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Buffalo General Medical Center
100 High Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

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Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery
What conditions require advanced laparoscopic surgery?


When we eat, food goes down the esophagus. At the bottom of the esophagus there is an opening into the stomach. This opening has a valve muscle that remains closed most of the time, but when food is swallowed, the valve opens and the esophagus contracts to move the food down into the stomach. For those with achalasia though, that valve muscle doesn’t relax and open properly so swallowing becomes difficult.

Symptoms of achalasia include vomiting undigested food, chest pain, coughing, and weight loss.

Length of hospital stay: 
Usually overnight

Recovery time: 
Most patients are able to return to work in two-three weeks




The gallbladder is a small organ that works in concert with the liver. It collects and concentrates bile that the liver secrets to aid digestion. Gallbladder removal (called a cholecystectomy) is usually necessary because of the presence of gallstones, which are “stone-like” objects formed from bile salt and cholesterol.

Symptoms of gallbladder disorders include pain on the right side under the ribs, nausea, pain between the shoulder blades, burping, headache, and diarrhea or constipation.

Length of hospital stay: 
Either same day or overnight

Recovery time:
Approximately one week


GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)


Many people experience heartburn-or GERD-periodically throughout their lives. For some though, this is a chronic condition. Heartburn is caused by stomach acids traveling up through the esophagus due to a weak valve muscle between the esophagus and stomach. If diet changes or medications fail to alleviate the heartburn, a procedure called Nissen fundoplication is recommended. In Nissen fundoplication, the upper portion of the stomach is wrapped around the bottom of the esophagus and sutured in place-improving the closing functionality of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach.

Symptoms of GERD are heartburn and regurgitation.

Length of hospital stay: 
Usually overnight

Recovery time: 
Most patients can return to work after one week. Immediately following surgery, patients are required to eat very well chewed food in small amounts and avoid carbonated drinks. They can resume a normal diet two-six weeks after surgery

Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias are the most common kind of hernia and occur when part of the bowel pushes through the muscles of the abdominal wall (inguinal canal) and into the groin. There are two main types of inguinal hernias; an indirect hernia, which is usually a defect arising from weakness acquired from birth, and direct which is usually acquired as a result of aging or excessive strain or injury. Inguinal hernias are more prevalent in men.

Symptoms of an inguinal hernia are bulging in the scrotum or groin, discomfort or pain, nausea and vomiting.

Length of hospital stay:
Usually overnight

Recovery time:
Less than one week

Paraesophageal Hernia (also called Hiatal Hernia)

Paraesophageal Hernia

A paraesophageal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach protrudes up into the diaphragm next to the esophagus. Symptoms can include chest pain, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, abdominal pain and nausea. It is important to note however, that some people experience no symptoms. Nissen fundoplication is the standard recommendation for those with paraesophageal hernias.

Length of hospital stay:
Usually overnight

Recovery time:
Most patients can return to work after one week. Immediately following surgery, patients are required to eat very well chewed food in small amounts and avoid carbonated drinks. They can resume a normal diet two-six weeks after surgery.


Weight Loss Surgery

weightloss photo

Weight loss surgery (also called bariatric surgery) is designed to improve quality of life by facilitating the loss of excess weight and the reduction of obesity-related risks for life threatening conditions like diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and elevated cholesterol levels. This is accomplished by one of two approaches: either restricted procedures to decrease food intake or malabsorptive procedures that alter digestion and cause food to be incompletely absorbed. Nearly all of the weight loss surgeries performed at Buffalo General are done laparoscopically.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Banding

This surgery is designed to restrict and decrease food intake without interfering in the normal digestive process. A hollow band made of special material is placed around the stomach near its upper end to create both a small pouch and a narrow passage into the larger remaining portion of the stomach, which delays the emptying of food and causes a feeling of fullness. (The band can be tightened or loosened over time to change the size of the passage.) Initially, the pouch holds about one ounce of food and usually expands to two-three ounces with time.

Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass

Staples are used to create a stomach pouch out of a small portion of the normal stomach. The new pouch is then attached directly to the small intestine, bypassing a large part of the stomach (which is only sealed off, not removed) and duodenum. Not only is the stomach pouch too small to hold large amounts of food, but by skipping the duodenum, fat and calorie absorption is substantially reduced.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy is a relatively new approach to weight loss surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon removes approximately 85% of the stomach, which transforms the stomach from a pouch, into more of a tube shape.

Length of hospital stay:
Two-five days, depending on the procedure.

Recovery time:
Two-six weeks

Learn more:
The Bariatric Division at Buffalo General Medical Center