Eric S. Hopkins, M.D., F.A.C.S. (left) and David A. Mullins, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Doctors Mullins and Hopkins, both lifelong residents of southern West Virginia, developed a working relationship while pursuing training at Charleston Area Medical Center as surgical residents. This led to the development of a private practice partnership established in Princeton in 2001 as Appalachian Surgical Associates. A new opportunity with Princeton Community Hospital has been undertaken with the establishment of Mercer Medical Group General Surgery.
The practice focuses on all areas of the traditional general surgery including laparoscopy, endoscopy, and open procedures for treatment of gastrointestinal, breast, hernia, and endocrine pathology. Advance techniques include use of the da Vinci robotic system. In addition, the practice offers treatment of many vascular diseases including venous insufficiency carotid and peripheral vascular disease as well as management of abdominal aortic aneurysms. Procedures include carotid endarterectomy, peripheral stenting and bypass, and endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
The office also boasts its own accredited vascular lab for evaluation of deep vein thrombosis as well as carotid and peripheral artery stenosis. Both surgeons have been certified in breast ultrasound by the American Society of breast surgeons. The office setting offers many options for diagnostic procedures including ultrasound guided minimally invasive breast biopsy, fine needle aspiration and biopsy of thyroid nodules, and VNUS Closure procedure for treatment of venous insufficiency.
New Patients Welcome – For an appointment, please call 304.425.1852.
(Some insurances may require a referral.)
Open Access Colonoscopy Can Save Your Life
Colon Polyps & Cancer Prevention
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women in the United States. Only lung cancer is more deadly. This year we can expect about 134,000 new cases of colon cancer and 55,000 deaths from colon cancer. The good news is that it is surprisingly easy to significantly lower your risk of this disease.
Colon cancer is a malignant growth that occurs on the inner wall of the colon or the rectum. It is well recognized that colon cancer usually begins many years earlier as a small noncancerous growth called a polyp, which grows on the inner wall of the colon. Polyps arise from genetic mutations in the DNA of the cells that line the colon. All of the risk factors for developing these genetic mutations are not known, but genetics plays an important role. Over time some polyps will grow larger until they develop into colon cancer. Although there are always exceptions, current data suggests that this malignant transformation is slow and may take 10 years or longer.
The Importance of a Colonoscopy and What to Expect With the Procedure
An estimated 60% of colorectal cancer deaths can be prevented with screenings. The current recommendation for colon cancer screening by the American Cancer Society is a colonoscopy at age 50. Future exams are planned based on the findings. If a screening colonoscopy is normal and there are no other confounding factors such as a strong family history of colon cancer or specific gastrointestinal symptoms, the next exam would typically be recommended in 10 years.
There are three basic parts to a colonoscopy procedure. The day before the exam you will follow a clear liquid diet; otherwise the day’s activities are unrestricted. That evening you take medication that will induce diarrhea to cleanse the colon for the next day’s exam. The following morning you are brought to the Day Surgery/Therapeutics and Diagnostics Department at Princeton Community Hospital where an IV is started and you are sedated in a monitored setting for the procedure. The procedure is simply the passage of a flexible thin tube with a camera on the tip through the large intestine or colon for inspection and potential removal or biopsy of polyps or abnormal growths. Following the exam and a short recovery period, you are discharged home with your driver and are instructed to rest for the remainder of the day. Typically, there are no additional restrictions.
Open Access Colonoscopy
Open Access Colonoscopy is a service provided by Mercer Medical Group General Surgery that allows healthy, age-appropriate patients (age 50 and older) to easily schedule a colonoscopy, usually without a pre-procedure visit. By completing the Open Access medical request form, your information will be sent to either Dr. David Mullins or Dr. Eric Hopkins for evaluation. After your questionnaire is reviewed, you will be contacted and scheduled for either a colonoscopy or an office visit. Participation in the Open Access Colonoscopy Program is contingent upon pre-procedure insurance approval.
If you are 50 or above and feel you would be a good candidate for this service, please complete a short medical questionnaire. Click here for a printable PDF Medical Request Form that includes information for returning it to our office.
We at Mercer Medical Group General Surgery look forward to meeting your healthcare needs for many years to come.
Mercer Medical Group General Surgery
201 12th Street Extension • Princeton, WV 24740
Open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday