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Gastrointestinal Surgery

What is gastrointestinal surgery?

Gastrointestinal surgery is a treatment for diseases affecting the digestive organs. The esophagus (ee-sof-uh-gus), stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum are all included. The liver, gallbladder, and pancreas are also included.

A cancerous or noncancerous growth or a damaged part of the body, such as the intestine, may be removed through surgery. It can also be used to repair problems such as hernias (a hole or weak spot in the wall of the abdo-men). Minor surgical procedures are used to screen and diagnose digestive system problems.


The following gastrointestinal conditions may be treated surgically:Appendicitis. When the appendix becomes infected and inflamed, it may be removed (appendectomy).

  • Colon cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers. Surgery is performed to remove cancerous tumors in the digestive system and cancerous parts of the digestive system. A surgeon, for example, may remove a tumor as well as a portion of the pancreas, liver, or intesti-ne affected by cancer.
  • Diverticular disease. A colonic diverticulum is a little pouch or pocket (large intestine). Researchers don't know why these arise. They can occasionally swell up and hurt (diverticulitis). Surgery is frequently avoided in treating this. The doctor might advise bowel resection surgery to remove that segment of the intestine if the patient has several diverticula that frequently swell and become inflamed.
  • Gallbladder disease. It is possible to remove the gallbladder when there is a problem, typically gallstones. Cholecystectomy is another name for the procedure used to remove the gallbladder (koh-luh-si-stek-tuh-mee).
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and hiatal hernias. Heartburn is a symptom of GERD, or acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus (food pipe). A hiatal hernia may occasionally be the cause. This occurs when the diaphragm, a muscle that separates the chest from the belly, is breached by the stomach. A surgeon can correct it by performing a procedure known as a fundoplication (fun-doh-pluh-cay-shun). If there is a hernia, the surgeon will treat it before strengthening the sphincter that blocks acid from entering the esophagus by wrapping the top of the stomach around the bottom of the tube.
  • Hernia. A hernia occurs when a portion of the body, such as the intestine, protrudes through a tear or weak spot in the muscle or connective tissue wall that is meant to act as a barrier (like the abdomen). Although it doesn't penetrate the skin, a protrusion that shouldn't be there may be felt beneath the skin. It might also hurt. Gastrointestinal surgeons can close the gap or strengthen the weak area.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis). The immune system targets the intestines in inflammatory bowel disease, which results in discomfort and inflammation. The intestine may become damaged as a result. Sometimes the healthy pieces are reconnected after the damaged ones have been removed. It is known as bowel resection.
  • Rectal prolapse. Rectal prolapse, a disorder in which a portion of the intestine passes through the anus, is treated surgically.
  • Weight loss. To manage obesity, many types of bariatric surgery (such gastric bypass) may be performed. A bariatric surgery expert typically performs this procedure..

To examine and identify issues with the digestive system, surgeons perform an operation known as an endoscopy. A long, thin tube with a tiny camera is inserted into the body by the doctor. The doctor inserts the scope via the esophagus to see if the stomach or esophagus is the issue. The doctor inserts the scope into the intestine through the anus to examine it for colon cancer or other gastrointestinal issues.

What are the risks and/or side effects?

Any surgery carries some risks, such as:

  • Infection. Infections can enter the body whenever it is opened up. Although surgeons take great care to make everything sterile and clean when doing surgery, there is still a danger of infection..
  • Pain. During recovery, there could be soreness and pain depending on the procedure.
  • Bleeding and blood clots. Surgery scars can occasionally continue to bleed, which can delay healing. An critical blood channel leading to the lungs, heart, or brain might get blocked when the body produces a blood clot where surgery was performed.
  • Damage to another body part. During surgery, it's possible to unintentionally harm a healthy bodily part.
  • Reaction to anesthesia. Some patients experience nausea and vomiting as a result of anesthesia.

What are the benefits?

Surgery to eliminate a tumor, treat a damaged organ, or fix damage can save lives. Someone who has not responded well to previous therapies, such as medication or dietary changes, may benefit from surgery to improve their quality of life.

A small medical technique called a colonoscopy can detect colon cancer early enough to treat it. It's crucial to undergo the advised colon cancer screening.

How do I prepare?

Depending on the sort of operation you have, there may be preparation required.

Follow Instructions
How to get ready for your surgery will be explained by the doctor or nurse. You'll probably be given instructions about what to eat and drink before the procedure. Before surgery, the doctor could advise you to cease taking some of your medications or supplements. Follow all of the instructions you get for preparing for surgery.

Make a Plan for the Day of Surgery and After
Even for a small procedure, make arrangements for who will drive you there and back afterwards.

Consider who will assist you in the days after your surgery. The most crucial period following surgery is the first week you spend at home. If everything goes according to plan, you'll soon be making a full recovery. If not, you might need to visit the hospital again.

Prepare for any modifications to your living area. After your procedure, will you be able to climb stairs? Do you require a grab bar or other equipment in order to use the restroom? Have you made plans for someone to bring meals or do you have the food you need? Where will you go if you require physical therapy following surgery?

How is it done or administered?

The majority of surgeries involve making small incisions into the body with tools like scalpels. To remove growths in the colon, for example, some surgery is performed with a scope, a narrow tube containing a camera and small surgery tools.

Open surgery or minimally invasive surgery are both options for body-cutting procedures.

  • Open surgery: To open up the body, the surgeon performs a single, big cut..

Minimally invasive surgery, or laparoscopic (lap-er-uh-skop-ik) surgery: To view inside the body, the surgeon makes a few tiny incisions. The surgeon makes several cuts before inserting the camera and surgical tools. Compared to the huge cut from open surgery, these tiny cuts typically heal more quickly.

During the procedure, anesthesia (an-uhs-thee-zhuh) is utilized to numb any discomfort sensations. While general anesthesia puts a person into a deep sleep, local or regional anesthesia simply numbs a specific area of the body.

The surgery determines the type of anaesthetic utilized.

The hospital, an outpatient surgery facility, the doctor's office, or a clinic are all possible locations for the procedure. It depends on the nature and degree of complexity of the surgery.



When will I know the results?

The surgeon will contact you later to let you know how the procedure went and what you should do next. The type of operation will determine when the follow-up is necessary.


What are follow-up requirements and options?

Your doctor will create a treatment plan just for you and discuss any necessary follow-up care or therapy with you.

What should I expect during recovery?

The length of recovery will depend on the procedure and its degree of invasiveness. You can immediately resume your normal activities after a few straightforward operations, such as a colonoscopy. You might require some recovery time and assistance with pain management following more extensive surgeries. Ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding what to anticipate during your surgery recovery.