General Surgery – Farrer Park Hospital
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What is General Surgery?
General surgery is frequently performed to alleviate suffering when a cure is unlikely through medication alone. It can be used for routine procedures, such as vasectomy, or for more complicated surgical operations, such as removal of the gall bladder. Parts of the body often treated by general surgeons include the stomach, liver, intestines, appendix, breasts, thyroid gland, salivary glands, some arteries and veins, and the skin.

​Lumps in the skin and soft tissues

There are many types of these “lumps and bumps”. A lipoma is a slow-growing, fatty lump that is most often situated between your skin and the underlying muscle layer. It is non-cancerous (benign). Treatment is often not necessary, but if the lipoma is painful or is growing, your general surgeon may remove it. The same goes for cysts that usually appear on the face and neck.
Lumps with features of cancer. These lumps could be:
- Hard, fixed and irregular lumps (often painless);
- Lumps with a history of rapid growth, change in colour, ulceration or bleeding;
- Breast lumps; Most are in fact benign
- Testicular lumps (not obvious lipomas or cysts); Confusion here between scrotal  and testicular lumps
- Abscesses (for incision and drainage). This is not a feature of malignancy
Thyroid nodules are solid or fluid-filled lumps that form within your thyroid, a small gland located at the base of your neck, just above your breastbone. Although most thyroid nodules are noncancerous and don't cause problems, it is wise to seek medical attention as it is important to evaluate the possibility of cancer. Also seek medical care if you develop signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as:
- Sudden weight loss even though your appetite is normal or has increased;
- A pounding heart;
- Trouble sleeping;
- Muscle weakness;
- Nervousness or irritability.
Occasionally, a nodule that is clearly benign may require surgery, especially if it has grown so large that it makes it hard for you to breathe or swallow. Nodules diagnosed as suspicious also need to be removed so they can be examined for signs of cancer.
Acute appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch that protrudes from your colon in the lower right side of your abdomen. Pain usually originates around the navel and then moves to the right. As inflammation worsens, the pain can become severe and surgery to remove the appendix is required.
Small, bulging pouches can form in the lower part of the large intestine (colon) often without any symptoms. Diverticulitis is the condition when they become infected. The infection can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea and changes in your bowel habits. Mild diverticulitis can be treated with rest, changes in your diet and antibiotics. Severe or recurring diverticulitis may require surgery.
Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your esophagus, stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine caused by a bacterial infection or the consumption of certain medications such as aspirin. You could also be at risk of developing a peptic ulcer if you suffered trauma in a serious accident, underwent surgery, or if your stomach produces excessive amounts of acid. Those with a family history of ulcers are also susceptible to this ailment. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is upper abdominal pain. In severe cases, there may be vomiting of blood, or dark blood in stools. Treatments can include antibiotic medications for the bacterial infection with additional medications to reduce stomach acid. In some cases, endoscopy or even surgery to stop the bleeding from the peptic ulcer is required.

​Most operations in general surgery can be performed with MIS (minimally invasive surgery) or ‘keyhole’ techniques where appropriate. The commonly performed MIS procedures in general surgery include Laparoscopic:

- Cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder)
- Appendectomy  (removal of the appendix)
- Hernia Repair (treatment of organ protrusion due to a weakened abdominal wall)
- Fundoplication (treatment of heartburn and acid reflux by surgical correction of the muscle at the lower end of the oesophagus)
- Colectomy (removal of part of the colon usually for cancer or other benign disease such as diverticulitis)
- Bowel surgery and lysis of adhesions  (relief of intestinal obstruction and chronic abdominal pain)
- Adrenalectomy (removal of one or both adrenal gland/s)

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