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General surgery

Abdominal symptoms and hernias diagnosed and treated rapidly

General surgery is a multi-faceted specialty, and primarily focuses on issues related to the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). This encompasses a wide range of organs and is broken down as follows: 

  • Upper GI
  • The gullet, looking at reflux and acid problems
  • Lower GI
  • Large intestines, problems relating to the anus and rectum
  • HBP (Hepato Pancreato Biliary)
  • Dealing with problems of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder

Another aspect of General Surgery looks at hernias and lesions of the skin. Your consultant will normally be able to see a visible lump where the hernia is, making diagnosis relatively straightforward.

Common reasons you may seek a private appointment with one of our specialists include:

  • Symptomatic hernias - intermittent swelling, usually in the groin, causing pain
  • Bowel symptoms – change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Symptomatic gallstones – experienced as pain in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen
  • Colonic pain – lower abdomen
  • Reflux symptoms, indigestion, heartburn
  • Oesophageal motility problems
  • Peri-anal symptoms – pain, discomfort, and/or itching caused by haemorrhoids or fissures
  • Simple skin lesions under the skin, requiring excision (removal)
  • Colon cancer screening

You may already have seen your GP, but self-referrals are increasing, enabling you to come and see a specialist in the first instance whenever troubling symptoms occur. Whether you’ve had a flare-up of an existing condition, or you’re experiencing uncomfortable symptoms for the first time, why not book a consultation with our specialists at your convenience? Mount Alvernia offers you personalised care to get you an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment plan for your needs. 

Some patients will have conditions that can be managed conservatively with medication and lifestyle changes, such as dietary alterations and weight loss. A management plan can help inform you on what to do in the event of a further flare-up, and how you can avoid flare-ups in the first place.

The majority of patients seeking specialist help, however, will need some form of surgical intervention, from diagnostic procedures to corrective surgery.

Endoscopy is used as an investigative procedure, but it can often be tied in with some treatment. For example, banding or injection of haemorrhoids can be carried out during the procedure, along with a polypectomy (removal of polyps found in the bowel), allowing diagnosis and treatment to be done at the same time.

Depending on the nature of your symptoms and whether they are related to the upper or lower GI tract, your endoscopy procedure will most likely be either a Gastroscopy (down the gullet) or a Colonoscopy (to assess the lower bowel, via the rectum). The endoscope used is a small, flexible tube with a camera and light on the end, transmitting a feed back to a monitor to allow your consultant to investigate thoroughly. Small surgical instruments can then be added, if required.

Other day case procedures include:

  • Hernia repairs
  • Cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder)
  • Appendectomy (removal of the appendix)
  • Peri-anal surgeries e.g. haemorrhoidectomy

Whatever surgery is needed, your consultant will provide the most appropriate form of treatment in order to bring you relief from your symptoms. 

When you come to Mount Alvernia for your first appointment, your consultant will begin by asking for a detailed medical history to get to know your background and to understand the issues you’ve been facing. They may ask questions such as:

  • What symptoms have you been experiencing?
  • How long have you had these symptoms?
  • Are you in pain? If so, can you describe the pain? Is it a constant or intermittent pain? 
  • Have you had similar issues in the past?
  • Does anything in particular make your symptoms worse/cause a flare-up?
  • Are you currently taking any medication?

A physical examination will then be carried out within the clinic. This likely includes looking at your abdomen, where your consultant will assess any of the symptoms you’ve mentioned.

For bowel or peri-anal symptoms, your consultant may perform a proctoscopy (to examine the rectum and anus) or sigmoidoscopy (to look at the lower part of the large intestine).

Typical diagnostic scans and tests include:

  • Endoscopy
  • Blood tests
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI

These can all be done on-site; some in our consulting rooms, and others in our Imaging department. 

Some specialist tests may also be needed, such as an ano-rectal physiology test, (which allows analysis of the muscles in the sphincter), or a proctogram (a specialist x-ray to look at defecation disorders). Proctograms are carried out off-site, and all arrangements for this will be made by your consultant and nursing team, but all other tests are available at Mount Alvernia upon request. 

GI function tests are also available, looking at the function of either end of the bowels. This might be for patients with:

  • Incontinence
  • Obstructed defecation
  • Sphincter problems
  • Oesophageal motility problems
  • Acid reflux 

Severe acid reflux can be assessed using a 24-hour pH trace called Monometry, where a sensor is placed in the oesophagus, measuring how much acid is refluxed into the oesophagus over a 24-hour period. As well as diagnosing Oesophageal Motility Disorder and acid reflux, this is useful in investigating certain rarer swallowing difficulties like achalasia.

Once results have been returned and a full diagnosis made, your consultant will meet with you again to discuss all treatment options. This can range from medication to surgery, and your consultant can advise on likely outcomes, helping to set expectations for your recovery. If you decide to opt for surgery, our dedicated nursing team will help you in any preparations with pre-operative advice and guidance. 

By choosing to have your treatment at Mount Alvernia, you’ll be able to take advantage of all these great benefits:

Assessments ASAP – If your quality of life has been affected by your abdominal symptoms, you’ll want to be seen by a consultant without any delay. By seeing patients rapidly, our consultants can get you started on the right course of treatment as soon as possible.

Patient satisfaction – 98% of patients in 2020 said they would happily recommend the Mount Alvernia Hospital to friends and family in an independent report, and we’re confident that you’ll agree. 98% also said that the quality of care here at Mount Alvernia Hospital was either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. We aim to make your stay with us as comfortable as possible, and these results highlight our continued efforts to ensure this is achieved.

JAG accreditation – Mount Alvernia’s Endoscopy department has achieved Joint Advisory Group (JAG) accreditation, providing quality assurance for all procedures carried out here, featuring the latest 4K resolution endoscopes. This national body assesses the endoscopy services delivered to patients from the start of their journey, through any necessary procedure, right through to their aftercare during recovery. With JAG accreditation as a seal of approval, you can be confident that the highest standard of care will be delivered.

Same day surgery – Most of the procedures performed in General Surgery can be done on a day case basis, providing a ‘one stop shop’ for various issues. With patients able to return home on the same day, this efficient service saves you time and cuts down on unnecessary extra journeys.

A multidisciplinary approach – Our teams at Mount Alvernia work in tandem with each other to provide you with the best possible care from start to finish. Your consultants will work closely with gastroenterologists and oncologists, as well as a dedicated team of radiographers, anaesthetists, and nurses to ensure you have support from medical professionals every step of the way during your treatment.

Convenient appointments – With appointments available at dedicated clinics five days a week, you are sure to find an appointment slot that suits your needs and availability. 

If you’ve been experiencing abdominal pain, why not get in touch to book a consultation? Our consultants can organise the necessary diagnostic tests to investigate your symptoms, and outline all treatment options for you promptly, arranging any further scans or surgery if required.

For peace of mind and expert care, please contact Mount Alvernia to book an appointment now

Specialists offering General surgery

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Mr Pritam Singh

Consultant General & Oesophago-Gastric Surgeon


Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Mr Nima Abbassi-Ghadi

Consultant General & Oesophago-Gastric Surgeon


Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Mr Shaun Preston

Consultant General Surgeon

BSc(Hons), MB ChB, MD, FRCS(Eng), FRCS(Gen)

Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Mr John Stebbing

Consultant General Surgeon


Mount Alvernia Hospital

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