General Surgery

General surgeons perform consultation and surgery for a broad range of medical conditions and body systems including the breast, endocrine system, gastrointestinal tract, colon, liver, pancreas and rectum.

WinnMed surgeons within many specialties provide minimally invasive surgery (sometimes called laparoscopic surgery) if possible, which involve the use of specialized techniques, miniature cameras with microscopes, tiny fiber-optic flashlights and high definition monitors. Using less invasive techniques, surgery can be performed through an incision that requires only a stitch or two to close.  For patients, minimally invasive surgery means less trauma to the body, less blood loss, smaller surgical scars and less need for pain medication. Patients leave the hospital sooner after minimally invasive surgery and return to normal activities sooner than with conventional open surgery.

General Surgery Procedures

  • Colonoscopies/Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (also known as EGD or upper endoscopy)
  • Open and laparoscopic procedures
  • Hernia repair
  •  Appendectomy
  • Colon surgeries
  • Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder)
  • OB/GYN procedures involving the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes (cesarean delivery, sterilization)
  • Breast biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy
  • Skin procedures involving skin biopsy and skin lesion
  • Vascular access
  • Venous deficiency and varicose vein treatment

Vein Treatment

Minimally invasive treatment for vein disease is available at WinnMed, provided by Mayo Clinic Health System general surgeon Caroline Schwickerath, D.O.

Aren’t varicose veins just a cosmetic issue?

Actually, varicose veins can be a symptom of Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), a medical condition. Left untreated, CVI can lead to painful skin ulcers and blood clots.

What are other symptoms of CVI?

Swollen or achy legs, the feeling that your legs are heavy or painful, or burning, restless legs at night affecting your sleep.

Who is a candidate for vein treatment?

Both men and women can suffer from CVI, typically those who have spent their adult lives sitting for long periods of time like an office professional, or standing for long periods of time, like a hair stylist or a teacher. Women who have had multiple pregnancies are also at higher risk. And some people develop varicose veins because of a strong family history.

What does the treatment involve?

At WinnMed, Dr. Schwickerath performs a minimally invasive outpatient procedure for treatment. Using ultrasound, she positions a catheter into the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin. The small catheter delivers heat to the vein wall, causing it to shrink and the vein to seal closed. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood will naturally reroute itself to other healthy veins. Following the procedure, a simple bandage is placed over the insertion site, and additional compression may be provided to aid healing.  The procedure is done using local anesthetic, so patients can resume normal activities soon after they leave the medical center.

Is treatment covered by insurance?

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is recognized by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance carriers as a medical condition. Please discuss your coverage with your insurance provider prior to seeking treatment.

Will it work for me?

Most patients will experience relief from symptoms after two days and can resume normal activities.

Learn more

Most surgeries are scheduled through your specialty care provider. To learn if you are at risk for CVI, call 563-382-2911 to schedule your appointment at WinnMed in Decorah today.


General Surgery specialty appointments can be made by calling WinnMed at 563-382-2911.  You can also request an appointment through MyChart.

Meet Our Team
Caroline Schwickerath, D.O., FACOS, CWSP headshot
General Surgery
Mayo Clinic Health System
General Surgery Stories
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December 5, 2023

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