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General Surgery Treatments

Anal fissure

Hard stools, constipation and childbirth can lead to small tears around your anus (back passage) known as anal fissures. They can be very painful and may cause bleeding. The pain may be sharp when you pass stools and deep burning afterwards. You may also bleed when you pass stools.

Usually an anal fissure will heal quickly on its own. A chronic fissure lasts for six weeks and treatment may be required. There are many self-help treatments and medications that may assist. If these aren’t successful, then surgery may be recommended.

The most effective surgery for anal fissure is called a lateral sphincterotomy. It’s a relatively simple procedure performed under general anaesthetic where your general surgeon makes a small cut to the ring of muscle surrounding your anal canal (sphincter). The cut helps to reduce tension in your anal canal so that your anal fissure can heal.

Anal fistula

An anal fistula is a small tunnel that has an internal opening in the anal canal and an external opening in the skin near the anus. An anal fistula may develop if an anal abscess doesn’t heal properly once the pus has drained away.

Signs of an anal fistula are: a constant throbbing pain worsened when sitting, swelling, redness and skin irritation around your anus and, passing pus or blood when you have a bowel movement.

Normally surgery is recommended to treat an anal fistula. Surgical options include: a fistulotomy (cutting open the whole of the fistula so that it heals into a flat scar) and a seton procedure (leaving surgical thread called a seton on the fistula for several weeks to aid its healing). Non-surgical options include: fibrin glue or collagen plug (used to seal the fistula tract).


Haemorrhoids are abnormal swellings inside or around your anal canal due to enlarged blood vessels. Haemorrhoids are also known as piles. Their cause is uncertain but may include: straining while trying to pass stools, ageing, raised pressure in the blood vessels in and around the anus and hereditary factors.

Sometimes you won’t notice any symptoms, other times they can be painful and itchy. Management of haemorrhoids includes lifestyle changes such as diet modifications to minimize constipation and straining, laxatives for constipation and, medicines. Banding and sclerotherapy may be recommended for haemorrhoids that are in the upper part of your anal canal.

Surgery may be required to treat your piles. There are many different types of surgery for haemorrhoids and your general surgeon will discuss the options with you. Haemorrhoid surgery normally involves removing the haemorrhoids or reducing their blood supply so that they shrink.

Hernia repairs

A hernia is a swelling that occurs when an organ or fatty tissue pushes through a weak spot in your muscle or surrounding tissue wall. They can appear throughout the body but most often they develop between your chest and hips.

Common types of hernia include: inguinal hernias and femoral hernias (fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pushes through into your inner or outer groin at the top of your inner thigh), umbilical hernias (fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through your abdomen near your naval) and hiatus hernias (part of your stomach pushes up into your chest through an opening in your diaphragm).

A hernia can be caused by anything that creates an increase in pressure in the abdomen such as lifting heavy objects, diarrhoea or constipation, or persistent coughing or sneezing.

The only way to effectively treat a hernia and provide lasting relief is to have it surgically repaired. Hernia surgery is a very common type of surgery performed either using keyhole surgery or open surgery. The decision for surgery and the type of surgery will be based on the severity and location of your hernia.

Lipoma removal

A lipoma is a soft, benign lump that grows under your skin. They can grow anywhere in the body and are often seen on the neck, shoulders, arms, chest, back, bottom and thigh. They are caused by an overgrowth of fat cells.  

Small and painless lipomas are often left alone but they can cause people to feel self-consciousness of them. The NHS doesn’t treat lipomas for aesthetic reasons. At Mount Stuart Hospital we will treat and remove any size of lipoma whether for medical or aesthetic reasons.

Removal of lumps and bumps

Lumps and bumps can appear anywhere on your body. Most are benign but sometimes they’re found to be malignant, so it’s best to have them checked by a consultant to put your mind at rest.

Moles can be a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours. Most often they’re harmless but you should keep an eye on them and if they change in colour, shape or cause skin irritation then you should seek medical attention immediately.

Lumps, bumps and moles are all skin lesions. The NHS doesn’t routinely treat skin lesions due to aesthetic reasons. At Mount Stuart Hospital we treat benign skin lesions for aesthetic purposes. We understand these lesions can cause emotional upset and embarrassment.

Skin lesions are normally removed under local anaesthetic. There are a number of procedures dependent upon the shape, size and location of your skin lesion.

Pilonidal sinus

A pilonidal sinus is often found near the top of the buttocks. It’s an abnormal cavity in the skin and typically occurs when hair punctures the skin and then becomes embedded.

If a pilonidal sinus becomes infected and an abscess develops it can be very painful and surgery is likely to be recommended. The abscess of a pilonidal sinus can be drained through a small incision, surgically removed or closed using fibrin glue.

Removal of gall bladder

The gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ. It collects and stores a liquid called bile that helps your body to digest food. It can be found in the upper right part of your stomach.

Your body doesn’t need a gall bladder so if it gets damaged, becomes diseased or if you develop painful gallstones then your general surgeon will recommend removing it.

Gallstones are small stones that appear in the gallbladder due to an imbalance in the substances in your bile. Strong abdominal pain, discomfort, vomiting and jaundice are symptoms of gallstones. 

The removal of your gall bladder is performed under general anaesthetic usually by keyhole surgery.

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