Given the complexity of the GI tract and the overlapping symptoms for many conditions, an accurate diagnosis is vital to making sure you receive the most appropriate treatment.
When you first meet with your consultant at BMI The Park Hospital, they will take a detailed medical history and will discuss your symptoms with you. They will want to know things like:
- What symptoms do you have?
- When did these symptoms first appear?
- Have your symptoms been getting worse?
- Do you have any pain in the abdomen? If so, can you describe it?
- Does anything (food, movement etc.) make your symptoms worse?
A physical examination may also be carried out.
Hernias are often quite straightforward to diagnose, as a lump will be visible where the hernia is. If a skin lesion is just under the skin, a surface excision can be planned to remove it. For more extensive lesions, we may refer you to our colleagues in dermatology.
Many potential problems within the GI tract are most easily investigated with an endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at one end. The camera transmits a live feed to an external monitor.
Depending on where you’re experiencing your symptoms, you may need to have a Gastroscopy or Colonoscopy to investigate. If any of these are required, they will be arranged for you at BMI The Park Hospital at the earliest opportunity.
- A gastroscopy is used to examine the upper part of the GI tract. The endoscope is introduced into the body through the mouth and moved down the oesophagus, into the stomach and then to the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).
- A colonoscopy looks at the lower part of the GI tract. The endoscope is inserted into the rectum and moved along the large intestine and into the small intestine.
With both of these endoscopic investigations, your consultant is able to check the inside of the GI tract for any abnormalities such as swellings, bumps or narrowed sections of the GI tract.
If they see an area that warrants further investigation, they may take a biopsy. This involves removing a small sample of tissue which is then sent for examination under a microscope
Additional investigations can also be helpful for some conditions, including CT, MRI, ultrasound and X-ray. These can all be very easily arranged for you at the hospital
Once any results are back, your consultant will formulate up a personalised treatment plan for your condition and discuss it with you. Treatment may involve:
- Watchful waiting
If surgery is required, whether minor or more involved, this will be arranged for you at the earliest opportunity. The Consultant General Surgeons at BMI The Park Hospital provide a range of surgical options, including laparoscopic (keyhole) repair of hernias and surgery for the gall bladder.
Our on-site Critical Care facilities mean that surgery of all types, including the extremely complex, can be safely carried out at the hospital.