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General surgery

General surgery is a wide-ranging area of medicine focusing on many parts of the body, but with special interest in the abdomen area and vascular procedures

General surgeons have experience with a wide range of issues, particularly related to the abdomen and gastrointestinal tract. 

A number of concerning symptoms can arise when something goes wrong in your digestive system, and you’ll understandably want answers fast. A full diagnosis is needed if you’ve been experiencing anything from pain in your abdomen, to changes in your bowel habits, making our quick-access appointments of huge benefit to our patients at BMI Ridgeway.  

Some of the other aspects of General Surgery we see commonly at Ridgeway include: 

  • Lumps and bumps 
  • Hernia 
  • Skin lesions 
  • Boils 
  • Sebaceous cysts (non-cancerous, liquid-filled abnormality) 

Hernias can occur when the internal tissue pushes through a weakness in the muscle wall. Apart from noticing the lump or swelling, you may have no further symptoms.  

If you have a hernia, you will see one of our general surgeons for advice and treatment, which may include an operation to fix it.  

Our general surgeons specialise in all types of hernia, including: 

  • Inguinal hernia (around your groin) 
  • Epigastric hernia (around your stomach) 
  • Umbilical and Paraumbilical hernias (around the navel/belly button) 
  • Incisional hernia (from a previous incision or operation) 
  • Ventral hernia (along the vertical centre of the abdominal wall) 

General surgery also deals with issues with the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). This encompasses a wide range of organs and is broken down as follows: 

Upper GI 
The gullet, looking at reflux and acid problems 
Dealing with problems of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder (e.g. gallstones) 

Lower GI 
Large intestines, and problems relating to the bowel, anus, and rectum (e.g. bowel cancer, prolapse, fissures, and haemorrhoids)  

You should consider booking an appointment with us if you have any of the following symptoms: 

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Lumps in the abdomen or around the anus 
  • Change in bowel habits 
  • Rectal bleeding 
  • Blood in your stool 
  • Bloating and distention 
  • Loss of weight or appetite, general fatigue 
  • Piles of haemorrhoids 

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the condition you are diagnosed with, treatments can range from conversative measures to corrective surgery. 

Your consultant can advise on any lifestyle factors that may improve your condition or help prevent reoccurrences in the future, such as weight loss, exercise adjustment, or a change in toiletry habits. 

Some hernias may cause no issue, so no further treatment may be advised. Certain types of hernia require surgery, especially as they can worsen and get bigger over time. An open hernia repair may be considered, allowing your surgeon to push the tissue back into place and mend the abdominal wall. Occasionally, this surgery can be done laparoscopically, using a thin tube with a camera and light on the end, through a small incision. 

If you have been advised to have regular checks, such as a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy every few years, these can be offered in a timely fashion. Your consultant can then discuss the results in detail with you, explaining any further treatment or surgeries if appropriate. 

Haemorrhoids can be treated in a number of ways, such as: 
  • Banding (where a rubber band is wrapped around the haemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply, causing it to fall off – available as a day case procedure) 
  • Injections (where chemicals are injected into the haemorrhoid to cause it to shrink)  
  • HALO procedure (Haemorrhoid Artery Ligation Operation, under ultrasound guidance) 
  • Excisional Surgery
Whatever your condition, our Consultants have extensive experience dealing with the entire spectrum of General Surgery concerns, offering exemplary care to patients based in Swindon, Hungerford, Reading, Cirencester, Gloucester, and even further afield. 

Your first visit to BMI Ridgeway will be focused on establishing an accurate diagnosis to allow your consultant to form a treatment plan. At an initial consultation, your consultant will take a detailed medical history and will ask about the various symptoms you have been experiencing. They will want to know: 

  • What are your symptoms? 
  • How long have you had these symptoms? 
  • Have your symptoms become progressively worse? 
  • Does anything cause your symptoms to flare up? 
  • Have you had similar issues in the past? 
  • Are you currently taking any medication? 

This will be followed by a physical examination, where your consultant will wish to assess your abdomen, especially for suspected hernias or when you present with abdominal pain. 

When symptoms are present that could indicate a number of conditions, diagnosis normally involves an investigative test or endoscopic procedure. Depending on whether your symptoms are primarily related to the upper or lower GI tract, this will most likely be either a Gastroscopy (down the gullet) or a Colonoscopy (to assess the lower bowel, via the rectum). These can be booked for a later date, as they require some preparation, such as a course of laxatives to clear the bowel beforehand. 

A proctoscope can be used to assess the rectum or anus if you are having back passage issues, such as haemorrhoids, as this can be done in the clinic at the time of your initial consultation. 

These investigative procedures allow your consultant to plan the next steps forward, and at a follow-up appointment they can explain your diagnosis alongside outlining all your treatment options. 

Unless you have a condition that absolutely needs definitive surgery, you will be given choices on how you wish to proceed, and your consultant can set expectations for recovery, allowing you to make an informed decision. This collaborative approach ensures that you the patient are always in full control of your healthcare.  

Choosing to have your General Surgery at BMI Ridgeway comes with a host of benefits, such as: 

Assessments ASAP – Certain conditions are best diagnosed at the earliest possible stage. If you’ve been experiencing any of the associated symptoms, our General surgeons can see you for an assessment without delay, getting you an accurate diagnosis rapidly (with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment) and the necessary treatment before your symptoms progress any further. 

Patient Satisfaction –
96.4% of patients in 2020 said they would happily recommend Ridgeway Hospital to friends and family in an independent report, and we’re confident that you’ll agree. 96.3% also said that the quality of care here at Ridgeway Hospital was either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. We aim to make your stay with us as comfortable as possible, and these results highlight our continued efforts to ensure this is achieved. 

Personalised Care – We believe in a bespoke approach to treatment, tailoring each experience to our patients’ needs and whatever may be best for you. This is regularly reviewed, ensuring you get the necessary treatment at every stage of your patient journey. 

Consultant-led, Consultant-delivered – Once you have chosen your consultant, you will see them right the way through your journey at BMI Ridgeway. From the initial consultation to follow-ups, explaining any necessary procedures and carrying out the procedures themselves, you are assured the highest level of care and top-quality service from experienced specialists in the field.  

A Multidisciplinary Approach –
Our teams at Ridgeway work in tandem with each other to provide you with the best possible care from start to finish. Working closely with colleagues in a range of specialties, alongside specialist radiographers, anaesthetists, and nurses, your consultants have access to a wide network for complex issues, ensuring you have expert support every step of the way during your treatment. 

Convenient Appointments –
With appointments available at dedicated clinics from Monday to Saturday, you are sure to find an appointment slot that suits your needs and availability.  

Ease of Access - Situated just along from Swindon bus station, Ridgeway Hospital is easily accessible by public transport, with ample parking should you visit us by car. 

For peace of mind and expert care, please contact Ridgeway to book an appointment now. 

Specialists Offering General surgery

Ms Anushka Chaudhry

Consultant Breast and Oncoplastic Surgeon

MBBS, FRCS (Gen Surg)

BMI The Ridgeway Hospital

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Mr Richard F Payne

Consultant General Surgeon

MBBS, BSC, MS, FRCS

BMI The Ridgeway Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Nathan John Coombs

Consultant General Surgeon

BSc(Hons), B.M, FRCS(Eng), FRCS(Gen Surg)

BMI The Ridgeway Hospital

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Mr Roy N Lawrence

Consultant General Surgeon

MB ChB, FRCS

BMI The Ridgeway Hospital

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