The following are descriptions of some of the procedures that gastroenterologists commonly perform.
Colonoscopy allows your doctor to 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 performed by 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 30 minutes 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.
To schedule a colonoscopy, visit our My Colon Screening page.
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.
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.
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. You will be given sedation or possibly anesthetized for this procedure.
This procedure is performed for multiple reasons including gall stones, bile duct blockages, etc. Preparation usually includes fasting prior to the procedure. The length of this procedure depends on many variables, most importantly the reason it is being performed. After this procedure, you will need to have someone available to drive you home.
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. The procedure is performed under sedation.
Preparation for the procedure depends on the organs being evaluated. 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. After this procedure, you will need to have someone available to drive you home.
Liver biopsy is a procedure for evaluating the liver for various liver diseases and problems.
For more information on these as well as other gastroenterology procedures, please visit the patient information website page provided by the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy at https://www.asge.org/home/for-patients.