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December-The Many Functions of Adrenal Glands

What are adrenal glands and what do they do? The adrenal glands are small glands that sit on top of the kidneys in the retroperitoneum (the deepest part of the adomen). Both glands receive their blood supply from multiple blood vessels coming from the aorta, diaphragm, and kidney vessels. The adrenal glands have two layers, the cortex and the medulla. The cortex is on the outside and on the inside is the medulla.

Cortex- Located on the outer layer which makes several different hormones. The three main types of hormones are:

  • Cortisol- The most powerful glucocortiocoid is cortisol, which the body needs to function normally. This horomone protects the body during stress.
  • Aldosterone- The most powerful mineralocorticoid is aldosterone, which causes the kidneys to hold onto more sodium, leading to increased total body fluid. It also directly affects the heart and blood vessels.
  • Androgens and Estrogen- These hormones are sex-hormones, contributing to controlling of the growth of reproductive organs. Androgens control the male reproductive system, while estrogen controls the femal reproductive system.

Medulla-Located in the center of the gland it creates two types of hormones known as adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones control your "fight or flight" response, also known as epinephrine. Typical things that can cause the release of these hormones include anxiety, pain, upright posture, exercise, and exposure to cold.

The adrenal glands can contract diseases caused by too much or too little of these hormones. One of these diseases is called Addison's Disease, which can occur when the gland does not produce enough hormones. The adrenal gland can also produce too much of these hormones causing diseases like, Cushing's syndrome, primary hyperaldosteronism, virilizing syndromehormone, pheochromocytoma, and paraganglioma.

Davenport Surgical Group offers robotic surgery for Adrenal and Spleen surgery. If you are interested in learning more about Adrenal glands or surgery, Davenport Surgical Group is here to help. Your doctor will help you decide which surgery best fits your needs. Learn more by clicking into our surgical services tab.

December-Stephen W.'s Second Liver Surgery

Originally referred to Dr. Phelps, Stephen's first surgery was to remove twenty percent of his liver due to cancer in 2016. Then, early in 2018 after a scan they found another spot on his liver. He knew from his previous experience with Dr. Phelps, that he was uniquely qualified to do the surgery.

The first surgery they removed about 20% of my liver. This second surgery they had found a spot and froze it. Gave me another incision next to my first one from the initial surgery. I lived here all my life and all of my doctors were in the Genesis System and I was referred to Dr. Phelps, plus I only live one mile away.

Regarding Dr. Phelps,He was not stand-offish, and explained everything about the second liver surgery. Brought us (he and his wife) into his office and went over the film and pictures they took of the liver, even called and got another explaination. Everything was all above board, and professional

Stephen says Dr. Phelps and the team at Davenport Surgical Group took great care of things post-surgery.

I knew what to expect from the first surgery as far as recovery. DSG did a great job of taking care of things, following up after, calls reminding, healing and taking the staples up, felt no apprehension whatsoever. It kept me alive, and I'm just enjoying the time I have

If you, like Stephen, recently received startling results from a scan, know that the team at Davenport Surgical Group is here for you.

Our Board-Certified Surgeons specialize in general, breast, bariatric, cancer, and trauma surgery and are committed to providing patients with high quality care.

Learn more about our general surgical services on our website or contact us at 563-823-9300 to make an appointment.

November-Consider a Fall Flu Shot

With the cold weather upon us, flu season is here! Everyone should get a seasonal flu vaccine, it is not only important to help prevent yourself from getting the flu, but others, too! Each year public health officals and health care providers encourage people to get a shot. The seasonal flu vaccine is different every year because the formula is updated based on what strains are most likely to cause illness the following season.

People eligible to receive seasonal flu shots:

  • Children 6 months to 18 years
  • Adults over age 50
  • People living in a long-term care facility
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People with frequent exposure to general public
  • Pregnant women
  • People living with chronic medical condition

There are many options as to where to get a flu shot, you just need to figure out where is the best place for you. Your doctor’s office should offer them, but several other places can be utilized if need be. These include pharmacies, walk-in clinics, hospitals, and local health departments. Use the Flu Clinic Locator to find a place near you.

Nearly everyone should receive the seasonal flu vaccine. Though the shot does not prevent the flu completely, people vaccinated have significantly milder symptoms and are less likely to be hospitalized from serious complications as a result of the virus.

If you are interested in learning more about flu shots, Davenport Surgical Group is here to help. Learn more by visiting our website or calling us at 563-823-9300.

November-A Guide to Gastric Cancer

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious is normal if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with gastric cancer, otherwise known as stomach cancer. Being able to gain a better understanding of the cancer will help with accepting what lies ahead. Seeing how far the cancer has spread, downsides of a treatment, and what your chance of recovery are all topics that you should know throughly. Often, a doctor will tell you the five-year survival rate for stomach cancer, meaning the amount of people that live after five or more years, is around 30 percent.

The stages of stomach cancer are based on the how far the cancer tumor has spread in the stomach. There are multiple stages of stomach cancer and each stage has multiple components.

Stage 1- Depending on where the cancer has spread determines whether it is stage 1A or 1B.
Stage 2- When the stomach cancer has spread through the stomach wall and can be found in several lymph nodes.
Stage 3- Depending on where the cancer has spread determines if it is in stage 3A or 3B.
Stage 4- Cancer recieves this classification when it spread to other parts of the body.

These numbers can seem imposing, but these stats are meant to guide you and prepare you for what to expect. Everyone’s diagnosis is different, so understand that there is hope! It is possible to live longer than five years and even be cured. Here at Davenport Surgical Group we want to give you all of the pertinent information, so you can make an informed decision in your journey.

If you are interested in learning more about our gastric cancer services or getting more information, Davenport Surgical Group is here to help. Your doctor can help you decide which surgery best fits your needs. Learn more by clicking into our cancer surgery tab on our website.

Types of Breast Surgeries

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Davenport Surgical Group offers several different options pertaining to breast surgeries. Breast cancer surgery is a key component of treatment that involves removing the cancer through an operation. The operation best suited for you depends upon the size and stage of your cancer, but these surgeries can include biopsy, lymph node, mastectomy, or lumpectomy.


Biopsy is one of the main ways a doctor can diagnose whether you have cancer. The doctor removes a small tissue sample to examine. Though other tests can suggest cancer is present, only a biopsy can make a diagnosis. Biopsy is an umbrella term, as there are many other types of biopsies available.

Lymph Nodes

This surgery often happens during a biopsy when several lymph nodes are removed and tested for cancer. If cancer is undetected, no extra nodes need to be removed. If cancer is found, extra lymph nodes are removed, and radiation therapy may be an option.


Also referred to as breast-conserving surgery, or partial mastectomy. Lumpectomy surgery removes only a portion of the breast tissue. A lumpectomy is done to remove the portion of the affected breast tissue. A lumpectomy helps confirm a diagnosis of cancer or rules it out entirely. Often this is the first step for women in the early stages of breast cancer. It is then followed by radiation therapy, to reduce the possibility of cancer reemerging.


Unlike Lumpectomy, a Mastectomy removes the entire breast or breasts to prevent the spread of cancer. This surgery can also be used to remove all the breast tissue if you are at a high risk of developing breast cancer. With new techniques doctors are now able to preserve more breast skin for more realistic breast appearance following the surgery.

If you are interested in learning more about breast surgery, Davenport Surgical Group is here to help. Your doctor will help you decide which breast surgery best fits your needs. Learn more by clicking into our surgical servicestab above.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer has affected countless individuals and families. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month which is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the debilitating disease. People often hear the words breast cancer and it scares them. But what exactly is breast cancer?

  • Although cancer is an umbrella term for all different kinds, breast cancer specifically targets the cells of the breast as a group of cancer cells invade the tissue resulting in it spreading throughout the body.
  • Breast cancer occurs when tumors start to develop in the breast. These tumors are caused when cell growth is irregular, meaning new cells are growing when not needed, and old cells are not dying as they should.
  • Once the tumor develops, the cells break away and begin entering other parts of your body through blood vessels. These cancer cells then begin to damage other parts of your body through a process called metastasis.

With Breast Cancer so prevalent in people’s lives, many myths surround it. Many of these myths have been dispelled over the years. Here are a few of those myths that do not increase your risk of breast cancer, but people often associate with developing breast cancer.

  • Drinking milk
  • Finding a lump in your breast
  • Men do not get breast cancer
  • Using antiperspirants and deodorant

Breast Cancer Awareness month is intended to inspire hope and raise awareness! The goal is to help with early detection, education, and other support services. People wear pink to support those with Breast Cancer over the month of October, so we invite you to join us in wearing pink this month!

Our Board-Certified Surgeons currently provide The Kenneth H McKay, M.D. Center for Breast Health, utilizing state-of-the-art imaging equipment and techniques to detect early signs of breast cancer. The Kenneth H McKay, M.D. Center for Breast Health is located in MOB I, Suite 210, one floor below Davenport Surgical Group.

Learn more about our general surgical services here or at 563-823-9300 to make an appointment.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

The struggle to lose weight is a familiar battle for many of Americans. According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers, only one in every six Americans who have previously been overweight or obese, loses weight and maintains that loss. Permanent weight loss can be diffiuclt for a variety of reasons; genetics, your environment and your financial situation all play a role. The constant cycle of weight loss and gain is not healthy for your body. If this sounds like you, it may be time to consider bariatric surgery.

Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is used for a variety of reasons. People with type two diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease are the people who can benefit the most from bariatric surgery. These various surgeries have been around for years and have shown proven, long-lasting weight loss results and overall health improvements.

Roux-en-Y Gastic Bypass

This is the most common method of gastric bypass and in most cases, is nonreversible. The surgery inserts a small pouch into your intestines allowing a person to only consume an ounce of food at a time. The average stomach can hold about three pints of food comfortably. Most food will pass through directly to the middle of your small intestine and not enter your stomach. This option is good for people looking for better portion control and people looking to absorb less calories.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

This procedure is most commonly used in type two diabetics and obese patients. The patient's stomach is about 75% removed causing the ghrelin, the "hungry hormone", to decrease. The recovery is relevantly quick, and results show most patients lose about 50% off their extra weight in three years.

If you are interested in learning more about bariatric surgery, Davenport Surgical group is here to help. Dr. Christophersen, Dr. Phelps and Dr. Aanestad of Davenport Surgical Group provide services at the Genesis Center for Weight Management, located in MOB II Suite 101. This program provides obese patients in the bi-state region comprehensive care through a multi- disciplinary clinic. Dr. Christophersen is the Medical Director.

Your doctor will help you decide which bariatric surgery best fits your needs. Learn more by clicking into our surgical services tab above.

Gallbladder Pain, Chris U.'s Surgery Story with Davenport Surgical Group

It all started with a little discomfort in her upper abdomen. Then came the nausea and the constant pain. Chris knew she had to go in and see her doctor. After testing, she found out she had an issue with her gallbladder.

"My doctor told me that my gallbladder wasn't functioning, and I would need to have surgery immediately. I was recommended to Dr. Aanestad from the Davenport Surgical Group. I had previously known about DSG because I was a patient with the Center for Breast Health. I got an appointment right away, and my surgery was scheduled for about a week after my initial visit with Dr. Aanestad.

Dr. Aanstad is such a compassionate and caring doctor. He helped me feel less nervous about going in for surgery. He was very caring and concerned for me. I'm sure he is like that with all his patients. He takes time to explain everything, so you can understand exactly how your surgery will go. He is a very personable man. My doctor and the nursing staff made my surgery experience much more relaxing. They take time to make a patient feel calm and less worried.

After surgery, Dr. Aanestad stopped by and checked in on me in the recovery room. He said I did well and everything went great. It made me feel good that he cared enough to stop in and let me know, in person, that everything went as planned. I no longer have pain or discomfort around my gallbladder area. If I ever need surgery again, I'd go with DSG. I would recommend them to my family and friends for the same type of procedures I have used them for. It was a very positive experience due to the compassion and caring of Dr. Aanstad, the nurses, and the staff at DSG."

If you, like Chris, are experiencing unexpected pain around your abdomen, know that the team at Davenport Surgical Group can help you.

Our Board-Certified Surgeons at Davenport Surgical Group are provided the latest and best technology for your surgery needs. We provide care for your gastrointestinal system (stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, appendix and rectum), hernia repairs, skin and soft tissue removal to complex endocrine system (thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, and adrenal) cases. We also serve pediatric patients and have a full range of care for the adult patients. Learn more about our surgical services on our website or contact us at 563-823-9300 to make an appointment.

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Raise your hand if you've ever self-diagnosed something after reading an article online. The good news is, you're not alone. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, 93 million Americans have used the internet to search for a health-related topic. The next time you get the urge to Google your symptoms, we hope you'll remember why the internet shouldn't be your most valued reference.

Reason No. 1 - It's not a doctor

Websites like WebMD are there to educate you about certain ailments, but too often it's being used to self-diagnose. While 'MD' is part of its name, websites lack the human aspect of a patient-doctor visit. You have a primary care doctor who knows your medical history, medications and all necessary information which aids them in properly assessing your healthcare needs. A website can't do that.

Reason No. 2 - The internet can be a scary place.

You shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet. While there are plenty of credible resources online, it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, which can lead you down a dangerous path - especially when it comes to your health. There are plenty of sites that aren't regulated and invite collaborations from anyone with a keyboard and a pulse. In fact, researchers scoured Wikipedia articles that discussed some of the most costly medical conditions in the U.S. and found that nine out of 10 contained information that was inconsistent with the latest research.

Reason No. 3 - It can hurt more than it can help.

When websites provide us with inaccurate information and because it's difficult to know which sources are reliable, it can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Not only are you stressing about your potential diagnosis, but you'll also begin to stress about any upcoming appointments with your primary care doctor. Save yourself the sleep and worry by making an appointment the moment your symptoms arise. Second opinions are always available, too!

The Board-Certified physicians at Davenport Surgical Group specialize in general, breast, bariatric, cancer, and trauma surgery and are committed to providing patients with high quality care.

Learn more about our general surgical services on our website or contact us at 563-823-9300 to make an appointment.

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It was just another routine doctor visit for Michele, until her bloodwork revealed elevated liver enzymes. Her family doctor took Michele in for a liver ultrasound which is where they discovered Michele’s gallbladder was full of stones. As a nurse, Michele knew that the Davenport Surgical Group was the best place to get her gallbladder surgery, so she requested a referral to Dr. Hartman.

I knew Dr. Hartman from a nurse-doctor relationship but I had never been his patient before. He’s very confident and explains things very well to his patients and I just knew he was someone that I would feel safe and comfortable with.

I scheduled an appointment and he wanted to get me in for surgery the following day, but I was hesitant because of an upcoming trip. So, against his recommendation, I decided that it could wait and scheduled an elective surgery for after my vacation, because I hadn’t been in any pain.

Up until this point I hadn’t had any symptoms whatsoever and the stones were found with routine lab work. Then, when I went home that evening after meeting with Dr. Hartman, I woke up in the middle of the night with a gallbladder attack. The next morning I called the office and he was able to put me on the surgery schedule for that same day, which was wonderful. It was awesome to be able to have such a quick response. It helped manage my anxiety about my upcoming trip and it made the pain a little more manageable that day knowing that it was going to be taken care of.

Unfortunately, because my gallbladder was so packed-full of stones, Dr. Hartman discovered that my gallbladder was also infected during surgery so I had to spend the night in the hospital, which wasn’t part of my original plan, or his. He did a great job of explaining all of that to me and to my family while I was in the hospital. While I was in the hospital, I not only saw Dr. Hartman, but his nurses rounded that same day and the next morning as well. It was nice to experience a team approach and everyone on staff made sure that all of my needs and concerns were taken care of.

The Davenport Surgical Group provides excellent care and set clear expectations for what I could anticipate for my surgery and recovery period. It’s a professional office, from the front staff, to the nurses to Dr. Hartman, and it was as wonderful of an experience as an unexpected surgery can be! I felt very safe and I would highly recommend Dr. Hartman and the Davenport Surgical Group to family and friends without hesitation.

They’re a wonderful group of physicians and we’re very lucky to have them here in the community.

If you, like Michele, are in need of scheduled or emergency surgical services, the team at Davenport Surgical Group is here to help you.

Our Board-Certified physicians specialize in general, breast, bariatric, cancer, and trauma surgery and are committed to providing patients with high quality care.

Learn more about our general surgical services on our website or contact us at 563-823-9300 to make an appointment.

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Signs You May Have a Hernia

Hernias can be difficult to diagnose at-home because in some cases, patients don’t have any, or show minimal, symptoms and other times, patients can become violently ill. If you are unsure of whether or not you’re dealing with a hernia, below are some common signs that you need to seek medical care.

Bump in your abdomen?
This is the most common symptom of a hernia. The first thing most people notice is an uncomfortable, visible bulge around their stomach or pelvis. The bump itself could be causing you pain and your stomach/pelvis may also be tender to the touch.

Pain during bending or lifting heavy objects?
No, you’re not just trying to get out of the housework! Experiencing discomfort or pain in your abdomen when you lift, bend over, or even cough, could indicate that you have a hernia. Continuing these motions will irritate the hernia and can increase the “bump” over time.

No appetite?
If you’re constantly feeling like you’re full, but find yourself consuming less than usual, this could be an indication that you have a hernia.

While certain foods can trigger heartburn, you may have a hiatal hernia if the burning sensation just won’t subside and can be accompanied by chest pain.

Fever and/or vomiting?
A fever should always be treated with medical care, but a combination of fever, vomiting and stomach pain, may be a result of something more than the flu.

The Board-Certified Surgeons at Davenport Surgical Group specialize in general surgery and combine skill and experience to provide our patients with high quality, compassionate treatment. Learn more about our general surgical services on our website or contact us at 563-823-9300 to make an appointment.

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Kathryn's Breast Cancer Journey at Davenport Surgical Group

Kathryn McKnight is a wife, mother, sister, professor, and most importantly - a breast cancer survivor. Upon finding out the startling results of her annual mammogram, Kathryn booked an appointment with K. John Hartman, MD, FACS at Davenport Surgical Group. Although Dr. Hartman was her surgeon, she was immediately taken under the wing of the entire team.

“I’ve never liked April Fool’s Day. Silly tricks are rarely funny and sometimes mean. But, April 1, 2013 was the worst ever. My radiologist called that morning to tell me the results of my annual mammogram. Positive. I was shocked. For a moment, I actually wondered if this was the worst April Fool’s Day gag ever!

Once I collected my thoughts, I knew I had to act. But, do what? My first instinct was to hop on a plane for MD Anderson or jump in the car and drive to Iowa City. But, then I took a breath. I was aware of the Genesis Center for Breast Health and its comprehensive treatment program. That approach appealed to me and getting my care close to home was important. After all, life doesn’t stop at diagnosis (it just seems that way.) I was still a wife, mother, sister and professor with people depending on me.

So, I made my appointment. From the start, I felt good about my decision. Although Dr. Hartman was my surgeon, I felt as though I was in the care of the entire DSG team. Dr. Hartman’s partners were involved, and the staff were so kind and accommodating. Dr. Hartman did a wonderful job and I’m convinced his surgical skills saved my life.

It was a seamless transition to post-surgical radiation and infusion therapy. And, care coordination was outstanding. When I think back on that time now I don’t really remember the inconvenience and unpleasant side-effects of the treatment. I only recall the kindness and professionalism. Even when I developed lymphedema, my DSG team worked with me to identify an innovative surgical procedure that has proven successful beyond my expectations.

I have been cancer-free now for more than five years. I got my life back. Thank you, Davenport Surgical Group! And, on April 1, 2018, my family and friends surprised me with a celebration of my recovery. It was a great party. I suppose April Fool’s Day is not so bad after all!”

If you, like Kathryn, recently received starling results from your annual mammogram, know that the team at Davenport Surgical Group is here for you.

Our Board-Certified Surgeons currently provide breast cancer surgery services at The Kenneth H McKay, M.D. Center for Breast Health, utilizing state-of-the-art imaging equipment and techniques to detect early signs of breast cancer. The Kenneth H McKay, M.D. Center for Breast Health is located in MOB I, Suite 210, one floor below Davenport Surgical Group.

Learn more about our general surgical services on our website or contact us at 563-823-9300 to make an appointment.

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