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General surgery

A wide-ranging area of medicine that focuses on the abdominal area

Within general surgery, there is a broad range of surgeries offered, with a host of subspecialities. A general surgeon, therefore, has a wide range of knowledge and an extensive skill set.

Dealing with all kinds of surgical emergencies, general surgeons here at BMI St Edmunds focus on acute abdominal issues, while also carrying out some elective operations, which may fall outside of their subspeciality area.

Helping patients with gall bladder issues and hernia repairs, general surgeons like ours at BMI St Edmunds have a special interest in upper or lower intestinal surgery. Other specialties within general surgery include breast – including surgery on various breast cancers – and endocrine (surgery for disease of the thyroid, for example).

Our Consultant General Surgeon here at BMI St Edmunds also focuses on colorectal surgery. Consequently, patients who have visited experts within other specialties and haven’t yet got an answer as to why, for instance, they are experiencing pain or discomfort, may visit our Consultant General Surgeon.

  • Gallstone disease – the most common disorder affecting the biliary system, it can cause intense pain and discomfort in the abdomen, as well as vomiting, right shoulder pain, and flatulence.
  • Abdominal wall hernias – patients who present with this condition may have mild pain, pressure or aching at the site of the hernia.
  • Reflux disease – also known as GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), this condition can cause heartburn, bloating and belching, and acid reflux.

Below, we focus on the bowel screening service and what to expect from the NHS programme, alongside seeking a follow-up with our private hospital.

  • Gallstone disease – the most common disorder affecting the biliary system, it can cause intense pain and discomfort in the abdomen, as well as vomiting, right shoulder pain, and flatulence.
  • Abdominal wall hernias – patients who present with this condition may have mild pain, pressure or aching at the site of the hernia.
  • Reflux disease – also known as GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), this condition can cause heartburn, bloating and belching, and acid reflux.

Bowel Cancer Screening

A national NHS programme, which is separate from the private sector, the faecal immunochemical test kit (known as the FIT kit) is sent to adults aged between 60 and 74, who will be asked to collect a stool sample for examination.

It is centrally controlled via several hubs across the country, says our Consultant General Surgeon – and if the stool sample shows signs of blood, the patient is called in to have a colonoscopy, which is then done at one of the designated screening centres.

We offer to screen and reassure those patients who fall outside of the national screening age group.

Usually lasting around 30 minutes, consultations at BMI St Edmunds aim to offer the best route forward for patients who are concerned about any symptoms they are experiencing.

Our Consultant General Surgeon will take a medical history and will ask you about the issue you are experiencing.

You will receive a general health screening, which may involve your Consultant asking you about your gut function and health (including details about how often and what you are eating and drinking), and your bowel function (including the regularity of your bowel movements).

You may also be asked about your weight and your tummy, and your back passage may be examined.

Patients may need one of the following tests, too:

  • Sigmoidoscopy – an examination of the back passage (anus) using a rigid sigmoidoscope (a minimally invasive medical examination of the large intestine, via the rectum and through the nearest part of the colon)
  • Proctoscopy –a medical procedure which is performed often within the general surgery clinic here. It involves an instrument known as a proctoscope, which is used to look at the anal cavity and lower rectum

After the patient has been examined, the investigations are based either on blood tests, radiology tests (x-ray, ultrasound and/or CT scans) or an endoscopy (an umbrella term for the various procedures where a camera is used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity within the body).

Our Consultant may therefore arrange any of the following:

Once the patient has undergone any necessary tests, they will return for a review of the results, where a diagnosis is made, and further treatment or advice is given. Treatment for certain conditions, for example, piles, can be administered in the out-patient clinic.

Most private patients are referred to BMI St Edmunds from their GP – and our Consultant here will have access to medical details in the referral letter. Most private hospitals don’t have direct access to other hospital records in the form of letters, but they usually have access to blood tests and X-rays.

There are several reasons why you might choose BMI St Edmunds for your consultation. With 26 beds and all rooms offering the privacy and comfort of en-suite facilities, as well as TV and high-speed Wi-Fi and room service, you will feel right at home here.

Our department ensures you will receive the best of care before and after treatment. For surgery, there are three main theatres – one of which has been installed with lamina flow (clean air filter system) and one which is used for endoscopy and day case procedures.

Every specialist working at BMI is a fully accredited consultant, which means the services they provide undergo a rigorous process of appraisal and recommendation. Infection control at BMI St Edmunds is great, too – and you will be seen in a comfortable, clean, and modern environment, by a friendly and skilled Consultant.

Our Consultant looks after you, learns all about you - and will know you when you are returning for subsequent appointments or treatment.

You will have plenty of time to discuss concerns and worries and any examinations required will be as gentle and comfortable as possible. Patients will also be offered detailed patient information leaflets, which includes information on diagnosis and procedures.

BMI St Edmunds is one of the first private centres to receive JAG accreditation for GI endoscopy services, which analyses a range of key performance indicators for endoscopy and focuses on the quality of the journey for the patient. This accreditation is reviewed annually, and all the results submitted to the National Endoscopy Database.

Here are some more reasons why you might choose BMI St Edmunds for your consultation:

  • Reduced waiting times – Patients who visit BMI St Edmunds Hospital can, of course, benefit from a short to consultation or treatment.
  • Flexible appointments at a time to suit you – You can choose an appointment time to suit you and your schedule. In some cases, remote consultations will be offered.
  • Consultant-led appointments – Your appointment at BMI St Edmunds will always be consultant-led, and you will see the same person each time you visit.
  • Patient satisfaction and personalised care – In an independent survey* in 2020, 99% of our patients said they would recommend BMI St Edmunds Hospital, and the hospital has a CQC overall rating of ‘Good’. *Results compiled by healthcare agency, Quality Health.         

Our general surgery and colorectal clinic here at BMI St Edmunds Hospital covers a wide catchment area, with patients visiting from Bury St Edmunds itself, as well as from Norwich, Cambridge, Ipswich, and a host of other towns and cities in the region.

Want to make a consultation with our general surgeon at BMI St Edmunds Hospital? You can get in touch with our team by calling 01284 844636.

You can also use our handy online booking system to make your appointment.

Specialists Offering General surgery

Mr Neil Keeling

Consultant General Surgeon

MB, BS (Lond 1988), FRCS (Eng 1992), MS (Lond 1997), FRCS (Gen Surg 1998)

BMI St Edmunds Hospital

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