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Davenport Surgical Group and the Opioid Crisis

Opioids are the go-to choice for treating surgical patients' pain, but with the recent uptick of addiction it's becoming more important than ever that medical professionals improve the knowledge and management of pain in surgical patients with a focus on opioid risk and non-opioid alternatives.

We sat down with Joseph L. Lohmuller, MD, FACS, of Davenport Surgical Group to hear his thoughts on the opioid crisis and how his team works to prescribe responsibly, while also making sure patients don't suffer.

"At Davenport Surgical Group, we are very tuned in to the balance of prescribing as responsibly as possibly. We always look at the safety of the medication to make sure the patient doesn't suffer and has relief of the pain both short and long term," says Joseph L. Lohmuller, MD, FACS. "Resources like the Iowa Prescription Monitoring Program allow us to have a strong working knowledge of the other medications our patients are receiving so we can take the appropriate steps to make sure our patients are as safe as possible. Additionally, we have extremely tight controls of opioids at our surgery center. Not only are they only prescribed during daylight hours, but by the primary surgeon who has the highest level of knowledge of the patient's care."

Changing protocols and practices, which have been widely accepted for decades, is not an easy task, but one the Davenport Surgical Group Board Certified General Surgeons have taken to heart.

"This has absolutely changed prescribing patterns. As members of the American College of Surgeons, our team of Board Certified General Surgeons has been able to look at prescribing patterns across the board, giving us a standard level of prescription drugs," says Joseph L. Lohmuller, MD, FACS. "If we have a patient who is already chronically on opioids and they have a condition we need to operate on, we take time to explain and make them aware that pain management may be difficult. It's all about educating our patients and truly being their advocate"

To learn more about the Board Certified General Surgeons at Davenport Surgical Group click here, or contact us here to learn how we combine skill and experience to provide compassionate treatment for all patients.

Dr. Phelps: Davenport Surgical Group Education Program

At Davenport Surgical Group, we are incredibly proud to offer an education program to give residents and students one-on-one mentorship opportunities with our skilled Board Certified General Surgeons.

Each of our six Board Certified General Surgeons works with a student in residency between three and four times a year and these students and residents come from all over the area including Des Moines University, Iowa City, St. Ambrose and more.

"We are incredibly lucky to give these residents and students the one-on-one attention and guidance that is so critical during this time in their medical career," says Dr. Michael A. Phelps, MD, FACS . "Sometimes we see those residents and students come through Davenport Surgical Group knowing exactly what area they want to practice, and after a great experience with one of our Board Certified General Surgeons they end up changing their mind."

This past November, Dr. Phelps and Family Practice Resident, Dr. Fraehlich, worked side-by-side completing surgical rotations at Davenport Surgical Group.

"Working side-by-side with our students and residents is a true honor. When we were students in residence we relied on mentors, so it is a great opportunity for us to return that and keep it going. It’s a great way to keep all generations as current as possible," says Dr. Phelps

To learn more about the Board Certified General Surgeons at Davenport Surgical Group click here, or contact us here for more information on our education program.

Dr. David Aanestad: Seeking Breast Cancer Treatment Within Your Community

When you think of October, what do you think of? Perhaps, colors of autumn like rust and burnt orange? These seem like common thoughts, but for our team at Davenport Surgical Group, when we think of October, we think pink. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In 2019 it's estimated that there will be 286,600 cases of invasive breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen®.

Davenport Surgical Group serves as a leader in breast health and cancer treatment for the Quad Cities area. Dr. David Aanestad, MD, FACS, is the medical director at the Kenneth H. McKay, M.D. Center for Breast Health. Dr. Aanestad, MD, FACS, has been in practice for 16 years and is the fourth DSG surgeon to provide leadership for the center since Dr. Kenneth McKay in 1994.

The center that's placed in the heart of Davenport is reputable for its cutting-edge technology and surgeons that have a wealth of clinical experience.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that once you have been diagnosed, you have to leave the community and go to a university to receive treatment, and that's not true; we're thankful to have state-of-the-art-technology and experienced professionals that can provide award winning treatment for our patients right in their backyard," says Dr. Aanestad, MD, FACS.

Each year, Dr. Aanestad, MD, FACS, consults on between 40 to 80 breast cancer patients that he performs surgery on at Genesis Medical Center. He says, "we use a multi-disciplinary approach, collaborating with radiology, plastics, genetics, and nursing staff. It's a team effort, but having all hands on deck allows us to provide the best care possible."

During the month of October, as we remember those affected by breast cancer, make sure to get checked. Screening tests are used to find breast cancer before it displays any signs or symptoms.

"Screening allows us to find disease at an early stage and with early detection breast cancer is almost always cured. Knowledge is power and we have an ever-expanding opportunity to know our human destiny through genetic counseling to make good decisions for our health" concludes Dr. Aanestead, MD, FACS.

Davenport Surgical Group provides localized cancer treatment to our community. For more information regarding the Kenneth H. McKay M.D. Center for Breast Health, click here.

Davenport Surgical Group Offers Free Walk-In Clinic To Quad Cities

Each year more than 750,000 hernia repairs are performed in the United States, making it one of the most common general surgical procedures. Nonetheless, thousands of people struggle every day with the discomfort, inconvenience and limitations caused by a hernia, according to Davenport Surgical Group surgeon Dr. Joe Lohmuller.

"Anywhere from five to ten percent of the population will experience a hernia. But, surprisingly few will seek help before the pain becomes intolerable and requires emergency treatment," says Dr. Lohmuller.

The word "hernia" is Latin and means "protrusion." The most common is the inguinal hernia. It produces a bulge of bowel or fatty tissue through the abdominal wall in the groin. Inguinal hernias account for about 75% of all cases. And, due to male fetal development, men are 25 times more likely to develop an inguinal hernia than are women. Somewhat less common, umbilical hernias occur when the ring of tissue around the umbilical cord fails to fully seal after the cord is cut. Other types of hernias can occur due to injury, previous surgery or simple "wear and tear" over time.

According to Dr. Lohmuller, many umbilical or "belly button" hernias diagnosed among infants simply "go away" by the age of five or six. But, with this exception, most hernias only enlarge with time because pressure in a body cavity tends to increase the protrusion through the opening.

"Generally, a surgical repair is only a matter of time for most hernia patients. The only question is how much pain and inconvenience patients are willing to endure before getting the help they need," says Dr. Lohmuller.

Symptoms, such as a visible bulge, pain, tenderness or nausea, suggest a hernia and should prompt a visit to a primary care provider or a general surgeon for diagnosis. Hernias that are easy to reduce, that is push back into the abdomen, are not always surgical emergencies. But, all hernias have the potential to become serious. A conversation with a general surgeon will determine if a surgical repair can be performed as an elective procedure and scheduled accordingly. Otherwise, there's a growing risk that the hernia could become irreducible or strangulated and then require emergency care.

"In some cases, we find people aren't certain if they have a hernia," says Dr. Lohmuller. "So, we're offering an opportunity for people to be evaluated by one of our Davenport Surgical Group general surgeons."

This free, walk-in clinic will be held on Saturday, June 29, from 9:00 a.m. - 12: 00 p.m. at the Davenport Surgical Group office, located at 1228 East Rusholme Street in Davenport. No appointment is necessary and convenient, free parking is available in the ramp located just east of the medical office building.

In conclusion, Dr. Lohmuller says, "We don't want anyone to put their health at risk or suffer needlessly because they don't want to incur the expense of a doctor's visit or take time away from work. By offering this no-cost clinic on a Saturday, we hope people will get the screening they need before they find themselves in pain and seeking emergency assistance."

May - National Melanoma Month At Davenport Surgical Group

Did you know? The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that nearly 200,000 Americans will be diagnosed in 2019 with melanoma. 

Often triggered by over-exposure to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation, such as tanning beds; melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It occurs when skin cells mutate and multiply rapidly forming cancerous tumors. These melanomas are usually black or brown. But, they also can be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white.  If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable. So, monthly self-examination as well as routine screening by a dermatologist or primary care provider are recommended strongly, according to DSG’s Dr. Joe Lohmuller. 

Surgery is the main treatment option for most melanomas. A skin biopsy is a relatively minor procedure done under local anesthesia and is often used to diagnose and cure most thin melanomas. The removed tissue is then viewed with a microscope to make sure that no cancer cells were left behind.

“If there has been a previous diagnosis,” Dr. Lohmuller explained, “we might recommend a ‘wide excision’ to remove a larger and deeper amount of tissue depending on the thickness of the melanoma. Of course, this can be somewhat more uncomfortable for the patient. But, it is very effective in stopping the spread and curing the disease.”

Dr. Lohmuller continued, “Like other cancers, skin cancer is categorized by ‘stages’ of severity. In the case of melanoma, the most severe is ‘Stage IV’ because it has metastasized or spread to other regions or organs in the body, such as the lungs, liver, brain, bone or lymph nodes. When metastatic melanoma is suspected we might recommend a lymph node dissection to determine the extent of the spread of the disease. In this procedure, the surgeon removes all the clearly affected lymph nodes near the primary melanoma. This is the region where the cancer cells would most likely travel first. And, if the surgeon finds unaffected lymph nodes, a so-called “sentinel” lymph node biopsy may be done to determine the disease progression.”

According to Dr. Lohmuller, if melanoma has metastasized from the skin to other organs, the cancer is unlikely to be curable by surgery. “Even when only one or two areas of so-called ‘spread’ are identified by CT or MRI imaging scans, there are likely other areas too small to detect,” he noted. Surgery is sometimes recommended under these circumstances as well. But generally, the goal is not to cure the disease, but to slow progression; prolong life; and, improve the quality of time.

“All of this underscores the critical importance of early diagnosis and treatment. For that reason, I urge all my patients to learn the ‘A-B-C-D-E’” warning signs: Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter and Evolving,” Dr. Lohmuller said. 

“DSG surgeons work closely with family practice providers and specialists, including dermatologists, internists, plastic surgeons and oncologists to ensure state-of-the-art, comprehensive melanoma care close to home,” Dr. Lohmuller concluded. “But, our first goal is to keep our patients well. We remind them regularly to avoid over-exposure to UV light. And, we urge them to report any suspicious growth, even in areas not usually exposed to sunlight. We also want to keep in mind that genetics play a big role. So, know your family medical history or choose your parents wisely.”

A graduate of the Indiana University Medical School, Dr. Lohmuller joined Davenport Surgical Group in 1991 after completing his surgical residency at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota. Since his arrival in the Quad Cities, Dr. Lohmuller has worked tirelessly to improve the overall quality of health care in the Quad Cities region. He is the former president of the Genesis Medical Center, Davenport medical staff and was named the health care system’s first chief medical officer in 2012. 

Certified by the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Lohmuller specializes in general and general robotic surgery with an emphasis on breast, endocrine and gastrointestinal procedures. Today, Dr. Lohmuller continues to help ensure world-class care for the community by his service on the Board of Directors of the MEDIC Emergency Medical Service (ambulance transport), MedForce Emergency Medical Service (helicopter transport), and Kahl Home. 

April - Davenport Surgical Group Specializing in Hernia Surgery

According to Cleveland Clinic researchers, more than 5,000,000 Americans suffer daily from an abdominal hernia. Yet, fewer than one in eight people seek medical treatment to relieve the pain and end the inconvenience.

The cause of a hernia is not always easily explained. Common causes include a significant strain, weakness in the abdominal wall or sometimes both. But, irrespective of cause, effective treatment options are available here in the Quad Cities, as we learned from Davenport Surgical Group Surgeon, John Hartman, M.D.

For many, the most effective and practical treatment for a hernia is surgical repair. "While any surgery involves some risk, hernia repair is generally quite safe," Dr. Hartman says. "Nonetheless, the first step in the treatment process is a candid conversation with your doctor and a thorough review of your medical history." Dr. Hartman encourages his patients to be as forthcoming as possible about their current condition, medical history and any questions or concerns they have.

"Don't be shy," Dr. Hartman says. "For instance, some patients dismiss the pain and minimize the bother of a hernia because they've lived with this condition for so long. But, there's no need to suffer at all. Other patients are reluctant to admit their fears about surgery. And, we can help with that, too. So, I encourage open discussion in order to find the treatment plan that best suits my patients as individuals."

Dr. Hartman further explains, "I've been with DSG for more than ten years and performed over 100 hernia procedures each year. In all that time, I've learned that my patients want to understand the choices as well as the benefits and risks of each. For example, an 'open' procedure can be scheduled almost immediately to relieve the acute pain of a hernia. But, this more invasive procedure may require a slower recovery as well as temporary incision site pain and perhaps scarring. Robotic-assisted surgery can reduce these risks but will likely take a few days longer to schedule. So, for me, it’s all about patient preference."

When asked about the possibility of a re-occurrence of the hernia following surgery, Dr. Hartman said, "It happens from time-to-time. But there's a lot the patient can do to minimize the risk of recurrence. First, allow enough time to fully heal by strictly following all post-surgical instructions. For example, patients should avoid lifting more than 10 lbs. for six - eight weeks following surgery. Also, smoking and obesity can dramatically increase the risk of re-developing hernia."

We also learned from Dr. Hartman that surgical hernia repair may not be the best option for everyone. Dr. Hartman notes, "For some, age, medical history and other factors create too great of a surgical risk. Fortunately, there are non-surgical approaches, such as abdominal binders."

For this reason, Dr. Hartman encourages anybody with a hernia to seek medical treatment, sooner rather than later. "The biggest risk of all may come from doing nothing," Dr. Hartman adds. "If left untreated, the hernia can become "strangulated" and require even more aggressive, emergency treatment."

A graduate of the University of Iowa College of Medicine, Dr. Hartman completed his surgical residency training at the Gunderson Lutheran Medical Foundation. In addition to his practice at DSG, Dr. Hartman is also the Iowa State Chair of the "Stop The Bleed" campaign. This organization was established in the aftermath of the 2012 school shooting tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The mission of "Stop the Bleed" is to train, equip and empower bystanders to an emergency to assist the wounded while waiting for professional emergency medical services. To learn more, visit the "Stop The Bleed" website:

To learn more about hernia treatment or other services provided by Davenport Surgical Group and its physicians; visit: If you require other assistance or wish to make an appointment, please call 563/823-9300.

March - Robotic Surgery

Our surgeons have incorporated robotic surgery into their repertoire, utilizing technology into their practice. The daVinci Surgical System brings a minimally invasive option to DSG, which allows the surgeons to operate through small incisions. Featuring a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand. The da Vinci system enables your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control.

The da Vinci Surgery is used for a multitude of surgeries including: cardiac, colorectal, general, gynecologic, head and neck, thoracic and urologic. Surgeries involving the da Vinci System can include the same risks and health complications that come with any surgery. The risks are the same as conventional surgery, with a small risk of infection or other complications. Robotic surgery is focused on precision, and allows the surgeon unprecedented control in a minimal environment. This advanced technology allows for a number of surgical procedures to be done and patients are experiencing a number of benefits compared to open surgery including:

  • Precision
  • Flexibility
  • Control
  • Fewer complications, infections
  • Less pain and blood loss
  • Quicker Recovery
  • Smaller, less noticeable scars

With this advanced technology, doctors are performing operations with more precision and less recovery time for patients. It allows for there to be less human error in your surgery and allows for small scarring as opposed to major scarring after a major surgery. Always consult your doctor about deciding if robotic surgery is right for you and your treament options. Robotic surgery and technology is continuing to advance, giving surgeons the tools to make surgery precise and allows patients less time to recover.

The Davenport Surgical Group Board Certified General Surgeons bring a high level of expertise and training to the practice of surgery. We are committed to providing high quality care in a compassionate manner in order to return patients to a state of optimal health. Contact DSG at 563-823-9300 or visit our website for more information.

March - Dr. Robert Harson Interview, Robotic Surgery

Dr. Robert Harson joined Davenport Surgical Group in 2009. And, over the past decade he has helped countless patients improve their health and quality of life with a rare combination of compassion, skill and innovation. A graduate of the University of Iowa School of Medicine, Dr. Harson completed his general surgery residency training at Rush University Medical and University of Illinois in Chicago. There, he worked closely with physician pioneers in robotic-assisted surgery and saw, first-hand, how these state-of-the-art techniques reduce pain; minimize scaring; speed recovery; and, restore patients to normal activity.

Today, Dr. Harson is board-certified by the American Surgery Board and widely regarded as an "early adopter" of advanced surgical practices. And, he is highly respected for his minimally invasive surgical procedure skills using the da Vinci robotic system. We spoke with Dr. Harson about robotic-assisted surgery and how it has affected his patients and his practice. He also spoke on the future of surgical technology and how it will impact patient care in the coming years.

Dr. Harson states: "It's all about the patient. Traditional, 'open' procedures require large incisions that are more uncomfortable and may require pain magaement. Moreover , these incisions take longer to heal; expose patients to post-operative complications; and, often require a lengthy and expensive hospital stay. My goal is to return my patients as quickly as possible to the activities and the people they love."

According to Dr. Harson, robotic systems ampilfy the surgeon's skill. "Working with the da Vinci provides me with a three-dimentional view of the surgical site, with more clarity and depth than I would have otherwise. The robot also gives me greater control of my instruments. This precision means less chance of unncessary damage to adjacent healthy tissue. And, knowing that the patient is more comfortable allows me to focus less on pain and more on procedure."

Having recently attended an innovators summit program, Dr. Harson is optimistic about the future of patient care through advanced surgical technology. "I'm very proud of the technology we employ here at DSG. For example, we now use "smart" staplers to perform bowel surgery. The instrument itself evaluates the thickness of the tissue to be stapled together and won't allow the surgeon to staple in any area that is inappropriate." Nonetheless, advanced technology will never overcome the need for compassion and care. Dr. Harson offers both: high-tech and high-touch.

Dr. Harson has gone on two overseas medical mission trip with Community Health Inititive. Founded in 2012, CHI provides medical and surgical care to patients in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. "After these visits, I feel 'connected' to the Haitian people and the hospital staff where I work," Dr. Harson said. Kindness and care are simply part of Dr. Harson's DNA and not reserved to just a few. Consider the following on-line comment posted by a patient: Dr. Harson "always had time to explain-and answer my questions. (He) never just 'stood over me' in the hospital, but instead pulled up a chair and talked to me." Capable and committed, that's Dr Rob Harson.

For more information regarding the da Vinci surgery system, please visit their website to learn more. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Harson or Davenport Surgical Group, visit our website!

February - Interview Dr. Christopherson, Center for Weight Management

Dr.Matthew C. Christophersen was an inagural part of the implementation of the Genesis Center for Weight Management. The Center for Weight Management is used to implement weight-loss, education and offers several options regarding surgical and non-surgical opportunities. He was instrumental in the planning stages of the Genesis Center for Weight Management, also known as CWM. Since 2003, Dr.Christophersen and the CWM team have helped obese patients with their weight loss needs utilizing a multidsiciplianry approach to their health. We recently spoke with Dr. Christophersen about the Center for Weight Management,

When asked about the initial start-up and planning stages of the center, Christophersen said, "The clinic was established because many obese patients were having to travel to cities much farther away including Chicago and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Patients needed a center that would adhere to current standards which is why the center opened. We are the Quad Cities' only accredited program through the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accredidation and Quality Improvement Program."

He went on to mention that his first patient from 15 years ago had their check-up recently. The Center is required to meet a number of rigerous requirements. People continually come to the Center because, "with the amount of patients we help every year they continue to get healthier and fitter, whether they choose a surgical or non-surgical method of weight-loss. Our experienced care team explains the benefits and risks of each option, to help you decide which best fits your needs", says Dr. Christophersen. Collaborating with Genesis has designated the Center for Weight Management as a top-performing center.

When asked about the Center for Weight Management and what people should know about it, Dr.Christophersen says, "it is a dedicated center for the treatment of weight problems and illnesses. The staff and surgeons focus on the problem, and we cover all facets including outpatient evaluation, insurance, dietician visits, pharmacist and clinical nurses."

For more information regarding the Center for Weight Management, please visit the CWM tab on the Genesis health website. If you are interested in learning more about Davenport Surgical Group, visit our website!

February - Center for Weight Management

The Center for Weight Management was launched in 2003 with Genesis and the Davenport Surgical Group. Working together, the Center offers a variety of services to accommodate patients struggling with obesity. These options include surgical and non-surgical options depending upon the patients specifics. Since it's inception the Center for Weight Management has transformed and extended the lives of more than 1,800 patients struggling with obesity.

Over the years, the Genesis Center for Weight Management has developed a national reputation for excellence and been designated as a top-performing center. We are the Quad Cities' only accredited program through the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. The Genesis Center for Weight Management offers two surigcal options and several non-surgical options.


  • Gastric Bypass- The most common form of weight-loss surgery, most often performed as a laparoscropic procedure.
  • Sleeve Gasterctomy- A restrictive weight loss surgery, often perfored through a minimally invasive approach.


  • Optifast- A program usually lasting 26 weeks, is a medically-supervised weight-management program which closely monitors and assesses progress towards better health and emotional well-being.
  • Naturally Slim- A not-a-diet weight loss program, that helps you lose weight and improve your health all while eating the food you love. The Naturally Slim program has the secret to lasting weight loss and doesn't include starving, counting calories or eating diet food.

The Center for Weight Management was implemented to help patients lose weight, gain a new healthier life with the help of our compassionate weight-loss support team and our proven track record of safe, nationally recognized care. We will assist you with the education, encouragement and assistance needed to achieve a long-term weight loss.

The Genesis Center for Weight Management is now offering you the chance on how to eat, reduce your chances of getting a serious disease like diabetes or heart disease, and increase your chance at living a longer, healthier life! For more information regarding the Center for Weight Mangement visit their site here, or contact the CWM at 563-421-8361 to make an appointment.

January - Understanding the Endocrine System

The Endocrine system is a complex and diverse set of glands. These glands produce and secrete hormones the body uses for a wide range of functions. These can control many different body functions including; respiration, metabolism, reproduction, sensory perception, movement, sexual development, and growth. A gland selects and removes materials from the blood, processes them and secretes the finished chemical product for use somewhere in the body. The endocrine system affects almost every organ and cell in the body.

Horomones are produced by glands and sent into the bloodstream to the various tissues in the body. Sending signals to the tissus tells them what they’re supposed to do. When the glands do not produce the right amount of horomones, diseases develop that can affect many aspects of life.

Factors that affect the Endocrine function:

Aging- Despite age related changes the endocrine system functions well in most older people. Some changes occur because of either damage to cells during the aging process or medical issues that the aging body accumulates due to genetically programmed cellular changes.

Diseases and Conditions- The liver and kidneys are the main organs that break down horomones, the ability of the body to break down horomones may be decrerased in people who have chronic heart, liver, or kidney disease.

Stress- The stress response is complex and can influence heart, kidney, liver, and endocrine system function. Many factors can start the stress response, but phyiscal stressors are most important. Things like; trauma, severe illness, intense heat/cold, surgical procedures, serious diseases, allergic reactions.

Environmental Factors- An environmental endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) is a substance outside of the body that may interfere with the normal function of the endocrine system. EDC’s can affect people in many ways: disrupted sexual development, decreased fertitlity, birth defects, reduced immune response, and neurological and behavioral changes.

Genetics- Your endocrine system can be affected by genes. These genes are contained in chromosomes which often can have extra, missing, or even damaged genes. Your genes can also put you at increased risk of certain diseases including types of cancer.

Davenport Surgical Group offers surgery for the Endocrine System including Thyroid, Parathyroid, Pancreas, and Adrenal. If you are interested in learning more about the Endocrine System 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.

January - Gallbladder Surgery: What to Expect

The purpose of the gallbladder is to aid in the digestion of food. Your gallbladder stores bile, which helps dissolve fat so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream to provide nutrients to the body. Food, particularly fatty foods, trigger the release of bile from your gallbladder. Gallbladder attacks, which can be very painful and typically happen when a gallstone prevents bile from moving out of the gallbladder. Normally surgery is scheduled in advance, but in cases of severe inflammation, surgery may be performed urgently after diagnosis.

Before surgery it is best to avoid fatty foods to help prevent any gallbladder attacks. Many sources indicate eggs should be avoided as well. If you have particular sensibilities to certain products such as dairy or gluten it is best to avoid the possibility of triggering gallbladder pain.

During your surgery, anestesia is administered via IV sedative to help you relax. Once the drug has put you out, a breathing tub is insterted and additional drugs are given to ensure sleep and treat pain. The most common practice used for gallbladder surgery is the laparoscopic approach, which uses a camera and small incisions to visualize the surgery. Though the surgeon may deem it necessary to convert the surgery to a different procedure if necessary. The surgeon makes several small incisions, and the gallbladder is separated from the healthy tissue and is allowed to pass through one of the small incisions. The surgeon then inspects where the gallbladder was removed from, closing the ducts that were connected to it. If everything appears correct, the small incisions are then stitched up and bandages are applied.

After surgery, the patient wakes up slowly and the breathing tube is then removed. They are then transported to another unit while the anestheisa drugs wear off. During your recovery you will be watched for signs of pain, changes in vitals, etc. If no complications are found, you can be transferred to a hosiptal room within an hour or two after surgery.

Many patients are allowed to go home within 24 four hours of surgery to contiunue recovering. Some patients are able to return to their daily activities in less than a week of a recovery time. A small percentage of patients need to eat low-fat, high fiber diet within the first few weeks after surgery to prevent more discomfort or frequent bowel movements. The small surgery incisions require minimal care and can be cleaned with water and soap in the shower.

Abdominal pain should not be ignored, and if you suspect it to be your gallbladder get it checked out. Gallbladder pain is typically associated after eating and is typically moderate to severe intensity. If you believe you are having gallbladder attacks, seek medical treatment to assess what needs to be done.

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, parathroid, 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 or contact us at 563-823-9300 to make an appointment.

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.

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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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