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Gastrointestinal (GI) Surgery Service

Gastrointestinal (GI) Surgery Service

written by doctors of Asia Medical Specialists

(Last update on: Oct 28th 2020)

What is Gastrointestinal surgery?

Gastrointestinal surgery is one of the major subspecialties of surgery. It includes every part of the gut from the oesophagus (food pipe) that carries food from the mouth to the other end from which digested residue leaves the body.

Common Gastrointestinal (GI) Surgical Diseases

1. The Oesophagus, stomach and duodenum
a. Symptoms: difficulty or pain on swallowing, heart burn, excessive belching, indigestion, ulcer pain, decreased appetite, passage of black stool, unexplained anaemia, unexplained weight loss.
b. Diseases: acid reflux, ulcers, cancers.

2. The small intestine
a. Symptoms: Recurrent central stomachache, frequent loose stool, unexplained weight loss.
b. Diseases: Crohn’s disease, ulcers, tumours.

3. The large intestine
a. Symptoms: blood or mucus in stool, constipation, diarrhea, pain on defecation, unexplained anaemia.
b. Diseases: cancer, polyps, haemorrhoids, fissues, diverticular disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, infection.

4. Others
a. Gallstones
b. Pancreatitis
c. Hernia

Common surgical procedures associated with GI diseases

1. Endoscopy: consists of a flexible tube with a sophisticated camera situated at the tip to be placed either through the mouth or anus giving a most direct way to look inside the gut with minimal discomfort, abnormal tissue such as polyps may be removed at the same time

a. Gastroscopy: to look at the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.

b. Colonoscopy: to look at the large intestine, a most effective way to prevent colon cancer by removal of pre-cancerous polyps.

2. Cholecystectomy: removal of the diseased gallbladder usually due to the presence of gallstones, majority are performed by keyhole surgery. 

3. Hernia operation: reinforcement of an area of weakness of the abdominal wall usually by a sheet of synthetic material, majority done through keyhole surgery.

4. Haemorrhoid operation: removal of anal haemorrhoidal tissue, majority performed using a specially constructed “stapling gun” to achieve a scarless and painless operation.

5. Anti-reflux surgery: for acid reflux not responding to drug treatment or rebound after stopping medication, majority done through keyhole surgery.

6. Major surgery for cancer: can be performed by traditional open surgery method or by keyhole surgery depending on location and extent of disease.

7. Obesity surgery: advanced operations of the stomach to restrict the amount of food intake and / or nutrient absorption.

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