When you are struggling with digestive difficulties or have reached an age when recommended screenings such as colonoscopies should begin, it’s time to include a gastroenterologist in your health care team.
The training of a gastroenterologist is very specific and unique, including training in specialized gastrointestinal procedures. This allows them to provide high quality, comprehensive care for patients with a wide variety of gastrointestinal ailments. In addition, gastroenterologists perform the majority of research centered around gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures, and studies have shown that gastroenterologists perform higher quality colonoscopy examinations and comprehensive consultative services when compared to other physicians. So, when you need any procedure such as the following three, a skilled gastroenterologist is the natural choice.
Colonoscopy from a Gastroenterologist
Colonoscopy is performed to examine the large intestine for disease, most commonly colorectal cancer. It is also used to evaluate symptoms such as rectal bleeding, weight loss, abdominal pain, anemia, constipation and diarrhea. Everyone age 50 and older should be screened for colorectal cancer.
When performing colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and a light on the end — called the colonoscope — to view the entire colon and rectum and check for polyps, inflammatory changes or cancer. If polyps are found, they can be removed with this procedure.
EDG (Upper Endoscopy) from a Gastroenterologist
can be helpful in the evaluation or diagnosis of various problems that affect the upper gastrointestinal tract. To perform an EDG, gastroenterologists use a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end called an endoscope. By adjusting the controls on the endoscope, the gastroenterologist can safely guide the instrument to carefully examine the inside lining of the upper digestive system. In some cases, GIs can treat digestive conditions through the endoscope.
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) from a Gastroenterologist
ERCP is a technique that combines the use of endoscopy and fluoroscopy to diagnose and treat certain problems of the biliary or pancreatic ductal systems. Through the endoscope, the physician can see the inside of the stomach and duodenum and inject radiographic contrast into the ducts in the biliary tree and pancreas, so they can be seen on X-rays.
ERCP is used primarily to diagnose and treat conditions of the bile ducts and main pancreatic duct, including gallstones, inflammatory strictures (scars), leaks (from trauma and surgery), and cancer.
While there are many additional procedures and diagnostic tests that gastroenterologists can perform, these three are particularly useful in the diagnosis and treatment of some of the most serious GI conditions. To learn more about the services a gastroenterologist can provide and if they may be useful for you, contact Gastroenterology Associates, and request an appointment with any one of our experienced physicians.