What patients should know about following doctors’ orders

Written By Dr. Justin Gerth

It’s October. As I drive to the new Outpatient Surgery Center at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, I’m enjoying not just the seasonal beauty surrounding that facility, but the opportunity to provide state-of-the-art, close-to-home surgery for area residents.


This is the month when many patients consult me about surgical procedures they put off until after summer vacations, football games or corporate deadlines.

They realize that hernia repair their primary care physician suggested or gallbladder surgery their GI doctor recommended can’t be put off any longer.

Some patients with other concerns, including abnormal mammograms, have waited and worried unnecessarily. Often I wish they had seen me sooner, so that I could explain the following:

  • It’s better to treat early. If your physician suggests a surgical consult this month, get it done before the holidays. A thyroid mass, skin lesion or other concern is unlikely to get better on its own, and could be a cancer that progresses.
  • Early surgery usually means smaller incisions. Hernias and masses can get so large that they can’t be repaired laparoscopically or robotically. Laparoscopic surgery allows for smaller incisions and helps with quicker recoveries.
  • Once your doctor suggests a surgical consult, you probably don’t need a new physician referral. Although, you should double-check your insurance plan.
  • You have easy access to St. Vincent’s One Nineteen’s state-of-the-art surgical suites. Although not everyone is a candidate for minimally-invasive surgery, many patients are. Area residents now have access to the latest outpatient technology close-to-home.

Overall, I suggest patients not schedule their surgeries by the season, but by their physicians’ recommendations. After all, anytime is a great time to make your health a priority.

As part of its recent expansion, St. Vincent’s One Nineteen now conveniently offers outpatient surgery on its campus.

Located at 7191 Cahaba Valley Road in Hoover, the St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Outpatient Surgery Center provides same-day procedures, including General Surgery, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, Podiatry, Plastic surgery, Pain management, ENT, GI and Gynecology.

To learn more about the wide range of services on the One Nineteen campus, visit Onenineteen.com.


Dr. Justin Gerth is a general surgeon at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen.