Southern DHB Gastroenterology Services
Southern DHB (SDHB) Gastroenterology is a district wide service that specialises in disorders of the stomach, digestive tract and related organs such as the liver.
Full services are delivered from Dunedin Hospital with an acute service available at all times.
Gastroenterology services at Southland Hospital include outpatient services and endoscopy sessions provided by a consultant gastroenterologist or the general surgical team. However, patients that require urgent gastroenterology intervention may be referred to specialists based in Dunedin Hospital.
Rural clinics at Dunstan, Balclutha and Oamaru are also provided.
What is Gastroenterology?
Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine that looks at diseases of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach, small and large intestines (bowel), liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
The oesophagus is the tube that joins your mouth with your stomach. It is a muscular tube that contracts to push the food through when you swallow.
The stomach is where food is broken down by acid and emptied into your intestines. The stomach has special cells lining its wall to protect it from these acids.
The intestines consist of the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum and ileum – different sections of small intestine) and the large intestine (colon). As food passes through the small intestine, nutrients are broken down and absorbed. When it passes into the colon, water is absorbed. The waste that is left is passed as faeces (poo).
The liver is roughly the size of a football and is on your right side just under your ribs. It stores vitamins, sugar and iron which are used by cells in the body for energy. It also clears the body of waste products and drugs, produces substances that are used to help blood clot and aid the immune system, and produces bile which aids in digestion.
Referrals to the gastroenterology service must be made via your General Practitioner or other hospital departments.
Procedures / Treatments / Common Conditions
This is a procedure which allows the doctor to see inside your oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) and examine the lining directly. … More
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP)
A flexible tube with a tiny video camera attached (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth into the stomach and small intestine while you are under sedation (you have been given medication to make you drowsy).… More
This is a procedure which allows the doctor to see inside your large bowel and examine the surfaces directly and take biopsies (samples of tissue) if needed. Treatment of conditions can also be undertaken.… More
The best way to establish what type of liver disease is present and the extent of the disease, is a biopsy.… More
This is inflammation of the liver, commonly caused by viruses. Hepatitis B and C are viruses that can cause chronic (long term) inflammation and damage to the liver.… More
Cirrhosis is the term used to describe a diseased liver that has been badly scarred, usually due to many years of injury.… More
Peptic ulcers are sores or eroded areas that form in the lining of the digestive tract.… More
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
There are two types of IBD, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In these conditions, the immune system attacks the lining of the colon causing inflammation and ulceration, bleeding and diarrhoea. In ulcerative colitis this only involves the large intestine, whereas in Crohn’s disease areas within the entire intestine can be… More
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This page was last updated at 3:35PM on May 21, 2019. This information is reviewed and edited by Southern DHB Gastroenterology Services.