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Module: Gastrointestinal Surgery

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'Common things occur commonly...'


Peter Devitt
Head, Professorial Surgical Unit
Royal Adelaide Hospital


This tutorial has been designed to give a clinical perspective to what is an extremely common condition in western communities. If not done so already, it is suggested that the tutorial on 'The Biliary System' is studied first.

It is estimated that 30% of women and 10% of men in many parts of the developed world will develop gallstones over their lifetime. These estimates vary as most individuals will never have any problems related to their stones, but for those that do, the consequent complications represent a large burden on the health services. In the United States, gallstone disease is one of the leading causes of hospital admissions in the area of gastrointestinal problems. The impact on the health dollar is considerable and it has been estimated that 500,000 cholecystectomies have been performed in the US, with a total cost exceeding five billion dollars.

This tutorial first looks at some of the issues of clinical decision-making, with an explanation for the rationale for arriving at a particular diagnosis or management decision, whilst giving emphasis to the essential underlying basic science.

The case to be discussed in this tutorial is a common surgical problem and one that most doctors will come across frequently in both their training and in their established careers.

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