Procedures

Immunization Administration

Shots may hurt a little, but the diseases they can prevent are a lot worse. Some are even life-threatening. Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential. They protect against things like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Immunizations are important for adults as well as children.

Your immune system helps your body fight germs by producing substances to combat them. Once it does, the immune system "remembers" the germ and can fight it again. Vaccines contain germs that have been killed or weakened. When given to a healthy person, the vaccine triggers the immune system to respond and thus build immunity.

Before vaccines, people became immune only by actually getting a disease and surviving it. Immunizations are an easier and less risky way to become immune.

 

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Skin Biopsies

A biopsy is a procedure that removes cells or tissue from your body. A doctor called a pathologist looks at the cells or tissue under a microscope to check for damage or disease. The pathologist may also do other tests on it.

Biopsies can be done on all parts of the body. In most cases, a biopsy is the only test that can tell for sure if a suspicious area is cancer. But biopsies are performed for many other reasons too.

There are different types of biopsies. A needle biopsy removes tissue with a needle passed through your skin to the site of the problem. Other kinds of biopsies may require surgery.

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Nebulizer Treatment

Because you have asthma, COPD, or another lung disease, your doctor has prescribed medicine that you need to take using a nebulizer. A nebulizer is a small machine that turns liquid medicine into a mist. You sit with the machine and breathe in through a connected mouthpiece. Medicine goes into your lungs as you take slow, deep breaths for 10 to 15 minutes. It is easy and pleasant to breathe the medicine into your lungs this way. If you have asthma, you may not need to use a nebulizer. You may use an inhaler instead, which is usually just as effective. But a nebulizer can deliver medicine with less effort than an inhaler. You and your doctor can decide if a nebulizer is the best way to get the medicine you need. The choice of device may be based on whether you find a nebulizer easier to use and what type of medicine you take.

Most nebulizers are small, so they are easy to transport. Also, most nebulizers also work by using air compressors. A different kind, called an ultrasonic nebulizer, uses sound vibrations. This kind of nebulizer is quieter, but costs more.

Take the time to keep your nebulizer clean so that it continues to work properly. Use your nebulizer according to the manufacturer's instructions.

The basic steps to set up and use your nebulizer are as follows:

  1. Wash your hands well.

  2. Connect the hose to an air compressor.

  3. Fill the medicine cup with your prescription. To avoid spills, close the medicine cup tightly and always hold the mouthpiece straight up and down.

  4. Attach the hose and mouthpiece to the medicine cup.

  5. Place the mouthpiece in your mouth. Keep your lips firm around the mouthpiece so that all of the medicine goes into your lungs.

  6. Breathe through your mouth until all the medicine is used. This takes 10 to 15 minutes. If needed, use a nose clip so that you breathe only through your mouth. Small children usually do better if they wear a mask.

  7. Turn off the machine when done.

  8. Wash the medicine cup and mouthpiece with water and air dry until your next treatment.

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

IUD Insertion and Removal

An IUD is often inserted by your health care provider during your monthly period. Either type can be inserted quickly and easily in the provider's office or clinic. Before placing the IUD, the provider washes the cervix with an antiseptic solution. After this, the provider:

  • Slides a plastic tube containing the IUD through the vagina and into the uterus.

  • Pushes the IUD into the uterus with the help of a plunger.

  • Removes the tube, leaving two small strings that dangle outside the cervix within the vagina.

The strings have two purposes:

  • They let the provider or woman check that the IUD stays properly in position.

  • They are used to pull the IUD out of the uterus when it is time to remove it. This should only be done by a provider.

This procedure can cause discomfort and pain, but not all women have the same side effects. During insertion, you may feel:

  • Little pain and some discomfort

  • Cramping and pain

  • Dizzy or lightheaded

Some women have cramps and backaches for 1 to 2 days after insertion. Other may have cramps and backaches for weeks or months. Over-the-counter pain relievers can ease the discomfort.

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Incision and Drainage of Skin Abscess

An abscess is a pocket of pus. You can get an abscess almost anywhere in your body. When an area of your body becomes infected, your body's immune system tries to fight the infection. White blood cells go to the infected area, collect within the damaged tissue, and cause inflammation. During this process, pus forms. Pus is a mixture of living and dead white blood cells, germs, and dead tissue.

Bacteria, viruses, parasites and swallowed objects can all lead to abscesses. Skin abscesses are easy to detect. They are red, raised and painful. Abscesses inside your body may not be obvious and can damage organs, including the brain, lungs and others. Treatments include drainage and antibiotics.

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Suture & Suture Removal

Sutures, also known as stitches, are synthetic or animal gut-derived threads used to close a wound after a surgical procedure or injury. A variety of sutures exist that vary in size, strength, and durability. Stitches placed deep inside the wound always require the use of dissolvable (absorbable) sutures, whereas stitches visible on the skin (placed superficially) may use dissolvable or non-dissolving (non-absorbable) sutures.

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Wart Removal
Foreign Body Removals

Foreign body retrieval is the removal of objects or substances that have been introduced into the body. Objects may be inhaled into the airway, swallowed or lodged in the throat or stomach, or embedded in the soft tissues. About 80 percent of foreign body ingestions occur among children. Most foreign bodies pass through the gastrointestinal tract without complication, and endoscopic or surgical intervention is required only 10 to 20 percent of the time.

Evaluation and treatment will depend on the type of foreign body and how it was introduced. If it was swallowed, you may undergo a direct examination of your throat and esophagus or an x-ray examination. If it is lodged in a soft tissue, such as a splinter embedded under the skin, you may undergo an ultrasound, x-ray or CT scan to locate and remove the object. Tell your doctor if there’s a possibility you are pregnant and discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, medications you’re taking and allergies, especially to iodinated contrast materials. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown.

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Laceration & Injuries

An injury is damage to your body. It is a general term that refers to harm caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and more. In the U.S., millions of people injure themselves every year. These injuries range from minor to life-threatening. Injuries can happen at work or play, indoors or outdoors, driving a car, or walking across the street.

Wounds are injuries that break the skin or other body tissues. They include cuts, scrapes, scratches, and punctured skin. They often happen because of an accident, but surgery, sutures, and stitches also cause wounds. Minor wounds usually aren't serious, but it is important to clean them. Serious and infected wounds may require first aid followed by a visit to your doctor. You should also seek attention if the wound is deep, you cannot close it yourself, you cannot stop the bleeding or get the dirt out, or it does not heal.

Other common types of injuries include

  • Animal bites

  • Bruises

  • Burns

  • Dislocations

  • Electrical injuries

  • Fractures

  • Sprains and strains

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Warts are growths on your skin caused by an infection with humanpapilloma virus, or HPV. Types of warts include

  • Common warts, which often appear on your fingers

  • Plantar warts, which show up on the soles of your feet

  • Genital warts, which are a sexually transmitted disease

  • Flat warts, which appear in places you shave frequently

In children, warts often go away on their own. In adults, they tend to stay. If they hurt or bother you, or if they multiply, you can remove them. Chemical skin treatments usually work. If not, various freezing, surgical and laser treatments can remove warts.

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Skin Tag Removal

A cutaneous skin tag is a common skin growth. Most of the time, it is harmless.

Causes

A cutaneous tag usually occurs in older adults. They are more common in people who are overweight or who have diabetes. They are thought to occur from skin rubbing against skin.

Symptoms

The tag sticks out of the skin and may have a short, narrow stalk connecting it to the surface of the skin. Some skin tags are as long as a half an inch (1 centimeter). Most skin tags are the same color as skin, or a little darker.

In most cases, a skin tag is painless and does not grow or change. However, it may become irritated from rubbing by clothing or other materials.

Places where skin tags occur include:

  • Neck

  • Underarms

  • Middle of the body, or under folds of skin

  • Eyelids

  • Inner thighs

  • Other body areas

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Nail Removal

Your toenails and fingernails protect the tissues of your toes and fingers. They are made up of layers of a hardened protein called keratin, which is also in your hair and skin. The health of your nails can be a clue to your overall health. Healthy nails are usually smooth and consistent in color. Specific types of nail discoloration and changes in growth rate can be signs of lung, heart, kidney, and liver diseases, as well as diabetes and anemia. White spots and vertical ridges are harmless.

Nail problems that sometimes require treatment include

  • Bacterial and fungal infections

  • Ingrown nails

  • Tumors

  • Warts

Keeping your nails clean, dry, and trimmed can help you avoid some problems. Do not remove the cuticle, which can cause infection.

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health

Ear Wax Removal

The ear canal is lined with hair follicles. The ear canal also has glands that produce a waxy oil called cerumen. The wax will most often make its way to the opening of the ear. There it will fall out or be removed by washing.

Wax can build up and block the ear canal. Wax blockage is one of the most common causes of hearing loss

 

NIH: National Institutes of Health