Surgical care in Anchorage, Alaska

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You’re in good hands when you have surgery at Alaska Regional Hospital. Our facility offers state-of-the-art facilities and safety-focused programs, combined with a healing touch.

Our dedicated team of accredited anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians and surgeons are leaders in their respective fields and are continually training and advancing their education to be the most skilled and knowledgeable they can be.

To find a surgeon, talk with one of our team members at our Consult-A-Nurse® line, (907) 264-1722, or use our online service.

Surgical Procedures at Alaska Regional

At Alaska Regional, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of all types of medicine, and surgery is no exception. Rest assured, most types of surgery don’t require lengthy hospital stays. In fact, many procedures don't require an overnight stay.

No matter how long you stay, or what type of surgery you receive, you can be certain that you'll receive the best medical attention possible. Surgical options at our facility may involve traditional surgeries or minimally invasive procedures. Our minimally invasive procedures fall into two categories:

  • Laparoscopic surgery — image-guided procedure using a long tube with camera and surgical instruments attached
  • Robotic-assisted surgeries — image-guided surgery that uses surgeon-controlled robotic arms to complete procedures

We work with you and your doctor to thoroughly discuss your condition and explore all treatment options that best fit your health needs. Some of our traditional surgeries include:

General surgery

The general surgeons at Alaska Regional encounter a variety of surgical needs on a daily basis. Our skilled physicians will work with you to diagnose conditions, make recommendations and offer consultations on urgent surgical matters, as well as elective surgical procedures that you may be considering. Some of the surgical needs that we consult on often include:

  • Appendectomy
  • Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)
  • Hernia repair
  • Splenectomy (spleen removal)

Colorectal surgery

Colorectal conditions and cancer can occur at any age, regardless of your overall health or activity levels. You should visit with your doctor should you see any symptoms manifest themselves in your daily routine. Such symptoms can be inconsistencies in your bowel movements, blood in your stool, narrow stools, pelvic pain or unexplained weight loss. Since these symptoms may closely resemble other diseases, you should schedule an appointment with your primary physician as soon as possible.

Early detection and diagnosis are key to managing your healthcare. Early detection can significantly improve treatment outcomes and survival rates for any disease diagnosis. Some of the most common colorectal conditions that require further treatment are:

  • Anal fissures
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Cancers (colorectal, rectal)
  • Constipation
  • Diverticulitis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic specialties include the investigation and treatment of conditions and organs found in the body’s chest. These specialties also include and upper abdomen including the lungs, mediastinum, chest wall, esophagus, diaphragm and the great vessels to the heart.

You should see your physician about symptoms affecting your daily routine, including chest discomfort, chest pain, trouble coughing, difficulty breathing, problems eating, a cough that won’t go away or coughing up blood. Your physician may recommend diagnostic tests such as:

Once tests have been completed, treatment may indicate lifestyle changes or medication. In other instances, surgery may be recommended. Thoracic specialists use surgical methods to treat conditions including:

  • Thoracic cancers (esophageal, head and neck, lung)
  • Emphysema
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • Mesothelioma
  • Diaphragmatic pacing (implantation of a small device that stimulates the diaphragm to move and expand the lungs, enabling some paralyzed individuals to breathe without a respirator)
  • Diaphragmatic plication for diaphragmatic paralysis (stabilization of the diaphragm to restore normal lung function)
  • Lung transplant surgery

Urology surgery

Urology is a branch of medicine concerned with disorders of the urinary system, including the bladder, urethra and kidneys in both men and women, as well as the male reproductive system.

Urology conditions include:

  • Chronic or recurring urinary tract infections
  • Infertility
  • Kidney stones
  • Prostate cancer
  • Prostatitis and enlarged prostate
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Urinary incontinence or overactive bladder
  • Urological cancers (bladder, kidney, testicular)

A variety of tests are used to diagnose urinary conditions. Some tests that your physician may perform to diagnose any possible conditions may include:

  • Biopsy
  • Computed tomography scan
  • Cystogram (X-ray of the bladder)
  • Cystoscopy (views the urinary tract through a small camera or endoscope)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Ultrasound
  • Urine tests
  • Urodynamic tests (measures the pressure and volume inside the bladder)

Robotic-assisted surgical center

The Alaska Regional Center for Surgical Robotics is a designated Center of Excellence in Robotics Surgery (COERS™) by Surgical Review Corporation. Earning this designation illustrates our ability to consistently deliver safe, high-quality robotic surgery care to our patients. Our hospital has offered state-of-the-art robotic surgery since 2005. We were the first hospital in Alaska to offer this option to patients.

The Federal Drug Administration approved robot guidance to assist physicians in placing screws during minimally invasive lumbar, thoracic and cervical spinal fusions. As a result, patients affected by traumatic spinal injuries, or those suffering from spinal instability due to conditions like scoliosis or spondylolisthesis, can greatly benefit from the increased precision during spinal screw placement. Other benefits of robotic surgery include a:

  • Faster recovery time
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay

During robotic surgery procedures, surgeons control robotic arms that allow them to use miniature surgical instruments through small incisions. This allows surgeons to see the surgical area with enhanced detail through a three-dimensional, high-definition camera. The robotic arm moves with seven degrees of motion that mimic and, in some cases, expand on the dexterity of the human wrist.

Types of robotic-assisted surgeries we offer include:

  • Appendectomy
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Gallbladder removal
  • Hernia repair
  • Spleen removal
  • Thoracic surgery
Robotic Thoracic Surgery

Specialty surgical services

Our cardiac, gynecology, bariatric and orthopedic departments offer procedures tailored to the surgical needs of our heart, women, weight loss, and bone health patients, respectively.

Bariatric surgery

Weight loss or bariatric surgery is an option for patients where medication, diet and exercise methods have failed to help control or aid in weight loss. Our bariatric surgeons offer Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric band or lap band and gastrectomy procedures.

Gynecologic oncology and gynecology surgery

Some women's cancers and gynecologic conditions may need to be treated through surgical means. Women and their doctors can choose traditional surgeries or minimally invasive procedures including laparoscopy and robotic-assisted surgeries. Some procedures include:

  • Brachytherapy
  • Endometrial resection
  • Fibroid removal
  • Hysterectomies
  • Imaging tests and screening
  • Mastectomy (breast removal)
  • Ovarian cystectomy

At Alaska Regional, gynecological surgery includes laparoscopic and robotic-assisted procedures.

Orthopedic surgery

Alaska Regional’s Orthopedic and Spine Center provides a holistic program for adults who experience degenerative and acute joint, back and neck conditions as a result of trauma, illness or aging. Our program's goal is to help patients achieve their highest level of independence and physical function.

Spine surgery

Alaska Regional was one of the first community hospitals in the world to utilize robot guidance in spine surgery. The technique precisely locates anatomical structures so surgeons can place spinal and orthopedic bone screws with the highest degree of accuracy. That means a quicker recovery for most patients.

Joint replacement surgery

We also specialize in hip and knee replacement surgeries. Our team oversees patient care from admission to aftercare including preoperative classes, the joint surgery itself, hospitalization, acute rehab, postoperative classes and post-discharge care. Our program has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal.

Heart and vascular surgery

Our comprehensive cardiovascular surgery program offers traditional, minimally invasive and specialty services. Alaska Regional's cardiac surgeons have the advanced capabilities to handle severe blockages or patients that have had multiple heart surgeries.

Surgeons at our hospital are highly skilled in several types of heart procedures including coronary artery bypass grafts, congenital heart defect repairs and beating heart surgery.

During beating heart surgery, our specially trained physicians perform surgery while the heart is beating using a special device that stabilizes the target area. Applying such a surgical technique reduces complications including heart muscle damage, arrhythmias, and heart attacks and helps patients return home to their normal routines as much as possible.