Ramsay Health Care
  • Procedures

Procedures

The Ramsay Surgical Centre at Wollongong Private Hospital provides a friendly, caring and comfortable environment for medical procedures, operations and tests that don’t require an overnight or extended stay.

Please note if you require admission, a bed will be organised post-operatively.

The centre offers a comprehensive range of surgical services for the following specialties:

Cardioversion

Cardioversion is a procedure used to treat an abnormal heart rhythm, also known as an arrhythmia. 

Under general anaesthetic, a cardioversion is performed by a Cardiologist using a defibrillator machine giving the patient a small electrical 'shock', to return the heart to a normal rhythm.

Coronary angiogram

A coronary angiogram may be ordered if a patient has experienced chest pain, injury to the chest, a heart attack or a Cardiologist suspects coronary disease.

A coronary angiogram is an x-ray of the heart’s arteries used to check for narrowing or blockages. During this procedure, under local anaesthetic, a Cardiologist will insert a catheter into the artery at the groin or wrist. This tube is then threaded inside the artery to the heart. An x-ray dye is injected into the catheter and examined as it flows through the coronary arteries.

Electrophysiology Studies (EPS)

Electrophysiology studies (EPS) is a test performed by a Cardiologist to examine a patient’s abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia. Using electrical pulses, a doctor can identify where an abnormal heartbeat is coming from and determine an appropriate method of treatment. 

Much like a coronary angiogram, under local anaesthetic, a specialised catheter (long thin tube) is inserted into the artery at the groin and threaded to the heart. The Cardiologist will send small electrical pulses to the patient’s heart through the catheter. The electrical activity of the heart is recorded and examined to determine the cause of the arrhythmia.

Insertion of permanent pacemakers

A pacemaker is a device that produces small electrical currents to stimulate a patient’s heart beat and encourage the heart to pump normally.  Permanent pacemakers are used to control long term heart rhythm problems that may cause a too slow or too fast heartbeat.

During surgery, a Cardiologist will make an incision near the collarbone to prepare for insertion of the pacemaker wires, battery and pulse generator. A wire is inserted into a large vein under the collarbone and using x-ray to monitor its location, is threaded to the heart’s chamber. The pacemaker is programmed, attached to the wire connected to the heart, and inserted into a pocket created in the skin before closing the incision.

Percutaneous coronary intervention

Percutaneous coronary intervention, also known as coronary angioplasty, is a medical procedure used to treat the narrowing of coronary arteries or coronary heart disease. This technique can improve blood flow to the patient’s heart.

During a percutaneous coronary intervention, a catheter is inserted at the groin or arm and guided to the heart. A dye is then injected to assist the Cardiologist with locating the narrowed artery. A second catheter with a balloon attached is inserted into the artery. The balloon is inflated and deflated to widen the artery. Sometimes a stent (an expandable metal tube) is inserted into the artery to ensure it remains expanded.

Transoesophageal echocardiogram

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart, allowing the Cardiologist to examine heart function. The images produced from this test are useful in helping a doctor to examine concerns such as changes in heart size, heart pumping strength, valve function, damage to the heart muscles, and to diagnose heart disease.

A transesophageal echocardiogram is performed by passing the probe down the throat, and can produce more detailed images than a chest echocardiogram. The patient’s throat is numbed and a flexible telescope guided down the oesophagus. The sound waves or echoes recorded by the equipment is converted to images that the Cardiologist can review on an ultrasound monitor.

Cystoscopy

A cystoscopy is a common medical procedure performed to examine the inner lining of the bladder. This procedure can assist in diagnosing conditions that affect the bladder, including bladder cancer and bladder stones. A Urologist may recommend this procedure if a patient has had blood in their urine.

The procedure is relatively quick and generally performed under local anaesthetic and sedation. During the cystoscopy, a thin tube with a light and camera on the end (cystoscope) is inserted through the urethra, into the bladder. The specialist will examine the lining of the bladder and if required, take a biopsy of bladder tissue for further investigation.

Retrograde pyelogram

In order to examine the drainage system of the kidney, a specialised x-ray called a retrograde pyelogram may be performed by a Urologist. During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into the urethra, by cystoscopy. A special dye is then injected into the catheter, followed by x-rays of the ureter and kidneys to locate any irregular function of the drainage system.

Pyeloscopy

Kidney stones are a common urinary system condition that can affect anyone. Most stones will pass through the urine, however if the kidney stone is larger, a surgical procedure may be required to break it up or remove it. Pyeloscopy is commonly performed to treat such kidney stones.

During this procedure, a flexible, fibre optic endoscope (camera) is inserted into the urethra, through the bladder and into the kidney. Using the scope, the Urologist is able to view the entire kidney drainage system and insert instruments to break up the stones and extract stone fragments.  A pyeloscopy offers the benefit of treatment, without the need for an incision.

Ureteroscopy and Ureteropyeloscopy

A ureteroscopy can be used by a Urologist to assist in diagnosing the cause of kidney and urinary tract problems, such as urine blockages.

Using a small flexible instrument, called an ureteroscope, the Urologist will insert the scope into the patient’s urethra and into the bladder. Once in the bladder, the tube will be guided further into the ureter or kidney depending on where the concern may be located. At this point, a biopsy may be taken for further investigation or a Ureteropyeloscopy may be performed to break up and remove the stones.

Insertion of double j stent

To treat or prevent the obstruction of urine flow from the kidney into the bladder, a ureteral stent may be inserted as a temporary measure. A double j stent is a type of ureteral stent that is a thin hollow tube, coiled at either end to prevent the stent from moving out of place.

During this procedure the stent is inserted inside the ureter with the assistance of a cystoscope. It is temporarily placed until the obstruction (such as kidney stone) has cleared to prevent damage to the kidney.

Colonoscopy

A Colonoscopy is a common day procedure used to examine and inspect the bowel, colon or large intestine. A colonoscopy can assist with the diagnosis and treatment of a range of conditions associated with the colon and rectum.

The procedure is performed by a long, flexible plastic tube called a colonoscope . Under sedation or light anaesthetic, the colonoscope is inserted via the rectum into the colon allowing the doctor to carefully examine the lining of the bowel.  Should abnormal tissue be identified during the examination, a biopsy may be taken for further evaluation. Sometimes polyps may be located during a colonoscopy. A polypectomy may also be performed at this time to remove the small growth.

Gastroscopy

Gastroscopy, or endoscopy, is a commonly performed procedure to examine the inside of the upper gastrointestinal tract and duodenum. It is used to investigate symptoms such as indigestion, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting. Gastroscopy can also be used to detect ulcers or tumours.

The examination is conducted using an endoscope - which is a long, thin, flexible tube with a small camera at the tip. The endoscope is passed through the mouth and oesophagus, into the stomach and duodenum. The camera transmits an image to a monitor which allows the surgeon to review the lining of the upper GI tract.

During the procedure, your surgeon may remove any polyps that have been located or take a biopsy of abnormal tissue for further examination.

Haemorrhoid Surgery

Haemorrhoids consist of swollen blood vessels covered by the lining of the anal canal. They often start as internal haemorrhoids and as it enlarges, protrudes through the opening of the anus. The condition can be is relatively common and caused by age, chronic constipation or pregnancy among other contributing factors.

A variety of treatment options may be suggested by your colorectal surgeon.

Banding of haemorrhoids, or rubber band ligation, is commonly performed at the Ramsay Surgical Centre. The surgeon will apply a silicone band to internal haemorrhoids which decreases the blood supply, causing the haemorrhoid to reduce in size and retract into the anal canal. This procedure can be performed in combination with an injection to stop bleeding.

Oesophageal dilatation

Oesophageal dilation is a surgical procedure performed to address dysphagia - a medical condition in which the patient has difficulty swallowing. Oesophageal dysphagia may have a various causes including food allergies, reflux, nervous system problems such as stroke or a stricture (narrowing of the oesophagus). The procedure involves a doctor performing a gastroscopy using an endoscope with a special balloon attached. This balloon dilates and gently widens the oesophagus.

This is a common procedure used to address a narrowing of the oesophasus, however as with any surgery, does carry risk. Please discuss the risk of complications with your Gastroenterologist to determine if this procedure is suitable for your condition.

Cataract removal and intraocular lens insertion.

The development of cataracts is a normal part of aging and undergoing surgery to correct the condition is very common, particularly for patients in their 60s.

A cataract is a cloudy area that develops in the lens of the eye, resulting in patients experiencing blurred or hazy vision. Surgery to treat the condition involves removal of the cloudy lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). The surgeon makes a small incision and using ultrasound and a small probe, the cataract is divided into pieces and gently suctioned away. An intraocular lens is then inserted to replace the cataract.

Carpal Tunnel Release

Carpal tunnel syndrome is pain and numbness in the hand that is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. The median nerve runs through a narrow passageway together with tendons that bend the fingers. Factors such as repetitive wrist actions, fluid retention, injury or joint disorders, can cause the tendons to swell, thereby placing pressure on the median nerve.

A common treatment for Carpal Tunnel syndrome is Carpal Tunnel Release surgery. During the procedure, under local anaesthetic, an Orthopaedic surgeon will make a small incision in the palm of the hand. The ligament that forms the roof of the tunnel is cut, increasing the size of the tunnel and relieving pressure on the median nerve.

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition in which a finger gets stuck in a bent or straight position. It is caused by inflammation of the protective sheath around the tendon in the finger (the tenosynovium). The inflammation inhibits the tendon from moving smoothly within the sheath, resulting in the finger catching in a bent position.

Trigger Finger Release surgery is performed by an Orthopaedic Surgeon under local anaesthetic at the Ramsay Surgical Centre. The surgeon will make a small cut to the affected finger then simply release the constricted section of tendon sheath.

Dupuytren’s Contracture

Dupuytren’s contracture is thickening of the fibrous tissue layer under the skin of palms, fingers, and hands resulting in a ‘clawed’ finger. The patient will usually exhibit lumps or nodules in the palm which are caused by a tough fibrous band under the skin.

An Orthopaedic surgeon may treat this condition by a procedure which involves simply making an incision in the hand and cutting the fibrous band to release the contracture.

Wrist Fractures

Wrist fractures are usually caused by falling on an outstretched arm, accidents, workplace injuries, or sporting injuries. Our experienced Ramsay Surgical Centre Orthopaedic Surgeons treat a wide range of wrist fractures, including scaphoid fractures.

The scaphoid is a small, boat shaped bone in the wrist, which forms the wrist joint. Depending on the location of the fracture, a surgical procedure may be required to treat appropriately. During this operation, an incision is made in the wrist. The surgeon will implant an internal fixation device such as screws or wires to hold the bone in place as it heals. Following surgery, a splint or cast is required until the bone has healed completely.