Ask a Digestive Surgeon: Dr Foo Chek Siang from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore

Ask a Doctor ForumCategory: General SurgeryAsk a Digestive Surgeon: Dr Foo Chek Siang from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore
dr. Foo Chek Siang asked 3 years ago
I have had a double fellowship as part of sub-specialist training. I was trained in advanced laparoscopic techniques under the pupilage of Dr. Jean-Louis Dulucq at the Institute of Laparoscopic Surgery in Bordeaux, France. Dr. Dulucq is distinguished among the foremost laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgeons in Europe with a wide repertoire of advanced upper gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary and colorectal operations under his belt. I was then awarded the Health Manpower Development Programme Award by the Ministry of Health in 2008, and spent a year in St. George Hospital, Kogarah-Sydney, New South Wales, Australia under the pupilage of Dr. John Jorgensen, Dr. Michael Talbot and Dr. Ken Loi. My repertoire in advanced laparoscopy, and in particular upper gastrointestinal and bariatric work was further honed with the vast spectrum and high volume of complicated oncological (cancer), functional, bariatric (weight loss surgery) and metabolic work. I have been actively teaching in advanced laparoscopic techniques, being involved in faculties of local masterclasses and the regional Asia Endosurgery Task Force, sharing my experience and encouraging the adoption of advanced surgical techniques among the surgeons in South East Asia and wider East Asia. It is my belief that minimal access surgery is the now and future of surgical treatment, providing greater surgical precision and better results with faster recovery and better patient comfort, without any compromise in surgical efficacy. My expertise lies in abdominal and digestive surgery, applying the techniques of minimal access surgery to treat conditions of the digestive tract – be it in the upper gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach and duodenum), lower gastrointestinal tract (small and large intestine), hepatobiliary tree (liver and gallbladder) or abdominal wall conditions like abdominal and groin herniae. I have significant experience and training in radical oncological surgery, applying the techniques of systematic extensive lymphadenectomy in oesophageal and stomach cancer. I am a proponent of radical lymphadenectomy especially in the context of stomach cancer, combined with a joint management with medical oncology, for the best possible long-term control of disease and overall survival. I also have a deep passion for bariatric (weight loss) and metabolic (diabetic and related conditions) surgery. With the rising epidemic of obesity and increasing recognition of its related illnesses like diabetes, heart diseases and cancer, I am convinced that obesity is a true medical condition that can be successfully overcome with surgery. I also advocate surgery to help patients who are battling worsening and uncontrollable weight-related metabolic disorders like diabetes, hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol), fatty liver, gout and obstructive sleep apnoea. Recognising obesity as a medical, and not just a cosmetic, disease, I believe that while surgery provides the best possible results for weight and metabolic control, a multi-disciplinary approach is the catalyst for sustained long-term results. I am a founding member and currently-serving committee member of the OMSSS (Obesity & Metabolic Surgery Society of Singapore), contributing to the work of like-minded local-regional surgical professionals. Learn more about Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital here: Learn more about me here: I am excited to be here to share/discuss Digestive Health with everyone. Whether you've got questions about oesophageal and gastric cancers, bariatric or metabolic surgeries, ask me anything! === Want to ask a question? Submit your question at the bottom of this page. Don’t forget to include your name and email address to get notified when the doctor answers your question.
15 Answers
Lydia answered 3 years ago
Doctor, my mother is 54 years old and was diagnosed with gallstones. Her doctor said there are a lot of stones in her gall. She feels nausea and vomits constantly and there is no food she can swallow. She is weak and her skin has turned yellow. What is the best treatment for her knowing that she cannot eat any food?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

Dear Lydia,

The situation can potentially worsen if there are gallstones causing pain, jaundice and loss of appetite.

I would strongly suggest she seek a surgical opinion for the further evaluation of the bile duct and a surgical removal of the gallbladder. When there is jaundice, there is a possibility that in addition to the gallstones in the gallbladder, some of the stones could have dropped into the bile duct causing an obstruction and backlog of bile in the blood system.

Romlah Siti answered 3 years ago
Doctor, I have a chronic ulcer but I am scared of doing an endoscopy. What should I do?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

Dear Sir,

A gastroscopy is a very simple procedure that is not uncomfortable. It is typically performed under sedation – this means that you will be fully asleep during the procedure, and will not experience any discomfort. The whole procedure takes 10 minutes, and is performed only after the sedation is given through a small injection.

Under experienced hands, it is a very safe procedure. You should not have to worry too much over the procedure.

beni asmaja answered 3 years ago
My dad has umbilical hernia. His doctor advised him to undergo surgery. Is there any chance for this hernia to recur after surgery? What are some factors that can make hernias recur?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

There is always a chance that a hernia can recur after surgery, even under the best of surgeons. Other than for technical factors, there are factors of mesh shrinkage, mesh displacement and inadequate tissue integration. Patient factors like obesity, smoking and over-exertion are important too and should be corrected as much as possible.

Lukman answered 3 years ago
Doctor, my friend was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Is this contagious? What are the symptoms I have to watch out for? Because lately I have been feeling nausea and have been vomitting.
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

Hepatitis C is contagious, but only through sexual and blood contact. The symptoms are typically silent initially, but late symptoms include jaundice and pale stools. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of other, more common, diseases. If these persist, you should consult a medical professional.

Rahayu answered 3 years ago
Doctor, my stomach often produces sounds even when I am not hungry. Sometimes, I am embarrassed of it because it is very loud. I have been experiencing this for 1 month. What should I do to stop it?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

This is medically termed as borborygmi. In the absence of other symptoms, borborygmi is normally not dangerous. However, if there are symptoms of bloating, pain or bowel changes, you should consult a medical professional.

Kus answered 3 years ago
Hello Doctor, I want to ask. My father has been experiencing bowel obstruction for 3 days. His stomach is tight and he complains about discomfort in his stomach. Why is that Doc? Should I take him to see a doctor?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

Yes, please bring him to see a doctor as soon as possible. Abdominal pain and constipation in the older age group should always be investigated thoroughly to exclude intestinal obstruction from worrisome growths.

Rosiana answered 3 years ago
Hello, Doctor. These few days I feel like there is something in my stomach going up to my throat. Is this acid reflux? But I don’t feel any pain or nausea. Does this mean there is a problem with my stomach?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

Yes, that is the symptom of regurgitation, which is suggestive of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Typically, gastro-oeosphageal reflux disease will not have any pain or nausea. It does not necessarily mean there is definitely something wrong with the stomach, as it can be because of dietary and lifestyle issues – like eating too much, or lying down immediately after a meal. However, if it persists, you should get it checked out with a doctor.

Vivi Arinda answered 3 years ago
Doctor, my grandfather is 68 years old. He vomits every time he eats. Is this a stomach problem? What is the medicine for this? Thank you
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

If he is vomiting every time after a meal and 68 years of age, he should consult a specialist for a gastroscopy as it could be a sinister problem. I would not recommend just taking medication without a check before.

Marwan Abdurahman answered 3 years ago
Doctor, the part of my stomach above the navel is hard and I have constipation. Why is this so, Doc?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

Constipation is known to cause abdominal pain, bloating and hardness. There is a wide variety of possible causes of constipation, ranging from dietary changes and dehydration to sinister causes like cancer. I would suggest a consult with your doctor should your symptoms persist.

Riki answered 3 years ago
Hi Doctor, why is it that every evening at 6pm, I often feel anxious and start shaking? 
Smarter Health replied 3 years ago

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Coki answered 3 years ago
Doctor, my epigastrium hurts if I eat spicy food or drink coffee. I didn’t have this problem back then. So why do I have it now?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

These symptoms sound like gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. These can be aggravated by consuming larger than normal quantities of triggering foods (of which coffee and spice belong). Symptoms can also be aggravated by lying down right after a full meal.

I would suggest going on smaller meals and consider taking some antacids for now. If these symptoms recur or persist, then it will be time to consider seeking advice from an endoscopist.

Minarti Sulastika answered 3 years ago
Doctor, I have a problem with gastric acid. I have been taking sucralfate, vometa. After taking these medicines, I feel better, until the problem recurs. Is it safe to consume these medicines on a long term basis? Or is there any other way to cure my gastric acid issue permanently?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

If these medications work but the symptoms return, it goes to suggest there is an underlying issue that has not been fully addressed. I would strongly recommend seeing a specialist to get an endoscopy performed.

Neli answered 3 years ago
Doctor, my mother is 70 years old, and she often has gastric pain that radiates through her back. Her gall has been removed. She complains about pain below the navel. She consumes controlog, motilium, lansaprazole. What problem is this, Doc? What is the best treatment? Thanks
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

There are a few possibilities of problems that cause pain that travels to the back – including gastric ulcers, pancreas problems and bile duct stones (which can still occur after the gallbladder is removed). She should get it evaluated by a specialist with an endoscopy and scan.

romi answered 3 years ago
Doctor, what is the cause of pain on the lower right stomach and the problem of releasing gas?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

Releasing gas is a natural process, but the frequency can be influenced by diet and disturbances in the balances of gut bacteria. The built up of intestinal gas can also cause abdominal discomfort and bloating. However, if it is pain you are feeling, you should be seeking a medical opinion especially if it is persistent.

Verdi answered 3 years ago
These 3 days I have been feeling a cramp in my right stomach, Doctor. Sometimes it doesn't feel that painful, but sometimes it hurts so much I cannot move. Is this possibly appendicitis? What are the symptoms of appendicitis actually?
dr. Foo Chek Siang replied 3 years ago

Right sided abdominal pain can be caused by a variety of causes, of which appendicitis is fairly common. However, the pain from appendicitis is normally progressive and unremitting, and are associated with fever and nausea.

If the pain is intermittent, coming and going, it is very unlikely to be appendicitis.

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