Frequently Asked Questions
A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in the gastrointestinal tract (including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine) and other digestive organs (liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and gall bladder). Gastroenterologists see patients in the hospital and clinic, and also perform endoscopic procedures (e.g., upper endoscopy and colonoscopy).
Gastroenterology (MeSH heading) is the branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders. Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, which include the organs from the mouth into the anus, along the alimentary canal, are the focus of this specialty.
No. Gastroenterologists perform endoscopic procedures but do not perform surgery. When necessary, they work closely with GI surgeons.
The indication of different types of endoscopy like upper GI or Lower GI rigid or flexible Airway or Intestinal depends on the type of problem the patient has. It depends on the symptom of the patient and the assumption of the physician about what he wants to see and what is his provisional diagnosis.
Procedures performed include:
- Esophagus Gastro Duodenoscopy (EGD) — is a procedure in which a thin scope with a light and camera at its tip is used to look inside the upper digestive tract — the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. It is used to identify causes of abdominal or chest pain, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, bleeding, and swallowing problems.
- Colonoscopy — a procedure in which the physician uses a colonoscope, which is placed into the lower part of the colon through the rectum, to look at the large intestine. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected and abnormal growths can be taken out. A colonoscopy can also be used as a screening test to check for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps).
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy — a procedure in which the inner lining of the lower large intestine is examined. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits. It is also performed to screen people older than age 50 for colon and rectal cancer.
To confirm a diagnosis
Endoscopy is often used to confirm a diagnosis when other devices, such as an MRI, X-ray, or CT scan are considered inappropriate.
Endoscopy is often carried out to find out the degree of problems a known condition may have caused. Endoscopy, in these cases, may significantly contribute to the doctor’s decision on the best treatment for the patient.
The following conditions and illnesses are most commonly investigated or diagnosed with an endoscopy:
- Breathing disorders
- Chronic diarrhea
- Internal bleeding
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Stomach ulcers
- Urinary tract infections
Endoscopies are commonly used for the diagnosis of cancer. They are used for biopsies – taking samples of tissue to find out whether it is cancerous. Thanks to an endoscope, biopsies of the intestines or lungs can be done without the need for major surgery. This study explains that colonoscopy is the most effective screening option for colorectal cancer.
Some surgical procedures can be carried out with a modified endoscope, such as the removal of the gallbladder, tying and sealing the fallopian tubes, and taking out small tumors and foreign objects from the lungs or digestive system. A study found that the removal through endoscopy of tumors that affect only the superficial layers of the esophagus can avoid complete extirpation of this part of the digestive tract.
The role of therapeutic endoscopy in current gastroenterology is very important. Therapeutic endoscopy is useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal bleeding. Endoscopic control of gastrointestinal bleeding includes the following procedures of hemostasis techniques: photocoagulation, electrocoagulation, thermocoagulation, and injection method. Owing to these procedures mortality has significantly decreased. Endoscopic hemostasis eliminates the risk of surgery, is less expensive, and is better tolerated by patients. Colonoscopic polypectomy is a widely used technique.
During esophageal manometry, a thin, pressure-sensitive tube is passed through your nose, down the esophagus, and into your stomach. Before the procedure, you receive numbing medicine inside the nose.
Esophageal manometry is a test used to measure the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that prevents reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus) and the muscles of the esophagus. This test will tell your doctor if your esophagus is able to move food to your stomach normally.
Rectal manometry is a test used to measure and assess pressure, reflexes, and sensation in the rectum. The test also evaluates the efficiency of the anal sphincter. The procedure will help your doctor evaluate the cause and determine the correct treatment for fecal incontinence or constipation. While lying on your left side, a thin flexible catheter with a small uninflated balloon at the tip is passed through the anus and into the rectum. The catheter is slowly withdrawn while numerous pressure measurements are recorded. You will also be asked to push and squeeze your anal muscles at certain times. You will also be asked to indicate when you experience a feeling of fullness or distension in the rectum, upon inflation of a small balloon at the end of the catheter.
Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment for registration.
If you are unable to keep your appointment, you must cancel at least 48 hours in advance or you will be referred back to your primary care physician.
PLEASE FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY:
- Do not take smooth muscle relaxants (Valium, Flexeril, or narcotic pain medications) 24 hours prior to your appointment time.
- Obtain a fleet enema from your local pharmacy and use it one hour prior to your appointment time.
- This is a very easily tolerated procedure. The procedure lasts approximately 20 to 30 minutes. You will be able to return to work afterward.