Gastroenterology is a subspecialty of medicine where physicians treat diseases of the digestive system. Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract include the esophagus, stomach, small intestine (duodenum, jejune, and ileum), large intestine (colon, rectum, and anus). Gastroenterologists also treat disorders of the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder which are the solid organs of the digestive system.
Gastroenterology at Bayou Region Surgery Center
The gastroenterology at Bayou Region Surgery Center provides comprehensive treatment plans for diagnosing and treating a wide range of diseases and disorders of the GI tract and digestive system. The gastroenterologists work closely with general surgeons in case surgical interventionis required. BRSC surgeons offer the most up-to-date, cutting-edge technologies available including endoscopic, laparoscopic, and robotic procedures to allow our patients to recover comfortably at home.
Common gastroenterology procedures:
- Upper endoscopy
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Conditions treated include:
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Biliary system disease (benign and malignant)
- Gastrointestinal tumors
- Hiatal hernia
- Infectious diseases of the rectum and colon
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Liver tumors (primary and metastatic)
- Pancreatic diseases (benign and malignant)
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Primary neoplasms of the colon, rectum, small bowel, and stomach
- Radiation bowel injury
- Reflux esophagitis (GERD)
Upper Endoscopy – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
The surgeons at Bayou Region Surgery Center routinely perform upper endoscopy procedures to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (upper section of the small intestine). During the upper endoscopy, your surgeon utilizes a long, thin, flexible tube equipped with a light and tiny camera (endoscope). With the patient mildly sedated, the endoscope is inserted into the throat through the mouth to visualize the inside of the upper digestive system. The camera transmits images to a monitor to enable the doctor to look for abnormalities, as well as treat certain conditions that may be found. Air may be gently pumped into the esophagus to allow for better movement of the endoscope and for better visibility of the digestive tract folds. If a tissue sample (biopsy) or surgical procedure such as polyp removal is needed, tiny specialized instruments are passed through the endoscope to accomplish the treatment.
An upper endoscopy can help determine why a patient is experiencing symptoms such as:
- Abdominal or chest pain
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Swallowing difficulty (dysphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
Your doctor may recommend an upper endoscopy to help diagnose your symptoms since it is much more accurate than an x-ray for examining the digestive tract and detecting abnormal growths.
Upper endoscopy is useful in detecting conditions such as:
- Tumors (benign and malignant/cancerous)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Narrowing or blockages in the digestive structures
- Hiatal hernia
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease (affecting the upper GI tract)
- Digestive tract damage from caustic substances
- Upper GI tract infections
Treatments that are commonly performed during upper endoscopy include:
- Tumor or growth removal
- Dilation (opening) of narrowed structures
- Bleeding control
- Removal of stuck objects/food
- Placement of a percutaneous gastrostomy tube for feeding
- Band esophageal varices (abnormal veins often caused by liver disease)
An upper endoscopy typically takes about 15-30 minutes, after which the patient rests while the sedation wears off (approximately an hour). It is recommended that the patient rest at home the remainder of the day.
Colonoscopy (Lower GI Endoscopy)
A colonoscopy is performed using a colonoscope (long flexible tube similar to an endoscope) inserted into the rectum to examine the large intestine (the colon and rectum). Air or carbon dioxide is pumped through the tube to inflate the colon allowing the gastroenterologist to visualize the lining of the entire colon. During the procedure, the patient is sedated so that no discomfort is experienced.
Colonoscopies are commonly performed to screen patients for colon cancer. Colon cancer screening is recommended starting at age 50. During a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist will identify and remove any polyps (abnormal growths) as well as take a tissue sample (biopsy) of any other abnormal findings which will be tested for malignancy.
If your colonoscopy results are negative (no abnormalities), and you have no higher than average colon cancer risks, your doctor will likely recommend a colonoscopy in ten years. If polyps are found, your doctor may recommend repeating a colonoscopy sooner, usually after five years. If a colonoscopy cannot be completed due to residual stool in the colon, or if abnormal growths and/or tissue could not be removed at the time of the procedure, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy after one year.
A colonoscopy can also be utilized to investigate the cause of symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Chronic constipation
- Rectal bleeding
- Chronic diarrhea
- Other unexplained intestinal problems
A colonoscopy procedure typically takes 30-60 minutes. The patient is released once the sedative has worn off, and someone is present to drive the patient home.
A sigmoidoscopy (aka flexible sigmoidoscopy) is similar to a colonoscopy, but only the lower third of the colon (the sigmoid colon) and the rectum lining is examined. Your doctor may recommend a sigmoidoscopy for patients with symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Mild rectal bleeding
- Changes in bowel habits
- Anal itching
A sigmoidoscopy can help detect:
- Tumors and/or cancer
- Abnormal cells
- Narrowing of the lower colon (strictures)
The Bayou Region Surgery Center is a state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center offering advanced, innovative, and compassionate outpatient care. Our board-certified gastroenterology surgical staff has extensive training, experience, and skill in diagnosing and treating all manners of GI tract and digestive system disorders.
Disclaimer: These pages are not intended to provide medical or surgical advice or physician instruction on medical care or treatment. If you are a patient, consult with your doctor about treatment options that may be appropriate for your medical condition.