Billroth I and II Operation

Other Known Aliasesgastroduodenostomy and gastrojejunostomy

DefinitionIn a Billroth I procedure, the distal stomach is removed and the distal stomach is connected with a end-to-end anastomosis to the duodenum. In a Billroth II procedure, the distal stomach is removed and connected with a side-to-side anastomosis to the jejunum.

Clinical SignificanceBoth of these procedures are used in distal gastric pathologies, including gastric cancer, recurrent peptic ulcer disease, large duodenal perforations, bleeding gastric ulcer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, or corrosive stricture of the stomach. A Billroth I is generally preferred as it has less complications and restores normal GI continuity. A Billroth II is used to prevent undue tension on the anastomosis secondary to scarring.

HistoryNamed after Christian Albert Theodor Billroth (1829-1894), who was an Austrian surgeon and generally regarded as the founding father of modern abdominal surgery. He received his medical doctorate from the Frederick William University of Berlin in 1852. His medical career was almost completely abandoned due to his love of music and was a close friend of Johannes Brahms. He became the Chair of Clinical Surgery at the University of Zurich in 1860. He was well known as a charismatic and infectious instructor, attracting students throughout Germany. It was at this post that he published is classic textbook Die allgemeine chirurgische Pathologie und Therapie (General Surgical Pathology and Therapy) in 1863. He was directly responsible for several landmark historical surgeries including:

  • 1872 – first to perform an esophagectomy
  • 1873 – first to perform an laryngectomy
  • 1876 – first to perform rectal cancer excision
  • 1881 – first to perform antrectomy for gastric cancer

Other notable mentions for Dr. Billroth is his early adoption of the “white coat” and surgical cleanliness. He also was an advocate for prolonged surgical apprenticeships following completion of medical studies and was the precursor to William Halsted’s pioneering residency program at Johns Hopkins


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  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
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  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. Kazi RA, Peter RE. Christian Albert Theodor Billroth: master of surgery. Journal of postgraduate medicine. ; 50(1):82-3. [pubmed]

#49 – Hernias



  • Approximately 5 million people in the US
    • Majority are groin hernias
      • 2/3rd are on the right
  • 1/3rd of all repairs are ventral hernias
    • 1/3rd of these are incisional and 2/3rd are primary


The abdominal wall is made up of multiple, overlapping muscles and connective tissue whose main purpose is to contain and protect the intra-abdominal organs, while also serving as accessary muscles of respiration and facilitating axial movements.  The bony boundaries of the abdominal cavity are:

  • Xiphoid process superiorly and costal margins laterally
    • With diaphragm separating the abdominal cavity from thoracic cavity
  • Pubic symphysis inferiorly and iliac crests laterally
    • With the inguinal ligament connecting them

The lateral rectus abdominis muscles also fuse midline to form the linea alba and laterally to the connect with the confluence of the external oblique, internal oblique, and transverse abdominis muscles.

Weakness at any of these junctions (either anatomic or iatrogenic) can allow herniation of abdominal contents through this defect.  Pascal’s principle states that any pressure generated within a closed system (abdominal cavity) is transmitted equally to the walls of the system.

Classification and Definitions of Hernia Types

  • Ventral
    • Anterior
    • Epigastric
      • Occur between Xiphoid and umbilicus
      • Generally < 1cm in size
    • Umbilical
      • Most common overall and more common in women
    • Spigelian
      • Occurs through aponeurosis of the transverse abdominal muscle bounded by the linea semilunaris and lateral edge of the rectus muscle medially
    • Incisional
  • Groin
    • Inguinal
      • Indirect (most common overall)
        • Through the deep ring and inguinal canal
    • Femoral (more common in women)
      • Through the femoral ring into the femoral canal posterior and inferior to the inguinal ligament

Signs and Symptoms

  • History
    • Can be asymptomatic if small
    • Most patients will feel a “bulge” and have varying degree of pain associated with this
    • Coughing, straining, or Valsalva worsen the pain or increase the size
    • Groin Hernias
      • Heaviness or dull discomfort in the groin
      • Pain improves when lying supine
    • Systemic symptoms (fever, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating) should raise your suspicion of an incarcerated or strangulated hernia
  • Physical Examination
    • Abdominal wall should be examined with the patient standing and lying supine
      • Have patient bear down or cough to accentuate while palpating in the anatomic region
    • Examine for previous surgical incisions
    • Palpate around the umbilicus
    • In men, invaginate the scrotal skin to reach the inguinal canal
    • Femoral hernias most commonly occur medial to the femoral pulse
    • If any erythema or induration is visible, or if the bulge is tender to palpation, this should raise your suspicion of an incarcerated or strangulated hernia


Most hernias in non-obese patients should be diagnosed by careful and thorough history and physical examination.  In others, radiographic investigation must be performed.

  • Computed Tomography
    • Gold standard to identify sac, contents, and surrounding edema or inflammation
  • Ultrasound
    • Can be very helpful if the diagnosis of groin hernia is unclear

Surgical Repair

Most hernias will require surgical repair at some point.  The decision for operative management comes down to risk of future complications, size, and symptom tolerance.  Patients with strangulation or incarceration MUST emergent/urgent surgical repair to limit the risk of bowel ischemia.

Surgeon preference and patient considerations dictate laparoscopic vs open hernia repair.

Preclusion to laparoscopic repair include:

  • Prior surgery involving the preperitoneal space
  • Complicated hernias
  • Ascites
  • Inability to tolerate general anesthesia

Surgical Techniques for Groin Hernias

  • ††Open
    • Tension-free mesh repairsPrimary tissue approximation non-mesh repair
  • Laparoscopic (both require mesh)
    • Totally extraperitoneal (TEP) repair
      • Avoids the peritoneal cavity by developing a plane of dissection in the preperitoneal space
        • Landmarks for entry to the preperitoneal space are:
          • Median umbilical ligament
          • Hernia defect
      • This space is entered by establishing a plane between the posterior surface of the rectus muscle and posterior rectus sheath and peritoneum
  • Transabdominal preperitoneal patch (TAPP) repair
    • Advantage is that all three groin hernia types are well visualized and in close proximity to each other

Surgical Repair for Ventral Hernias

  • Goals for repair
    • Prevent hernia recurrence
    • Low rate of surgical site infection
    • Provide dynamic muscle support
    • Provide a repair with physiologic tension
    • Prevent eventration or abdominal wall bulging
    • Incorporate the abdominal wall
  • < 1cm
    • Open repair with or without mesh directly over the defect
  • 1-10cm
    • Can be repaired either open or laparoscopic with mesh
      • 1-4cm midline ventral – open
      • 1-4cm incisional – open or laparoscopic
      • 4-10cm all types – laparoscopic
  • > 10cm
    • Unlikely to be closed laparoscopic and require open

Cottage Physician


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  5. Rutkow IM. Demographic and socioeconomic aspects of hernia repair in the United States in 2003. The Surgical clinics of North America. 2003; 83(5):1045-51, v-vi. [pubmed]
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  7. Murphy KP, O’Connor OJ, Maher MM. Adult abdominal hernias. AJR. American journal of roentgenology. 2014; 202(6):W506-11. [pubmed]
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  9. Earle D, Roth JS, Saber A, et al. SAGES guidelines for laparoscopic ventral hernia repair. Surgical endoscopy. 2016; 30(8):3163-83. [pubmed]
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PAINE #PANCE Pearl – Surgery


When looking an abdominal radiograph, what are the bowel diameter measurements that are generally NOT normally exceeded and would be concerning for potential obstruction?


The normal diameter of the intestines on an abdominal radiograph generally do not exceed:

  • 3 cm for small bowel
  • 6 cm for the colon
  • 9 cm for the cecum

This is often referred to as the 3/6/9 rule.


  1. Radiopaedia. https://radiopaedia.org/articles/3-6-9-rule-bowel?lang=us
  2. Geeky Medis. https://geekymedics.com/abdominal-x-ray-interpretation/


Pouch of Douglas

Other Known Aliasesrecto-uterine pouch

Definitionspace in the peritoneal cavity between the rectum and the posterior wall of the uterus

Clinical SignificanceAs this is the most posterior and inferior recess in the peritoneal cavity, it is a potential space for fluid and blood to accumulate. This area should always be investigated in trauma as part of the FAST examination.

HistoryNamed after James Douglas (1675-1742), who was a Scottish physician, anatomist, and physician extraordinaire to Queen Caroline. He received his medical doctorate from University of Reims and went on to have a prolific career as an obstetrician and anatomist. He also befriended an early career William Hunter and made him an assistant prior to his own fame as an anatomist. Due to his anatomic research in female pelvic anatomy, there are many eponymonic structures that bear his name including the Douglas fold, Douglas line, and Douglas septum.


  1. Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA.  Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed.  New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. Brock H. James Douglas of the Pouch. Medical history. 1974; 18(2):162-72. [pubmed]
  7. Rectouterine Pouch. Radiopaedia. https://radiopaedia.org/articles/rectouterine-pouch?lang=us

PAINE #PANCE Pearl – Surgery



What is the main difference between these two instruments?


Image result for allis clampImage result for allis clamp




Image result for babcock clampImage result for babcock clamp



The first instrument is an Allis clamp, which has sharp teeth and can crush tissue.  It is used for grasping fascia or tissue that needs to be removed or manipulated during procedures.


The second instrument is a Babcock forceps,  which is non-toothed and has a wider grasping surface.  These forceps do not damage tissue and are considered non-crushing and can be used to grasp delicate tissue.  The head of the forceps is open and helps for rapid identification.