A test called a HIDA scan can be performed to test the function of the gallbladder.  Gallbladder surgery is done laparoscopically with 3 or 4 very small incisions.  Patients almost always go home the same day.


A hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall (made of muscle and fascia) that allows contents that should be inside the abdomen to protrude.  These contents are usually fat or intestines.  Sometimes the contents can become stuck and the blood supply can become choked off.  This can become an emergency if the intestines are involved.  There are a variety of approaches used to repair hernias and mesh is almost always employed to prevent the hernia from coming back.  Most hernias can be repaired with a laparoscopic approach that does not require an overnight stay in the hospital but larger hernias may require significant incisions to reconstruct the abdominal wall.  


Part of the colon or rectum may need to be removed for diverticular disease or cancer.  Except in emergency situations, a gastroenterologist will usually see you before recommending that you see a surgeon.  A colostomy is usually not necessary. 


Breast mass or lesions can be benign, precancerous, or malignant.  A biopsy is often done in the office or by radiologist in the hospital to evaluate a lesion after a mammogram and ultrasound has been done.  Redness of the skin of the breast that does not go away may require a skin biopsy to rule out inflammatory breast cancer.


Thyroid disease: the thyroid gland can become enlarged (called a goiter) and cause difficulty with breathing and swallowing.  Removal of the thyroid is usually necessary to treat this.  Thyroid cancer is another reason for removal of the thyroid gland.  Thyroid cancer is usually detected after an ultrasound shows a suspicious nodule. A procedure call fine needle aspiration is a thyroid biopsy that can be used to detect cancer in a suspicious nodule. Thyroid supplementation pills after thyroidectomy are usually necessary and easily returns patient’s thyroid hormone levels to normal.

Parathyroid disease: an overactive parathyroid gland can cause elevated levels of calcium which can cause a variety of problems.  Under these circumstances, the overactive parathyroid gland needs to be removed.

Adrenal disease: the adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys make a variety of hormones.  When an adrenal gland is overactive, it may need to be removed.  Cancer of the adrenal gland can also occur and require andrenalectomy.  As long as the other adrenal gland is normal, hormonal supplementation is usually not necessary.


Often referred to as lumps and bumps these can sometimes be removed in the office.  These are rarely malignant but only a medical professional can help determine this.