Gastrointestinal surgery includes the examination and treatment of various surgical diseases of the digestive tract from the oesophagus to rectum, and surgical diseases of the liver, biliary ducts, and pancreas. Gastrointestinal disease also addresses diseases in some organs that are not a part of the digestive tract, such as the diseases of spleen and the hernias in the abdominal wall, for example.
Gastrointestinal surgery is applied to several common cancers, such as stomach, pancreatic, liver, and colonic cancers. In addition to these, gastrointestinal surgery is applied to treat non-surgical diseases, e.g. pancreatitis.
Some of the conservatively (non-surgically) treated diseases of the digestive tract are handled by both gastrointestinal surgeons and gastroenterologists, often in collaboration. These diseases include reflux disease, gastric ulceration, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Gastrointestinal surgeons treat diseases of the abdominal cavity either by open surgery or by endoscopic methods. The surgeries performed include neoplastic, biliary, hernia, and bariatric surgeries as well as robotic surgery. A majority of surgeries are emergency surgeries. Typical diseases requiring emergency surgery include appendicitis and cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder). Various intestinal obstructions, perfuration, and strangulations often require emergency surgery.
Gastroenterological surgery is a varied, traditional surgical field. Research topics in gastrointestinal surgery include cancer surgery, pain management, treatment of obesity, and the effectiveness of robotic surgery, among others.
The staff is trained in the use of modern equipment and methods. Patients with gastrointestinal stomata are advised by a nurse specialised in stoma care. Professionals and students from other fields are involved in treatments.