A colonoscopy with polyp removal is a medical procedure used to detect and remove abnormal growths. Polyps can vary in size and shape and, while most are benign, some can develop into colorectal cancer if left untreated.

Understanding how this procedure works, the reasons it may be necessary, and how to prepare for it can help ensure a smoother experience and better health outcomes.

What is a colonoscopy with polyp removal?

A colonoscopy with polyp removal, or a ‘polypectomy’, involves the use of a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope, which has a small camera and light at its tip. This instrument is gently inserted through the rectum and advanced through the colon, letting the doctor visually inspect the lining of the colon and rectum. If polyps or other abnormalities are detected, the doctor can use specialised tools passed through the colonoscope to remove them.

The removal of polyps, also known as polypectomy, is typically performed using a wire loop or snare that cuts the polyp off at its base. Sometimes, larger polyps may require additional techniques, such as injecting a liquid beneath the polyp to lift it away from the colon wall before removal.

The procedure is generally painless, as it is performed under sedation. After the polyps are removed, they are sent to a laboratory for further analysis to determine if they are benign, precancerous, or cancerous.

Reasons you may need polyps removed

There are several reasons why a colonoscopy with polyp removal may be recommended. One of the most common reasons is routine colorectal cancer screening. Early detection and removal of polyps can significantly reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. One study found that 38 percent of young adults (aged <40) who had polyps found on colonoscopy, actually had high-risk polyps.

Symptoms that may indicate a problem in the colon or rectum include unexplained weight loss, persistent abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, chronic constipation or diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, or blood in the stool. This can prompt a doctor to order a colonoscopy to investigate the cause and remove any polyps that may be found.

Those with a history of polyps or colorectal cancer may need regular colonoscopies to monitor for new polyps and detect recurrence. Certain inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, also increase the risk of polyps and colorectal cancer, making regular screenings necessary for these patients.

Are there any risks?

Like any surgical procedure, there is always a small chance of complications arising. As long as you follow your surgeon’s instructions, including how to prepare beforehand, then you should avoid any adverse reactions.

Your recovery will depend on your age and fitness as well as the nature of the procedure itself. Although there is a very low chance of complications after polyp removal, there is a small chance of bleeding and usually this will stop within a couple of weeks. If any polyps are discovered that are too large to remove at the time, then you may need to return for a repeat procedure.

If you need to schedule a colonoscopy or have concerns about your colorectal health, book an appointment with Mr Alan Woodward to receive expert care and guidance.

Lipomas are noncancerous soft, fatty lumps that grow under the skin. Typically, they are painless and slow-growing, and while they’re harmless, they can sometimes cause discomfort or concern due to their appearance.

Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body, but are mostly found on the neck, shoulders, arms, and back. While the exact cause of lipomas isn’t fully understood, certain factors are known to contribute to their development. Let’s explore these factors in a bit more detail.

Medical conditions

Lipomas tend to occur more frequently in people with specific medical conditions. Here are some of the key conditions associated with their development:

Gardner’s Syndrome – This is a genetic disorder that causes growths in different areas of the body, including lipomas. People with Gardner’s syndrome often develop multiple benign tumours.

Cowden Syndrome – Another genetic disorder, Cowden syndrome, is characterised by multiple noncancerous, tumour-like growths. Lipomas are a common occurrence in those who have this condition.

Madelung’s Disease – This rare disorder involves the growth of multiple lipomas around the neck and shoulders. It primarily affects middle-aged men, especially those with a history of alcohol abuse.

Adiposis Dolorosa – Also known as Dercum’s disease, this condition leads to painful lipomas throughout the body. The exact cause is unknown, but it tends to affect women more than men.

Genetics

In some rare cases, lipomas are linked to a faulty gene. This condition, known as familial multiple lipomatosis, is passed down from the parents. If you have a family history of lipomas, there’s a higher chance you might develop them too.

Familial multiple lipomatosis typically develops in adolescence or early adulthood, although lipomas can continue to appear throughout a person’s life. The lipomas associated with this genetic condition are usually noncancerous and grow slowly. However, the number of lipomas and their locations can vary.

Understanding your family’s medical history is crucial. If several family members have had lipomas, it’s worth discussing with your doctor. Early recognition of the genetic link can help in monitoring and managing lipomas effectively.

Injury

Research has shown that lipomas can sometimes develop following an injury. When the body experiences trauma, it can trigger the growth of these fatty lumps. For example, one study noted that lipomas could form in response to blunt force injuries, where the trauma might alter the fat cells, leading to a lipoma. Although this is not very common, it is a recognised cause.

Surgical removal of lipomas

If you have a lipoma and notice any changes, such as it growing in size, becoming painful, or turning into a hard lump, it is worth getting a confirmed diagnosis. If a lump is causing distress or is aesthetically displeasing, then you might consider a surgical excision.

This safe and straightforward procedure usually takes just 20 – 45 minutes, with a quick recovery and return to normal activities within a few days. There may be some scarring after, but with proper wound care, this can be kept to a minimum.

To find out more about the surgical removal of a lump, or a known lipoma, book an appointment with Mr Alan Woodward today.

Haemorrhoids, commonly known as piles, are swollen blood vessels in the anus and lower rectum area. About half the people in the UK develop one or more haemorrhoids at some stage.

Certain situations, such as constipation and pregnancy may contribute to haemorrhoids developing, with increased pressure around the anus. But ageing and hereditary factors can also play a part. They can be painless, but they can cause bleeding, discomfort, pain and itching.

Traditionally, haemorrhoids are treated with methods ranging from dietary changes and medicated creams to more invasive surgical procedures depending on their severity. However, there’s another technique known as the Rafaelo procedure that has shown to be a superior alternative, offering significant benefits over traditional methods.

Mr Alan Woodward is the only surgeon in Wales who offers the Rafaelo procedure. So, what is it and how does it work?

What is the Rafaelo procedure?

The Rafaelo procedure is a modern treatment approach that utilises radiofrequency energy to effectively treat haemorrhoids. This technique involves directing a controlled wave of radiofrequency energy to the haemorrhoid, which causes the blood vessels to shrink and the haemorrhoid to reduce significantly in size or disappear completely.

Mr Woodward performs the procedure under general anaesthetic, and it is especially beneficial for treating Grade 2 or Grade 3 haemorrhoids that permanently hang outside of the anus (prolapse) and may be quite large and causing distress.

What are the benefits of treating haemorrhoids with Rafaelo?

The Rafaelo technique has several benefits over other traditional haemorrhoid treatment methods, making it an attractive option for many patients. Here’s a closer look at just some of these advantages:

A minimally invasive, quick procedure

One of the standout benefits of the Rafaelo procedure is its minimally invasive nature. Unlike conventional surgery, which can require extensive recovery time and carries risks of complications, the Rafaelo procedure is quick and straightforward. It can be performed in a clinic setting and usually takes less than 15 minutes.

This minimally invasive approach greatly reduces the risk of infection and complications, making it a safer choice for haemorrhoid treatment.

Very little pain

Patients who undergo the Rafaelo procedure report very little pain both during and after the treatment. This is a significant improvement over traditional surgical treatments, which can be quite painful and often require pain management with medications post-operation.

The Rafaelo technique minimises discomfort, making the patient’s experience much more comfortable.

Immediate return to daily activities

Another major benefit of the Rafaelo procedure is the ability to return to daily activities almost immediately. There is no need for an extended recovery period, which is commonly associated with more invasive surgical methods. Patients can resume their normal routine, including going back to work, within a few days of their procedure. This convenience is a crucial factor for many who cannot afford to take extended time off from their responsibilities.

The Rafaelo procedure represents a significant advancement in the treatment of haemorrhoids, providing a quick and effective solution with minimal downtime.

If you have haemorrhoids and would like to see if the Rafaelo technique could be the best option for you, schedule an appointment with Mr Alan Woodward today.

Skin lumps and bumps can manifest for various reasons, including cysts, lipomas, or benign tumours. While often harmless, these protrusions can cause discomfort, aesthetic concerns, or even potential health risks if left untreated.

At Alan Woodward Surgical Group, our approach focuses on thorough evaluation, personalised care, and minimally invasive techniques to ensure optimal outcomes for our patients.

During the excision procedure, you can expect meticulous surgical techniques to remove any targeted skin irregularities while preserving surrounding tissues. Any concerning lumps will be analysed by skin experts and appropriately followed-up.

Precise removal for optimum cosmetic outcomes

The process begins with a detailed consultation, where the patient’s medical history and specific concerns are thoroughly discussed.

Once the treatment plan is tailored to the patient’s unique needs, the surgical excision commences under local anaesthesia, ensuring comfort and safety throughout the procedure. Mr Woodward’s surgical expertise enables precise removal of the targeted lumps or bumps, with meticulous attention to cosmetic outcomes.

Postoperative care is paramount in ensuring a smooth recovery and optimal results. Mr Woodward and his team provide comprehensive instructions and support to facilitate healing and minimise discomfort. Follow-up appointments are scheduled to monitor progress and to address any concerns.

Any suspicious lesions with cause for concern will be sent away for analysis, and there may be an onward referral depending on the results.

Find out more about excision of skin lumps and bumps

To learn more about the excision of skin lumps and bumps, visit our new webpage here – awsg.co.uk/excision-of-skin-lumps-and-bumps/.

If it has been recommended that you undergo an excision of a skin lump or bump, schedule an appointment with Mr Woodward to learn more about what to expect. He will address any concerns you may have and help to put your mind at ease.

To book an appointment, call 01443 449277.

The World Health Organization’s cancer agency has recently highlighted a clear link between alcohol consumption and colorectal cancer risk. While the research showed some inconsistencies, there was limited evidence to show reducing or eliminating alcohol can notably decrease colorectal cancer risk.

Here we’ll explore the findings of the report, examine how alcohol fuels cancer risk, and outline the health perks of cutting back.

Studies suggests cutting out or limiting alcohol reduces cancer risk

After analysing numerous studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found that there’s a consistent thread: limiting or stopping alcohol intake can lower the risk of certain cancers, particularly colorectal cancer.

Although the evidence varies, there is limited evidence to support that limiting alcohol consumption reduces the risk of colorectal, breast, and laryngeal cancers. Interestingly, an international pooled analysis consisting of 12 studies, revealed that quitting alcohol and smoking could significantly cut colorectal cancer risk.

Abstaining from alcohol for extended periods was also linked to a substantial decrease in risk, with up to a 55% reduction for those who quit for 20 years.

How does alcohol contribute to cancer risk?

Alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for several types of cancer, including colorectal cancer. There are various ways it can increase the risk such as damaging the lining of the digestive tract, making it easier for carcinogens to cause mutations in the DNA. It can also affect the body’s ability to process and absorb various nutrients, including vitamin B, which plays a role in cell health and division.

Alcohol metabolization results in acetaldehyde – a toxic chemical and probable human carcinogen that can damage DNA and proteins within the body. Alcohol can also increase the levels of certain hormones, such as oestrogen, which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

For colorectal cancer specifically, alcohol may promote inflammation in the gut, leading to changes that could increase cancer risk.

The benefits of quitting or limiting alcohol intake

Scaling back on alcohol reduces the risk of cancer and brings a host of other health benefits too. Reducing alcohol consumption can lead to better liver health, improved sleep, lower blood pressure, and potential weight loss due to the high calorie content of many alcoholic beverages. It’s great for your mental health too. Cutting down on alcohol can boost mental clarity, reduce the risk of dependency, and generally improve life quality.

So, while the connection between alcohol and colorectal cancer may have some gaps in research, current evidence suggests reducing or eliminating alcohol intake does lower the risk. Even modest reductions can have significant health advantages.

If you’re concerned about your risk of developing colorectal cancer, or you want to take a proactive approach to reducing the risk, schedule an appointment with Mr Alan Woodward today.

Recent data from the American Cancer Society has revealed colorectal cancer is increasingly affecting younger adults. It has become the leading cause of cancer deaths in men under 50, and the second leading cause in women under 50.

Here we’ll explore the nature of colorectal cancer and why it is increasingly affecting younger patients.

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. These cancers can be referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they originate.

Most of these cancers begin as growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum, called polyps. Not all polyps become cancerous, but certain types, like adenomatous polyps, have a higher risk of turning into cancer over time.

This type of cancer usually develops gradually, and symptoms can include changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, abdominal discomfort, and weight loss. However, early stages of the disease may not present any symptoms, making regular screening vital for early detection and successful treatment.

Why are colorectal cancer cases in young adults rising?

The increasing number of cases of colorectal cancer in young adults is a complex issue, with several contributing factors.

Experts believe that lifestyle factors such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and dietary choices, including consumption of red or processed meat and alcohol, all play a significant role. These factors can lead to chronic inflammation, which is known to increase the risk of cancer. Changes in the gut microbiome due to diet and environmental factors may also contribute to rising cases.

Another critical aspect is the lack of routine screening in younger adults. Unlike older adults, who are commonly screened for colorectal cancer, younger patients aren’t regularly checked, leading to delayed diagnoses.

This means that when young adults are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, it is often at a more advanced stage, which can be harder to treat.

Screening for younger patients

With colorectal cancer cases on the rise in younger populations, it’s crucial to start regular screening at an earlier age. In England and Wales, you are invited for a screening from the age of 60, and this programme is being extended to include those aged from 50-59. Screening methods, such as colonoscopies, flexible sigmoidoscopy or scans, can detect polyps before they turn into cancer, helping to prevent the disease.

For younger adults aged under 50, especially those with risk factors such as a family history of colorectal cancer, genetic predispositions, or chronic inflammatory conditions, early screening is crucial. Early screening can lead to less aggressive treatment options, which can have a profound impact on the quality of life for patients.

If you are concerned about your risk of developing colorectal cancer, help is available. Scheduling an appointment with a specialist, such as Mr Alan Woodward, can provide you with various screening options, and help in early detection.

Chronic diarrhoea can be a distressing and uncomfortable issue that can indicate a range of health issues. While most of the time, it points to a digestive condition, there are cases where it may be something more sinister.

Here, we’ll explore what chronic diarrhoea is, its common causes, and whether it could be a sign of cancer.

What is chronic diarrhoea?

Chronic diarrhoea refers to loose, watery stools that typically persist for more than four weeks. It can lead to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies due to the frequent loss of fluids and essential minerals.

Chronic diarrhoea differs from acute diarrhoea in its duration and potential underlying causes. While acute diarrhoea is often caused by infections or dietary factors and resolves quickly, chronic diarrhoea suggests a more persistent underlying issue.

The condition causes more than just physical discomfort, potentially affecting quality of life. It can interfere with daily activities, lead to embarrassment and anxiety, and cause you to frequently need to go to the bathroom.

Common causes of diarrhoea

Although, understandably, chronic diarrhoea can be concerning, it’s important to note that it isn’t usually anything serious. The most common causes include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Food intolerances or allergies
  • Certain medications
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

Many of these common causes relate to the digestive system’s function or reaction to specific stimuli, such as food or medication. However, it is still worth seeking medical advice if the issue persists for more than two to three weeks.

When might I need a colonoscopy?

Sometimes, a colonoscopy may be needed to investigate whether the problem could be linked to an underlying health condition. It might be recommended if there’s unexplained weight loss, blood in the stool, or a family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel diseases.

A colonoscopy is a simple, painless procedure that lets the doctor examine the inner lining of your large intestine for abnormalities. They can also take tissue samples for a biopsy if needed.

Before undergoing the procedure, your symptoms, age, medical history, and risk factors will be assessed. For example, those aged over 50, or with a family history of gastrointestinal cancers, may be more commonly advised to have a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a valuable diagnostic tool not only for identifying potential causes of chronic diarrhoea, but also for early detection of more serious conditions, including colorectal cancer.

So, while most of the time chronic diarrhoea isn’t something to be overly worried about, it’s important to seek medical advice.

If you are experiencing chronic diarrhoea, book an appointment with Mr Alan Woodward today. After an initial assessment, the cause of the problem will be identified, and Mr Woodward will talk through the treatment options available.

The festive season is a time of joy, family, and, of course, indulgence in delicious food. However, if you overindulge, there’s a chance you could end up with indigestion.

If you want to enjoy Christmas without worrying about the pain of indigestion, here you’ll discover practical tips and advice. Also, when persistent indigestion might be a symptom of another underlying condition.

Which foods cause indigestion?

Various foods are known to cause indigestion, particularly around the festive season. The main culprits include:

  • Rich fatty foods
  • Spicy Foods
  • Sugary foods
  • Dairy products

Rich, fatty foods, like roasted meats, gravy, and buttery pastries can be challenging to digest. They may taste heavenly but can lead to a lot of discomfort if you consume too much of them. Similarly, spicy foods and those high in seasoning can trigger acid reflux or heartburn.

Sweets and desserts, while tempting, can also contribute, especially when consumed in large quantities. The high sugar content can cause bloating and an uncomfortable feeling of fullness.

Also, be mindful of dairy products if you’re lactose intolerant. The key is to enjoy these foods in moderation, rather than over-indulging.

How to treat indigestion

If indigestion does strike, there are several ways to get rid of the discomfort. First, try simple home remedies like sipping on peppermint tea or ginger tea, both known for their digestive benefits. Ginger can particularly help soothe the stomach and reduce feelings of nausea.

Staying hydrated also helps digestion, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. However, avoid drinking too much water during meals, as it can dilute stomach acid and hinder digestion.

Gentle physical activity, like a leisurely walk after a meal, can aid digestion. Probiotics, whether in food form like yoghurt or as supplements, can also help in maintaining a healthy gut, which is vital for smooth digestion.

Over-the-counter antacids can be effective for immediate relief, but they should be used sparingly.

Knowing when to seek help

While occasional indigestion is common, it’s important to recognise when it’s more than just a one-off occurrence. If you find yourself frequently experiencing issues, or if the symptoms are particularly severe, it’s a good idea to seek advice from a medical specialist with expertise in gastrointestinal conditions. Especially when it is accompanied by other symptoms like weight loss, difficulty swallowing, or persistent vomiting.

Chronic or severe indigestion can be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs treatment. Conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, or even gallbladder disease can manifest as indigestion.

Remember, while festive food and drink can cause some temporary discomfort, it’s important to take action when indigestion is persistent and becoming a cause for concern. By being mindful of what and how you eat, and knowing when to seek help, you can avoid letting indigestion dampen the festive spirit.

If your indigestion isn’t going away, schedule an appointment with Mr Alan Woodward.

The gallbladder, although not considered a vital organ, plays an important role in our digestive system. By storing bile and concentrating it, it aids the digestion of fats in food.

The foods we consume can either support the function of the gallbladder, or cause problems like gallstones and inflammation.

In this blog, we’ll explore the dietary guidelines you can follow to maintain a healthy gallbladder.

Plant based foods for a healthy gallbladder

Including more plant-based foods in your diet is a step in the right direction for your gallbladder health. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains aren’t just packed full of essential nutrients, but also in dietary fibre.

Dietary fibre aids in digestion and can help prevent the formation of gallstones. Additionally, adopting a diet rich in plant-based foods can boost your overall health, reducing the risk of many chronic diseases.

Avoid refined carbohydrates

Refined carbs, often found in white bread, sugary cereals, pastries, and processed foods, lack essential fibre and nutrients. Consuming these foods can lead to quick spikes and drops in blood sugar, adding stress to your body’s metabolic processes, including those of the gallbladder.

Opting for whole grains over refined grains, and reducing sugar intake, can make a noticeable difference in your gallbladder’s health and your overall well being.

Consume healthy fats in moderation

Fats are crucial for our body’s function; however, the type and quantity matter. It’s essential to choose sources of healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. At the same time, you should limit saturated and trans fats often found in fried foods, certain margarines, and processed snacks.

Consuming fats in moderation ensures your gallbladder doesn’t overwork itself, decreasing the risk of gallstones.

Avoid the gallbladder cleanse

While it may sound tempting, the gallbladder cleanse, sometimes referred to as a gallbladder flush or detox, isn’t backed up by science. It typically involves consuming a mixture of olive oil, herbs, and fruit juice, with claims of flushing out gallstones.

However, not only is its effectiveness questionable, but it could also be potentially harmful, leading to pain, nausea, vomiting, and other negative effects. It’s crucial to be wary of ‘quick fixes’ and instead rely on evidence-based approaches to care for your gallbladder.

By following these tips and maintaining your gallbladder health, it can help to improve overall wellness. It’s also worth pointing out that if you need to have your gallbladder removed, you may need to eat smaller meals for a few days and focus on a low-fat diet.

Mr Alan Woodward can help determine the best course of treatment for any gallbladder issues you are experiencing.

A gastroscopy is a valuable medical procedure that enables a thorough investigation of the upper segment of your digestive tract. This will help to diagnose any gastrointestinal conditions. If you’ve been scheduled for this procedure, it’s natural to have questions such as how you should prepare and what you can expect on the day of the test.

To help, in this blog you’ll discover everything you need to know prior to undergoing a gastroscopy procedure.

How do I start preparing for a Gastroscopy?

Before your scheduled gastroscopy, you’ll be asked to fast. This means you should avoid eating or drinking, typically for around six hours prior to the procedure. Water can be sipped until 2 hours before the procedure. An empty stomach ensures the surgeon can get a clear view of what’s going on and reduces the risk of complications.

You should also inform the surgeon about any medications you’re currently taking, especially blood thinners or diabetes medications. You may need to adjust dosages or stop taking the medication before the procedure.

It’s crucial to provide your consultant with a complete health overview, so they’re aware of any allergies or conditions that might impact the procedure.

What happens during a Gastroscopy?

During a gastroscopy, you’ll be asked to lie down, and a mouth guard will typically be provided. The main tool used in this procedure is the gastroscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera at its end. This is gently passed down your throat, into your oesophagus, and then further down to your stomach and duodenum.

The camera transmits images to a monitor, allowing these areas to be examined in detail. The procedure is relatively quick, often completed within 15 to 20 minutes.

While it may cause some discomfort, it shouldn’t be painful. Some people experience a sensation of fullness or a need to gag, but these feelings are temporary.

Can I have a sedative before a Gastroscopy?

If you’re apprehensive about the procedure or wish to be more relaxed while it is being performed, a sedative can be administered. This won’t put you to sleep entirely, but it will make you feel drowsy and relaxed.

The sedative medication is usually given as an injection into the arm. If you opt for a sedative, it’s essential to note that its effects can linger for a while. This means you’ll need someone to take you home after the procedure.

Driving, operating machinery, and making important decisions are not recommended for at least 24 hours post-sedation. Discuss any concerns with your consultant, and they will guide you on the best options for your comfort and safety.

If it has been recommended that you undergo a gastroscopy, schedule an appointment with Mr Woodward to learn more about what to expect. He will address any concerns you may have and help to put your mind at ease.

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