There are many reasons a person may need to see a Gastroenterologist. However, our Board-Certified
Gastroenterologist is frequently asked to evaluate the following problems:
Some diseases that are diagnosed and treated by a gastroenterologist include:
Gastroenterologists may perform the following procedures to help make a diagnosis:
Capsule Endoscopy is the latest in cutting-edge technology allowing direct visualization of the small intestine,
previously only seen via surgical techniques. The Capsule is a small camera about the size of a vitamin capsule. It emits
a light and takes two (2) pictures per second as it traverses the gastrointestinal tract. The pill is easily swallowed and
transmits the images to a recording device worn around the waist. These images are then downloaded to a computer where they
are reviewed by a physician. The capsule passes through the digestive tract and is excreted with a bowel movement.
Colonoscopy lets the physician look inside your entire large intestine, from the lowest part (the rectum) all the
way up through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and is used to look
for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. It is also used to diagnose the causes of unexplained changes in bowel
habits. Colonoscopy enables the physician to see inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, and bleeding. For the procedure,
you will lie on your left side on the examining table. You will probably be given pain medication and a mild sedative to
keep you comfortable and to help you relax during the exam. The physician will insert a long, flexible, lighted fiber-optic
tube into your rectum and slowly guide it into your colon. The tube is called a colonoscope. The scope transmits an image
of the inside of the colon, so the physician can carefully examine the lining of the colon. The scope bends, so the physician
can move it around the curves of your colon. You may be asked to change position occasionally to help the physician move
the scope. The scope also blows air into your colon, which inflates the colon and helps the physician see better.
Upper Endoscopy (also known as gastroscopy, EGD, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is a procedure that enables your
doctor to examine the lining of the esophagus (food pipe), stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine).
A flexible, lighted tube about the thickness of your little finger is placed through your mouth and into the stomach and
duodenum. Upper endoscopy is performed to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty
swallowing or heartburn. It is an excellent method for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.
It can be used to evaluate the esophagus or stomach after major surgery. It is more accurate than X rays for detecting inflammation,
ulcers or tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Upper endoscopy can detect early cancer and can distinguish between
cancerous and non cancerous conditions by performing biopsies of suspicious areas. Biopsies are taken by using a specialized
instrument to sample tissue. These samples are then sent to the laboratory to be analyzed. A biopsy is taken for many reasons
and does not mean that cancer is suspected.
The Bravo pH Monitoring system is used to measure esophageal pH (acidity) levels in patients who have or are suspected
of having gastroesophagela reflux disease (GERD). A small pH capsule is placed in the esophagus and transmits data to a
pager-size receiver worn by the patient. For the most part, the patient can maintain a normal diet and activity level during
the testing. At the completion of the test, data is downloaded from the receiver and reviewed by your physician to assist
in diagnosis and treatment plans. The capsule will naturally detach from the esophagus and pass through the gastrointestinal
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy enables the physician to look at the inside of the large intestine from the rectum through
the last part of the colon, called the sigmoid or descending colon. A flexible, fiber-optic tube is used for this procedure,
which typically takes about 15 minutes. Physicians may use the procedure to find the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain,
or constipation. They also use it to look for early signs of cancer in the descending colon and rectum. With flexible sigmoidoscopy,
the physician can see bleeding, inflammation, abnormal growths, and ulcers in the descending colon and rectum. Flexible
sigmoidoscopy is not sufficient to detect polyps or cancer in the ascending or transverse colon (two-thirds of the colon).
For the procedure, you will lie on your left side on the examining table. The physician will insert a short, flexible, lighted
tube into your rectum and slowly guide it into your colon. The tube is called a sigmoidoscope (sig-MOY-duh-skope). The scope
transmits an image of the inside of the rectum and colon, so the physician can carefully examine the lining of these organs.
The scope also blows air into these organs, which inflates them and helps the physician see better. If anything unusual
is in your rectum or colon, like a polyp or inflamed tissue, the physician can remove a piece of it using instruments inserted
into the scope. The physician will send that piece of tissue (biopsy) to the lab for testing. Bleeding and puncture of the
colon are possible complications of sigmoidoscopy. However, such complications are uncommon. Flexible sigmoidoscopy takes
10 to 20 minutes. During the procedure, you might feel pressure and slight cramping in your lower abdomen. You will feel
better afterward when the air leaves your colon.