Gastro-Intestinal Surgery

Gastro-Intestinal Surgery

The Gastro-intestinal tract is a series of organs that start from your mouth all the way through to your back passage and are involved with processing food and your metabolism. The main component is a continuous hollow ‘tube’ that allows food to pass through. There are also organs next to this ‘tube’ that assist with the processing of food. After food is chewed it is swallowed and the oesophagus contracts in a coordinated way to push this down through your chest/diaphragm and into your abdomen. In the abdomen it enters the stomach organ which can distend to accommodate a large meal and process it into small particles in a process known as digestion. Once this has occurred, it passes through a valve (pylorus) which relaxes to let it enter the duodenum. Here the absorption process begins and this is aided by juices that are released by the pancreas and liver/gallbladder (bile) which have separate tubes entering the duodenum here. The spleen is an organ which does not have a direct involvement in the gastro-intestinal tract (rather the immune and blood systems) however in a developing foetus it originated from the same part as the stomach. The duodenum is the first part of the small bowel and it continues into the jejunum then to the ileum which are also classified as the small bowel. Usually there is around 4-6 metres of small bowel. At the ileocaecal junction in the right lower side of your abdomen the food passes through a valve to enter the colon (large bowel). The first part of the colon (caecum) has the appendix hanging off it. The contents gradually pass through the colon where absorption of mainly water and salts takes place, before it passes to the rectum and is allowed to be excreted as faeces through the anus.

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