THE GALLBLADDER CLINIC IN BIRMINGHAM
Is a specialist gallbladder clinic run by three experienced Consultant Upper GI Surgeons who regularly perform cholecystectomy and manage patients with gallstone disease. All three consultants work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham as well as providing a private practice at the Birmingham Private Hospitals.
When you book an appointment your surgeon will take a detailed medical history, examine you, and order investigations to assess your gallbladder and your fitness for surgery. They will then recommend the best surgery for your needs. Often this will be a keyhole or laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Most people can have minimally-invasive surgery to remove the gallbladder. Keyhole surgery offers a smaller scars, quicker discharge, and a faster recovery.
OUR TOP SPECIALISTS
Mr Max AlmondBirmingham Based Consultant Surgeon
Mr Almond works as an NHS Consultant Surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham. He is a specialist in treating patients with gallstones and gallbladder pathology and regularly performs cholecystectomy with or without intra-operative cholangiography. He performs advanced keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery for gallstone disease but is also highly skilled at open gallbladder surgery. Mr Almond also performs highly specialist endoscopic treatment for gallstones that have migrated into the bile ducts. He is the only surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to provide this service. This procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) enables removal of bile duct stones without the need for surgical incisions in the abdomen. He received specialist training in this procedure whilst on Fellowships to Harvard University, Boston; the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; and the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, US. Mr Almond completed subspecialty training in upper gastrointestinal and pancreaticobiliary surgery and then gained further specialist experience in abdominal and retroperitoneal sarcoma surgery through additional Fellowships to the Istitutio Dei Tumori, Milan and the Royal Marsden Hospital, London. In 2010 Mr Almond was granted a prestigious Royal College of Surgeons Research Fellowship. He was subsequently awarded a Doctorate of Medicine following his research into early detection and treatment of oesophageal cancer. He has published more than 70 research articles and book chapters including a leading article on post-operative recovery following gallbladder surgery. Mr Almond also specialises in the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas, neuroendocrine tumours, hiatal hernias, acid reflux, abdominal wall hernias, and performs upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy.
Mr Sam FordBirmingham and Worcester Based Consultant Surgeon
Mr Samuel Ford works as an NHS Consultant Surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham. He is a specialist in treating patients with gallstones and gallbladder pathology and regularly performs cholecystectomy with or without intra-operative cholangiography. He performs advanced keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery for gallstone disease but is also highly skilled at open gallbladder surgery. Mr Ford trained in general and upper GI surgery in the South West and after completion of training in 2014 undertook further specialist Fellowships in sarcoma surgery in Birmingham and Milan. Mr Ford was awarded a PhD in cancer biology from the University of Birmingham following a highly competitive Cancer Research UK Clinical Research Fellowship. His research portfolio is centred on optimising outcomes for patients with soft tissue sarcoma and he has contributed to international consensus statements and published papers on the management of sarcoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) and neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). Mr Ford is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Mr Ford is also a specialist in the management of benign disease, especially hiatal hernias, acid reflux, gallstones, abdominal wall hernias and lipomas.
Mr Ewen GriffithsBirmingham Based Consultant Upper GI Surgeon
Mr Ewen Griffiths works as NHS Consultant Surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham. He is a specialist in treating patients with gallstones and gallbladder pathology and regularly performs cholecystectomy with or without intra-operative cholangiography. He can perform the operation with advanced keyhole techniques, but is also skilled at removing the gallbladder as an open procedure. Mr Griffiths graduated MB ChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) from Dundee University, Scotland in 2000. He achieved Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (Glasgow) in 2004. His research in to ‘hypoxia associated factors’ in oesophagogastric cancer at Paterson Institute of Cancer Research, Christie Hospital, Manchester and Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester led to many publications in leading medical journals and the award of MD (Doctorate in Medicine) degree from Manchester University in 2006. Higher surgical training was obtained in the North West of England, including Specialist Registrar posts in Salford Royal Hospital and Royal Preston Upper Gastrointestinal Units. He obtained his Fellowship of Royal College of Surgeons in 2010 and completion of specialist surgical training (CCT) in 2012. He trained for a year as a Senior Upper Gastrointestinal Fellow in the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia. His training in Australia was in the field of advanced laparoscopic surgery for biliary / gallbladder surgery, anti-reflux surgery, giant hiatus hernia repairs, upper GI cancer and Bariatric surgery. He joined the Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery unit, as a Consultant, at the University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation NHS Trust in Sept 2012. He was joint Chief Investigator for the successful ‘CholeS study’, which was the largest audit of cholecystectomies performed in the UK and Ireland with a team was from the West Midlands Research Collaborative (WMRC). This recruited 8909 patients who had cholecystectomy in a 2 month period in 2014 with 30 day follow-up. This involved collaborating with 646 collaborators (trainees, consultants, surgical nurses, research nurses, audit facilitators) from 167 hospitals. Publications of our results were achieved in the British Journal of Surgery (3 main results papers), Surgical Endoscopy (2 papers), World Journal of Surgery ,HPB Journal and British Medical Journal Open and it was arguably the most successful cholecystectomy research project performed in the UK.
WHAT WE TREAT
We offer a range of treatments for the management of gallstones and ancillary conditions from Biliary colic to Cholecystitis.
Our procedures include Laporoscopic Cholecystectomy, which involves a tiny camera and very small incisions in the abdomen, and Endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography (ERCP), which is a minimally invasive technique using an endoscope. This latter procedure can be performed using simple sedation and patients can usually be discharged the same day.
WHAT ARE GALLSTONES
Gallstones are stones that commonly form in the gallbladder and can cause pain, inflammation and occasionally blockage of the flow of bile or inflammation of the pancreas gland. Gallstones are often made of cholesterol and calcium, vary in size, and the degree of problems they can cause with your health.
Biliary colic is a pain that occurs when gallstones impact in the exit of the gallbladder or where a stone has escaped from the gallbladder into a duct that drains bile from the liver to the bowel. The pain is felt in the right upper part of the abdomen, and is classically triggered by eating or can occur in the early hours of the morning. Gallstones can cause less well recognised patterns of symptoms, especially abdominal bloating and generalised discomfort.
Cholecystitis is inflammation of the wall of the gallbladder due to the presence of gallstones. Pain from cholecystitis is felt in the right upper part of the abdomen and is constant. Infection of the gallbladder can occur and in severe cases can require admission to hospital.
Gallstone pancreatitis is a serious complication of gallstones. The pancreas can become inflamed when a gallstone has passed into the main bile duct and irritates the pancreas gland.
Gallbladder dysfunction is a relatively rare condition causing recurrent pain in the right upper part of the abdomen. The gallbladder does not contract and empty in the normal way, although there is no clear obstruction of the gallbladder seen on ultrasound.
Gallbladder polyps are growths on the wall of the gallbladder and are sometimes diagnosed on ultrasound when looking for gallstones. They are generally benign, but they can be of greater concern if they increase in size or are already greater than 1 cm in size.
BILE DUCT STONES
Small gallstones can sometimes escape from the gallbladder and pass into the bile ducts that drain bile from the liver to the bowel. Bile duct stones can be dangerous, causing obstruction of the flow of bile, severe infection or gallstone pancreatitis.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE GALLSTONES?
All of these symptoms can be a sign that you have gallstones, but you should always ask your doctor to check.
5 THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IF YOU KNOW YOU HAVE GALLSTONES
All of these symptoms are more concerning and we advise that you discuss them with your doctor urgently.
DO YOU HAVE GALLSTONES?
Why wait to be seen and have your gallbladder removed, as this is known to increase the risk of complications. NHS waiting lists are increasing. In our clinics you can normally be seen by a specialist consultant within 48 hours and if surgery is necessary this can be arranged within only two weeks. You don’t need health insurance to benefit from affordable private gallbladder treatment.
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