Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders.
Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, which include the organs from mouth to anus, along the alimentary canal, are the focus of this specialty.
Gastroenterology is the study of the normal function and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver.
It involves a detailed understanding of the normal action (physiology) of the gastrointestinal organs including the movement of material through the stomach and intestine (motility), the digestion and absorption of nutrients into the body, removal of waste from the system, and the function of the liver as a digestive organ.
It includes common and important conditions such as colon polyps and cancer, hepatitis, gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn), peptic ulcer disease, colitis, gallbladder and biliary tract disease, nutritional problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and pancreatitis.
In essence, all normal activity and disease of the digestive organs are part of the treatment of Gastroenterology.
Our Gastroenterologists are physician with dedicated training and unique experience in the management of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver.
These unique training and experience of Gastroenterologists provide high quality, comprehensive care for patients with a wide variety of gastrointestinal ailments.
Our Gastroenterologists perform the bulk of research involving gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures as well as the interpretation of results, and are considered experts in the field.
Digestive Diseases and Endoscopy
Endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a person’s digestive tract. Using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, your doctor can view pictures of your digestive tract on a color TV monitor.
During an upper endoscopy, an endoscope is easily passed through the mouth and throat and into the esophagus, allowing the doctor to view the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine.
A special form of endoscopy called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography, or ERCP, allows pictures of the pancreas, gallbladder, and related structures to be taken.
Endoscopic ultrasound or EUS combines upper endoscopy and ultrasound examination to obtain images and information about various parts of the digestive tract.
Doctors will often recommend endoscopy to evaluate:
- Stomach pain
- Ulcers,gastritis, or difficulty swallowing
- Digestive tract bleeding
- Changes in bowel habits (chronic constipationor diarrhea)
- Polypsor growths in the colon
In addition, your doctor may use an endoscope to take a biopsy (removal of tissue) to look for the presence of disease.
Endoscopy may also be used to treat a digestive tract problem. For example, the endoscope might not only detect active bleeding from an ulcer, but devices can be passed through the endoscope that can stop the bleeding. In the colon, polyps can be removed through the scope to prevent the development of colon cancer.
Our specialists may use endoscopy for any of the following:
- investigation of symptoms, such as symptoms in thedigestive system including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- confirmation of a diagnosis, most commonly by performing a biopsy to check for conditions such asanemia, bleeding, inflammation, and cancers of the digestive system.
Colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). He or she uses a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to look at the colon.
A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.
During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected (biopsy) and abnormal growths can be taken out.
Colonoscopy can also be used as a screening test to check for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps).
The colonoscope can be used to look at the whole colon and the lower part of the small intestine. A test called sigmoidoscopy shows only the rectum and the lower part of the colon.
Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon (large intestine or large bowel).
The colonoscope is a four foot long, flexible tube about the thickness of a finger with a camera and a source of light at its tip. The tip of the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and then is advanced slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon usually as far as the cecum, which is the first part of the colon.
Conditions that call for colonoscopies include gastrointestinal hemorrhage, unexplained changes in bowel habit and suspicion of malignancy.
Colonoscopies are often used to diagnose colon cancer, but are also frequently used to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease.
In older patients (sometimes even younger ones) an unexplained drop in Hematocrit (one sign of anemia) is an indication that calls for a colonoscopy, usually along with an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), even if no obvious blood has been seen in the stool (feces).