Our Services: General Surgery

General Surgery

The 32 bed general surgical ward at North Shore Private Hospital cares for patients undergoing a wide range of surgical procedures. These include:

  • Upper Gastrointestinal
  • Hepato-Biliary
  • Colorectal
  • Gynaecology
  • Chemotherapy
  • Breast
  • Urology

Some patients may be admitted to this ward for the medical treatment of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease

Upper Gastrointestinal Procedures

The procedures performed at NSPH include:

Oesophagectomy - An oesophagectomy is a surgical procedure which removes part or most of the oesophagus

Hiatus Hernia Repair - A hiatal hernia occurs when the normal opening in the diaphragm is too large. If the problem is not repaired, the stomach or other abdominal contents may bulge (herniate) into the chest, causing heartburn (acid reflux) and serious damage to the esophagus.

For an open hiatal hernia repair, a cut is made in the stomach area (abdomen) while the patient is under general anesthesia. The surgeon tightens the hiatus. The upper part of the stomach (fundus) may be wrapped around the oesophagus (fundoplication) to reduce heartburn due to acid reflux.

In some patients, this operation can also be done with a laparoscope - a method called "keyhole" surgery. A laparoscope is a thin, hollow tube with a mini-camera on the end. Surgical tools can be sent through the laparoscope. Laparoscopic procedures use smaller cuts than open surgery, which results in less pain and scarring and shorter hospital stays.

Gastrectomy - gastrectomy is a partial or full surgical removal of the stomach

Lap Banding - Surgery to reduce the size of the stomach to help obese people lose weight

Sleeve Gastrectomy - Sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 15% of its original size, by surgical removal of a large portion of the stomach. The procedure permanently reduces the size of the stomach. The procedure is performed laparoscopically and is not reversible.

Hepato-Biliary procedures

Hepatectomy (Liver surgery) – This involves surgical removal of a part of the liver and this is usually done for the treatment of malignant tumours. The surgeons at North Shore Private Hospital have a large experience with this complex surgery and are able to offer this procedure safely. The risk of requiring a blood transfusion following this major intra-abdominal surgery is less than 8% and most patients are discharged from hospital within seven days of their operation. Increasingly, the surgeons at NSPH are performing this as “keyhole” surgery which reduces the hospital stay and post-operative discomfort as well as speeding up the recovery of patients.

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy - a minimally invasive keyhole procedure used to remove the gall bladder when patients suffer from gallstones. The Upper GI surgeons performing this operation are specially trained to do this operation and have extremely low complication rates. The majority of patients stay in hospital for less than 24hrs. The upper GI surgeons are also able to remove stones from the main bile duct during the same “keyhole’ procedure. This is a highly specialised procedure that means patients can avoid the need for another endoscopic procedure in the event that these stones are found unexpectedly.

Pancreatectomy - A pancreatectomy is the surgical removal of a part of the pancreas. A pancreatectomy may be total, in which case the entire organ is removed, usually along with the spleen, gallbladder, common bile duct, and portions of the small intestine and stomach. A pancreatectomy may also be distal, meaning that only the body and tail of the pancreas are removed, leaving the head of the organ attached. When the duodenum is removed along with all or part of the pancreas, the procedure is called a pancreaticoduodenectomy, which surgeons sometimes refer to as "Whipple's procedure." Pancreaticoduodenectomies are increasingly used to treat a variety of malignant and benign diseases of the pancreas.

Other procedures offered

Splenectomy – This involves removal of the spleen and is most often performed for the treatment of patients with haematological conditions. In most cases, this can be done as a “keyhole” procedure as long as the spleen is not too large. Patients usually remain in hospital for 3-5 days following this operation.

Hernia Surgery – Hernias are defects in the abdominal wall that often cause pain, discomfort and unsightly cosmetic deformity. The only known treatment is surgical where the defect is fixed by placement of a piece of mesh. The most common types are inguinal and incisional. The surgeons at NSPH offer day only “open” and 24hr “keyhole” procedures for inguinal hernias. All of the Upper GI surgeons are trained in “keyhole” surgery for treating complex insicional hernias.

Colorectal procedures

Anterior resection - Most people with rectal cancer are able to have a low or ultra-low anterior resection to remove their cancer. These operations remove the part of the bowel where the cancer is, then join the two ends of the bowel together.

Hemi colectomy - A colectomy is surgery for inflammatory diseases or cancer in the colon. It removes the part of the colon containing the cancer, and then rejoins the two ends of the colon.

TEMS procedure - TEMS stands for Transanal Endoscopic MicroSurgery.
It is an operating system which allows surgery to be performed within the back passage (rectum) using a special microscope to remove benign polyps.

There are usually no incisions or external scars. This operation means that more of these polyps can be removed completely without major surgery. Occasionally it is used to remove small cancers from the rectum without relying on major surgery either because the cancer is very early or because the operation is safer than major surgery

Haemorrhoidectomy - surgery to remove haemorrhoids. Incisions are made in the tissue around the haemorrhoid. The swollen vein inside the haemorrhoid is tied off to prevent bleeding, and the haemorrhoid is removed. The surgical area may be sewn closed or left open. Medicated gauze covers the wound.

Gynaecological procedures

Total Abdominal Hysterectomy - removal of the uterus and cervix. The ovaries and tubes remain..

Radical debulking - surgery performed for cancer of the ovaries. The surgery typically involves total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophrectomy and omenectomy. It may also include resection of segments of small and large bowel.

TVT - trans-vaginal tape, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for treatment of female stress incontinence. The tape is surgically inserted through a small incision in the vagina and then it is woven through pelvic tissue and positioned underneath the urethra. The tape is then pulled up through two tiny incisions in the skin's surface just above the pubic area. As it passes through several pelvic tissue layers, friction is created which initially holds the tape in place (like velcro). Over time your body tissue grows into the mesh which permanently secures it.


Chemotherapy uses drugs – cytotoxics - to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.

There are many different types of chemotherapy drugs. Sometimes only one drug is used but most people are given a number of drugs at the same time (combination treatment).

The type of chemotherapy given depends on several factors including: the type of cancer, where in the body it started, what the cancer cells look like under the microscope and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Breast Surgery

Mastectomy - surgical removal of one or both breasts

Wide local excision and sentinel node biopsy - Sentinel node biopsy is a surgical technique which involves the removal of only the first one or more lymph nodes where the cancer is most likely to have spread. If cancer is found in the sentinel node, the surgeon will remove more lymph nodes (axillary clearance).

Click here for a list of general surgeons

Useful Information

The National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre

Cancer Council Australia

Cancer Council NSW

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