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The stomach and oesophagus (gullet) are the first part of the gastrointestinal tract and are commonly affected by a variety of surgical conditions most commonly benign but occasionally malignant.
The oesophagus transports food and drink through the chest to the stomach to meet a variety of liquids responsible for the first part of digestion. It is usually efficiently kept empty of any of these materials by a variety of protective mechanisms. Where this fails (for example as a result of a hiatus hernia) a number of symptoms may be experienced these are loosely termed indigestion and reflux.
Acid production in the stomach is an important part of digestion but may cause symptoms when excessive or when the lining of the oesophagus is exposed to it for prolonged periods. Cancer of the oesophagus and stomach is frequently encountered in the UK population.
Symptoms of disease of the stomach and oesophagus are commonly experienced and easily investigated by general surgeons most commonly using endoscopic techniques.