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The following are descriptions of some of the common procedures that gastroenterologists perform.

For more information on these as well as other gastroenterology procedures please see patient information provided by the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy:

  1. Colonoscopy

    Colonoscopy allows your doctor examine the lining of your large intestine (colon) for abnormalities. This procedure is usually done for colon cancer screening and removal of precancerous polyps but also performed for other reasons.This procedure is performedby inserting a camera, which is a thin flexible tube as wide as your finger, into the rectum and passing it through the entire colon.In most cases the physician will give you a sedative and pain medication prior to the procedure. For this reason you will need a driver after the procedure. This test will require a bowel cleansing routine the day before the procedure, which will include a liquid diet and laxatives prescribed by your doctor. The test takes approximately 30minutes in most cases. You should be able to return to your normal daily activities the following day. How often this procedure is performed will be based upon many factors including your family history of colon cancer and findings of the colonoscopy.
  2. EGD

    EGD also called an Upper Endoscopy allows your doctor to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. This will be performed by inserting a thin flexible tube with a camera at the end through the mouth. In most cases your doctor will give you a sedative and pain medication prior to the procedure. The procedure does not interfere with breathing and usually lasts about 15 minutes. This procedure is performed for many reasons including evaluating for reflux (heartburn), ulcers, swallowing problems. In most cases you will be able to eat after the procedure and return to normal activities the next day.
  3. Small Bowel Capsule

    Allows your doctor to examine the lining of the small intestine. This part of the gastrointestinal tract is difficult to examine with traditional endoscopy. You will be given a pill-sized camera to swallow. This pill will take pictures as it moves naturally through the intestine. These pictures will be sent wirelessly to a recorder you will wear on a belt. At the end of the day you will bring the recorder back and the doctor will review these images. The pill camera does not need to be retrieved and will pass with a bowel movement.
  4. ERCP

    Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a specialized procedure for evaluating the bile duct, which drains the liver and gall bladder and the pancreatic duct which drains the pancreas. A thin flexible tube with a camera will be passed to the area of the small intestine where these ducts (or tubes) drain. The doctor will pass special tools through the camera into the these ducts and fill them with contrast in order to view them under x-ray and in some instances passing a fiberoptic camera into the duct. This procedure is performed for multiple reasons including gall stones, bile duct blockages etc. Preparation usually includes fasting prior to the procedure. You will be given sedation or possibly anesthetized for this procedure. The length of this procedure depends on many variables, most importantly the reason it is being performed. You will need a driver for this procedure.
  5. Endoscopic Ultrasound

    Endoscopic ultrasound or EUS is a specialized procedure using ultrasound to evaluate many different internal organs. During this procedure a specialized flexible tube with a camera and an ultrasound probe at the end will be passed to the upper GI tract. The ultrasound imaging will be used to make close detailed evaluations of various organs including pancreas, esophagus, stomach etc. During the procedure abnormalities can be sampled in these organs using a needle under the direction of the ultrasound. This is used for diagnosis and staging of various cancers and other diseases. Preparation for the procedure depends on the organs being evaluated. The procedure is performed under sedation. The length of the procedure is variable and mainly depends on if any needle biopsies are performed. Some patients will experience a sore throat for a day or two after the procedure. You will need to have a driver after the procedure.
  6. Liver Biopsy

    Liver biopsy is a procedure for evaluating the liver for various liver diseases and problems. The procedure usually involves having an ultrasound prior to biopsy for locating the best area to biopsy. The area of location is numbed with novacaine type medication. A needle is then placed through the skin on your right side into the liver about an inch. The procedure usually takes only a few minutes. The patient will be observed for one to two hours after the procedure. Patient can have discomfort in that area for about two days after the biopsy is performed. Results usually take approximately one to two weeks to return. For more information on these as well as other Gastroenterology procedures please see patient information provided by the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy:

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