General surgery encompasses a broad range of areas of the body – from surgery on the abdomen to surgery on the breasts. General surgeons normally have a sub-speciality in endocrinology, oncology or gastroenterology. Alongside these specialities general surgeons have experience with dealing with soft tissue regions and hernias.
Here at North Downs Hospital in Surrey we are lucky to be working with a range of highly skilled and specialist general surgeons. Your consultant will take you from the diagnostic process to aftercare solutions post-surgery.
General Surgeries Available
Anal Fissure or Tear
An anal fissure or tear occurs upon the lining of the back passage. The back passage is otherwise known as the anal canal.
Symptoms of an anal fissure include an intense burning pain and/or bleeding when you pass a bowel movement.
You may consider a surgical solution if you experience anal fissures chronically i.e. if you suffer from it regularly or it has lasted over 6 weeks. Many people experience anal fissures for less than 6 weeks and find that the anal fissure heals on its own.
The operation to fix the anal fissure is known as a lateral internal sphincterotomy. The surgeon will divide your anal sphincter – relieving the spasm (which causes the fissure). This improves blood supply to the affected area and enables the fissure to heal. The surgery lasts approximately 15 minutes and is normally done under general anaesthetic.
Anal Fistula Repair
An anal fistula otherwise known as an anal abscess is normally found between the anal cavity and skin.
Symptoms of an anal fistula include a constant pain when you sit down, a puss like or bloody discharge after having a bowel movement.
In most cases of an anal fistula, surgery will be needed, as it is unlikely that it will heal on its own. The most common form of surgery to treat an anal fistula is a Fistulotomy, the surgical opening of a fistulous tract. It is usually performed under general anaesthetic.
Non- surgical solutions are available such as fibrin glue but there is a significantly lower chance in the fistula healing.
A haemorrhoid usually presents as a mass hanging from the anus, which may need to be reinserted back into place after completing a bowel movement. However, you may also experience bleeding when passing a stool or itchiness around the anus.
Non-surgical solutions include banding – restricting the blood supply of the haemorrhoid and allowing it to fall off of its own accord, normally within a week.
There are many reasons why you may choose to have surgery to treat haemorrhoids; whether it’s due to the failure of non-surgical solutions or if you suffer from haemorrhoids, which do not qualify for non-surgical treatment.
A hernia presents itself as a lump beneath the skin – it is caused by a weakening in a muscle wall, which allows the internal organ to push through.
There are a range of hernias that can occur throughout the body:
The type of surgery that you will receive will depend on the severity of the hernia and where it is located within the body. Some procedures may involve laparoscopic surgery that is minimally invasive – however, open surgeries are routinely used.
In serious cases if you start to vomit, have extreme constipation or sudden severe pain you should seek immediate medical assistance.
A lipoma normally displays itself as a small lump underneath the skin - It is not usually painful or noticeable. Although they do not standardly affect a person’s health, their self-esteem may be damaged leaving them with a negative body image. It can be noted that lipomas are not treated by the NHS for aesthetic reasons.
Here at North Downs Hospital we specialize in diagnostic processes and in the case of a skin lesion (abnormal growth on the skin) we may need to perform an ultra-scan or biopsy.
You may not necessarily have a lipoma as skin lesions can present themselves in a variety of forms – as epidermoid cysts moles or skin tags. We treat these accordingly suited to your needs.
Removal of Lumps or Moles
Moles and lumps like lipomas are a type of skin lesion and are not routinely treated on the NHS for aesthetic purposes.
Moles come in a variety of shapes and sizes and vary in colour. The majority of the time they appear harmless but if there is a sudden change in colour, shape or if you have sudden skin irritation you should seek immediate medical attention.
Most lumps are harmless, however if you have a lump that appears to grow, is hard to touch or is particularly painful you should seek medical assistance sooner rather than later.
The operation to remove lumps and moles generally is performed under local anaesthetic and varies with the shape, size and location of your skin lesion.
Pilonidal Sinus Surgery
A pilonidal sinus occurs between the buttocks in the natal cleft. It is thought to be caused by the collection of loose hairs within the cleft that then causes an infection – due to the bacteria that hairs can carry. They may appear puss-filled and an abscess can potentially develop.
Although there are methods of preventing an infection from forming such as keeping the natal cleft clean, you may find that once it becomes infected the pilonidal sinus reoccurs. Surgery then may be the only option to promote healing of the affected area.
There are a few different surgical procedures used to treat a pilonidal sinus including filling the sinus with fibrin glue, removing the sinus or draining the pus within the sinus.
Removal of Gall Bladder
The gall bladder resides underneath the liver – it is used by the liver to store bile before it is released into the intestine.
Gallstones may develop within the gallbladder and cause intense abdominal pain and discomfort alongside other sever symptoms. A gallstone is made up of salts, waste and cholesterol.
Although non-surgical solutions are available treat gallstones, they have a high chance of reoccurring and surgery is normally the recommended option. The surgery usually lasts around an hour and is performed under general anaesthetic.
Here at North Downs Hospital we offer a range of general surgeries and we take pride in the skills of our specialist general surgeons. We are on hand to answer any questions you may have when considering surgical and non-surgical solutions.