General Surgery

General Surgery Overview

The surgeons at University Surgeons Associates are all fully trained and board certified by the American Board of Surgery in the management of all aspects of General Surgery.  As full time faculty members of the Department of Surgery and Division of General Surgery at the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville we are constantly enhancing and maintaining our medical knowledge and surgical skills.  We are involved daily in teaching students, residents, nurses and practicing physicians the most up to date information and techniques.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center is the regions’ premier medical teaching institution and tertiary referral center and as such treats a wide variety of routine as well as complicated and unusual surgical conditions.  It has the largest selection of comprehensive services at any location in the East Tennessee region.  There are numerous medical and surgical specialist and subspecialist available to us when needed to help with your care.  We have access to research programs that provide our patients with the latest advances in treatments and diagnostics.  

The physicians and staff of University Surgeons Associates. are committed to working with all patients, institutions and communities in east Tennessee for the purpose of providing the highest quality surgical care, with the sole intent of improving the health status and well being of all served.

Our surgeons will work with you to diagnose, manage and if necessary operate on your general surgical condition.  We will co-ordinate with your primary care professional and specialty consultants in determining the need for and timing of surgical intervention.  If your condition requires surgery the following are general guidelines.

what preparation is required?

  • Preoperative preparation includes blood work, medical evaluation, chest x-ray and an EKG depending on your age and medical condition.
  • After your surgeon reviews with you the potential risks and benefits of the operation, you will need to provide written consent for surgery.
  • Blood transfusion and/or blood products may be needed depending on your condition.
  • It is recommended that you shower with an antibacterial soap the night before or morning of the operation.
  • After midnight the night before the operation, you should not eat or drink anything except medications that your surgeon and/or anesthesiologist tells you to take with a sip of water the morning of surgery.
  • Drugs such as aspirin, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications (arthritis medications) and large doses of Vitamin E will need to be stopped temporarily for several days to a week prior to surgery.
  • Diet medication or St. John’s Wort should not be used for the two weeks prior to surgery.
  • Quit smoking and arrange for any help you may need at home.

how is surgery performed?

For elective surgery, you will most likely be asked to check into the hospital the morning of your surgery.

  • Surgery may be performed under a general or local anesthesia.  The length of time it takes varies depending on the procedure and your condition.
  • Most procedures require one or more incisions to allow access for the surgeon to accomplish the procedure.
  • After the surgeon accomplishes the procedure, the incision or incisions are closed.

what should i expect after surgery?

Our goal is for your surgery and recovery to be as comfortable and convenient as possible.  You may experience temporary pain and swelling at the excision site.

  • Most Patients are able to engage in light activity while at home after surgery. Check with your surgeon to see when you can remove any dressings and shower.
  • Post-operative pain is usually generally mild and patients may require a pain pill or pain medication.
  • Most patients can resume normal activities shortly after surgery, including driving, walking up stairs, light lifting, and work.  Do not drive if you are taking narcotic pain medications. 
  • You should call and schedule a follow-up appointment within 2 weeks after your operation.

what complications can occur?

Surgery is generally considered extremely safe.  The degree of risk is dependant on the procedure and your condition.  As with any operation, there is a risk of a complication. Complications during the operation may include:

  • Bleeding or hematoma
  • Rarely infection of the wound
  • Skin wound separation
  • Infection or sepsis
  • Adverse reaction to general anesthesia

when to call your doctor

Be sure to call your physician or surgeon if you develop any of the following symptoms after surgery:

  • Persistent fever over 101 degrees F (39 C)
  • Chills
  • Bleeding
  • Pain that is not relieved by your medications
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • You are unable to eat or drink liquids
  • Persistent cough or shortness of breath
  • Purulent drainage (pus) from the incision
  • Redness surrounding the incision that is worsening or getting bigger

 Check with your surgeon regarding any special information and/or instructions for your particular procedure and/or conditions.