Anal fissures are small tears or cracks of the skin around your anus and anus canal. They are often associated with the passage of particularly hard stools, constipation and childbirth. An anal fissure can be very painful during and following bowel movements. You may also have bleeding when you pass stools and itching around the anus.
An anal fissure is often an acute condition and heals quickly on its own. It becomes a chronic anal fissure if it lasts for six weeks. Your general surgeon may suggest diagnostic tests such as a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Home remedies such as increasing fibre in your diet and medications will be recommended at first but if these don’t work then surgery will be offered.
A lateral internal sphincterotomy (LIT) is a short and straightforward operation that involves cutting a small portion of the anal sphincter muscle whilst under general anaesthetic. It reduces spasm and pain in your anal canal and promotes healing of the fissure. Surgery is the most effective treatment for chronic anal fissures.
Anal fistulas are small tunnels with an internal opening in the anal canal and an external opening in the skin around the anus. Typically, an anal fistula develops when the pus drains away after an anal abscess and it doesn’t heal properly.
People with an anal fistula describe symptoms including: a constant throbbing pain around the anus that is worsened when sitting, swelling, redness and skin irritation around the anus and, passing pus or blood during bowel movements.
Surgery is often used to treat an anal fistula. The surgical options include: fistulotomy (cutting open the fistula to allow it to heal into a flat scar) and seton procedures (use of surgical thread called a seton which is left on the fistula for several weeks to aid healing). Non-surgical options are fibrin glue or collagen plug that will seal and close the fistula tract.
Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are a common problem. They are cushions or swellings inside or around your lower rectum and anus caused by enlarged or swollen blood vessels. The swelling of these blood vessels are often a result of straining to pass a stool.
Symptoms of haemorrhoids include: bleeding when passing stools, an itchy feeling around the anus and pain. Often haemorrhoids are not very serious and can be treated successfully with medicines and a high fibre diet. Other non-surgical procedures such as banding and sclerotherapy may be recommended for haemorrhoids that are in the upper part of your anal canal.
In more severe cases, surgery may be required to treat piles. There are many surgical options for haemorrhoids that involve either removing the haemorrhoids or reducing their blood supply so that they shrink. Here at Berkshire Independent Hospital we offer modern techniques including the new operation called Haemorrhoidal Artery Ligation Operation (HALO) which reduces the flow of blood to the haemorrhoids.
A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through the wall of a cavity in which it’s normally situated. This causes a bulge or swelling. Hernias can appear anywhere on your body but most often they occur between your chest and hips.
There are a number of different types of hernia. An inguinal hernia is the most common and occurs when part of your bowel squeezes through your lower abdomen into your groin. A femoral hernia occurs when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pushes through into the groin at the top of your inner thigh. A hiatus hernia happens when part of your stomach pushes up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm. An umbilical hernia is when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pushes through the abdomen close to your navel.
Not all hernias require surgery but it is recommended for some types of hernia to prevent complications. The standard treatment is hernia-repair surgery, called herniorrhaphy. Your general surgeon will discuss your treatment options with you.
Lipomas are soft, fatty and benign lumps that appear under the skin due to an overgrowth of fat cells. They can grow anywhere in your body where there are fat cells. They are often seen on the shoulders, neck, chest, back, bottom, thigh and arms.
They can be large or small and are usually painless. Large lipomas can cause embarrassment and self-consciousness. The NHS doesn’t offer aesthetic treatment of lipomas. At Berkshire Independent Hospital we remove lipomas for both aesthetic and medical reasons.
Removal of lumps and bumps
Lumps and bumps can grow in most parts of the body. More often they are benign but there is a chance they could be malignant and for peace of mind it’s recommended to get them checked out by a consultant sooner rather than later.
Moles come in many shapes, sizes and colours. Again they are often harmless but if you notice any changes in colour or shape or, if you have skin irritation, then you should seek immediate medical attention.
Lumps, bumps and moles are all classified as skin lesions. They aren’t routinely treated on the NHS for aesthetic reasons. Berkshire Independent Hospital will treat benign skin lesions for aesthetic purposes as we understand the emotional distress they can cause.
Skin lesions are normally removed under local anaesthetic. There are a number of surgical options available depending upon the size, shape and location of the skin lesion.
A pilonidal sinus often appears near the top of your buttocks. It’s an abnormal cavity in the skin that typically occurs when hair punctures your skin and then becomes embedded. Sometimes it can become infected and a painful abscess may develop.
An infected pilonidal sinus is likely to require surgery. Options include draining the pilonidal sinus through a small incision, surgically removing it or sealing it using fibrin glue.
Removal of gall bladder
Your gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ that resides in the upper right part of your tummy. Its function is to collect and store bile, a liquid that helps your body to digest food. Your gall bladder isn’t needed by your body so if you develop gallstones, or it becomes diseased or damaged then it it’s likely to be recommended for removal.
Gall stones can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting and jaundice. They are the most common reason for gall bladder removal. Gall stones are small stones that develop in your gall bladder due to an imbalance in your bile make up.
Gall bladder removal is typically performed using minimally invasive surgery under general anaesthetic.