Gastroenterology Procedures

By | December 13, 2023

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is responsible for digesting food and absorbing nutrients in the body. Conditions affecting the GI tract are common, and often require procedures for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Here are some of the most common GI procedures performed:

An endoscope allows internal examination of the upper or lower GI tract through natural openings. Upper endoscopy examines the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum via the mouth, while colonoscopy views the entire length of the colon and rectum via the anus. Flexible endoscopes have a light and camera at the tip to provide detailed images within the GI lumen. Biopsies can be taken for further analysis. Endoscopy is often the first step in evaluating GI symptoms before other invasive tests.

Types of endoscopy include:
– Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
– Colonoscopy
– Sigmoidoscopy (which examines the lower colon)
– Capsule endoscopy (for small bowel imaging)

Polyps are non-cancerous growths that can develop inside the colon or rectum. During a colonoscopy, polyps detected are often removed using a wire loop passed through the endoscope, a procedure called polypectomy. Removing polyps prevents them from potentially turning cancerous over time. Small polyps may also be removed during sigmoidoscopy. Polypectomy has significantly reduced colorectal cancer rates by detection and removal of precancerous growths.

Esophageal/Gastric Biopsy
Using forceps passed through an endoscope, doctors can collect small tissue samples from suspicious areas inside the esophagus, stomach or small intestine for pathological analysis under a microscope. Biopsies help diagnose conditions like esophagitis, gastritis or gastrointestinal cancers in their earliest stages. Lesion sites identified on upper endoscopy are routinely biopsied.

Gastrointestinal Stenting
If an endoscopy reveals a blocked area inside the GI tract due to a stricture or tumor, a stent—a tiny wire mesh tube—may be placed to relieve the obstruction. Stents reopen narrowed passages and restore normal flow. Endoscopically placed self-expanding metal stents are commonly used for esophageal, duodenal and biliary obstructions. Stenting improves swallowing and prevents complications like malnutrition.

Hemorrhoid Treatments
Both internal and external hemorrhoids can cause pain, itching and bleeding from the rectum. Rubber band ligation is an office procedure done during proctoscopy or anoscopy to cut off blood flow to internal hemorrhoids. The swollen tissue then shrinks and the band falls off in a few days. For larger external hemorrhoids, procedures like hemorrhoidectomy surgically remove the excess tissue. These procedures treat symptoms and prevent recurrence of hemorrhoids.

Gastrointestinal Motility Tests
Tests evaluate how well food moves through the GI tract, looking for causes of abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea or early fullness. Manometry measures pressure and contractions inside the esophagus, stomach or intestines via catheters, while transit studies use ingested radiopaque markers to monitor passage through the GI tract under fluoroscopy over 24-72 hours. Motility disorders are diagnosed to guide care.

Here are some additional online resources that provide useful information on common gastrointestinal procedures:

– American Gastroenterological Association:
Comprehensive information on GI procedures, patient guides, clinical practice updates.

– American College of Gastroenterology:
Evidence-based guidelines, videos demonstrating techniques, directory of gastroenterologists.

– U.S. National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus):
Easy-to-understand explanations of GI conditions and tests.

– Mayo Clinic:
In-depth articles on digestive disorders, before/after care of procedures.

– Cleveland Clinic:
Details on preparation, risks/benefits of each procedure.

– Gastroenterological Society of Australia:
Multimedia resources on therapeutic endoscopy, pathology case studies.

– European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy:
International perspectives, consensus positions on new technologies.

– Cancer Treatment Centers of America:
Specifically on GI cancer screening guidelines.

– Patient education videos from Johns Hopkins Medicine:
Visual demonstrations useful for patients.

– American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy:
Standards, technical guides on equipment/instrumentation.

These authoritative medical sources provide evidence-based data to supplement information on popular procedures.

In summary, these common GI endoscopic and minimally-invasive procedures help diagnose and manage a variety of gastrointestinal conditions through targeted internal examination, sampling and intervention. Coupled with other tests, they provide valuable insight into maintaining optimal digestive health and function.