What is Gastroenterology ?
Gastroenterology is primarily concerned with the digestive diseases. It focuses on the treatment of diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract involving stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, esophagus, large intestine and small intestine. A Gastroenterologist properly diagnoses and treats the diseases of the digestive system.
Who should consider Gastroenterology Surgery ?
Weight loss and change in bowel habit are the alarming symptoms for gastroenterology. Apart from these, there are some conditions where the patient is required to consult a specialist –
- Abdominal Pain
- Blood in the stool
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or Acid Reflux
The organs affected by gastrointestinal system
- Bowel and colon cancers
- Biliary tract disease
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Gastric cancers
- Colon polyps
- Esophageal cancers
- Cancer and gall bladder stones
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Malabsorption and nutritional problems
- Gastroesophageal Reflux
Types of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Different types of gastrointestinal surgery can treat the following conditions that can improve quality of life of for many patients. Some of these conditions include –
- Mediastinal masses
- Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPR)
- Paraesophageal hernias, hiatal hernias and ventral hernias
- Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) or severe heartburn
- GIST and other stomach tumors
- Esophageal disease
- Anorectal disease including rectal prolapse, incontinence
- Gallbladder disease
- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Enterocutaneous fistula and short bowel syndrome
The extent and type of GI (Gastrointestinal Surgery) largely depend upon the location and the size of the cancer. Gastrointestinal surgery could be the only treatment and can also be performed along with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Gallbladder Cancer : Surgery is used for treating the early stages of gallbladder cancers.
Stomach Cancer : Gastrectomy is the procedure by which the stomach cancer is treated. Partial gastrectomy is used for removing a part of the stomach. The remaining part of the stomach is connected with esophagus to the small intestine.
Liver Cancer : Hepatectomy is the surgical procedure for removing the parts of liver. 80% of the liver can be removed if the rest liver tissue is healthy. The left part of the liver helps in proper functioning of the liver.
Pancreatic Cancer : Whipple procedure is used for treating pancreatic cancer in order to remove the first part of the small intestine, head of the pancreas, part of the stomach and the bile duct. The tail and body of the spleen and the pancreas can be removed with the help of a distal pancreatectomy procedure.
Esophageal Cancer : A part or the entire esophagus can be removed with the help of esophagectomy procedure. This is done for treating the esophageal cancer.
Colorectal Cancer : The removal of the rectum or a segment of the colon and the 2 remaining ends are reconnected for the purpose of treating the colorectal cancer. The colostomy is the rare procedure by which a new path is created for taking out the waste products. An opening is made in the abdomen for connecting the opening with the intestine. A bag is then fitted in the opening in order to collect the waste.
Gastroenterology Diseases and Treatments
Diseases of the Small Intestine
- Obscure bleeding and Diverticulosis
- Mal Absorption Syndrome
Diseases of the Duodenum and Stomach
- Fungal Infections
Diseases of the Gall Bladder
- Cancer of the Bladder
- Stone diseases
Diseases of the Colon
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Cancer and Diverticulosis
Diseases of the Pancreas
- Pseudo Pancreatic Cyst
- Pancreas Cancer
- Chronic Pancreatitis
- Acute Pancreatitis
Diseases of the Esophagus
- Achalasia Cardia
- Variceal Bleeding
- Foreign body removal
- Malignant and benign strictures
Diseases of the Liver
- Acute Hepatitis
- Amoebic Abscess
- Chronic Hepatitis
- Liver Cancer
Gastroenterology Surgery Procedures
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) : Here a camera and a long flexible tube with a light along with an endoscope at the end of it is used. This is done through the stomach, the esophagus and the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The dye is injected through the common bile duct when an endoscope reaches the papilla (the opening of the common bile duct). This process enables the physician to take x-rays. The procedure is meant for those who develops jaundice or experience abdominal pain. Scar tissue that is blocking the bile duct, tumors or gallstones can be easily identified through this procedure.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy : This procedure enables the physician to study the sigmoid colon from inside. The colon (the large bowel) is gastrointestinal tracts’s last portion. The section of the colon closest to the anus and rectum is known as the sigmoid. The sigmoid colon is 20 inches of the colon which is 4 feet in length. The basic function of the colon is to store the byproducts of the food till they get eliminated. The purpose of flexible sigmoidoscopies is to assess the changes in bowel habits, blood loss and pain.
Colonoscopy : The large bowel, also referred to as colon, is the gastrointestinal tracts’s last portion. Colonoscopy is the procedure where a colonoscope is used for examining the colon. While inserting the scope, a small amount of air is put inside the colon. The physician can take pictures of the colon and can also guide the colonoscope throughout the length of the colon. The procedure is used for evaluating abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits and blood loss. The procedure is performed in the prevention and screening of colorectal cancer.
Capsule Endoscopy : The procedure is useful in examining the complete small intestine. A vitamin pill- sized video capsule is ingested having its own light source and camera. The images are then sent by the video capsule that is travelling through the entire body. The images then can be seen on the waist belt which the patient is wearing having a data recorder. The procedure helps in determining the persistent or recurrent symptoms like anemia bleeding, abdominal pain or diarrhea that cannot be diagnosed with the techniques of x-rays, endoscopy and colonoscopy.
Liver Biopsy : The procedure is used for determining any presence of fibrosis, inflammation and is also used for diagnosing the liver diseases.
Endoscopic Untrasonography (EUS) : The procedure is used for examining the lower or upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. Gallbladder and pancreas are the internal organs that can also be examined through this procedure.
Double Balloon Enteroscopy : The procedure is performed for examining small intestine where the earlier techniques are not able to reach. A high resolution video endoscope is used having latex balloons. These balloons are attached at the tips and can be deflated and inflated with air through a system of pressure controlled pump. Deflation or inflation cycles help in advancing more into the small intestine. The procedure is used for Crohn’s disease, gastrointestinal bleeding and unexplained diarrhea.
Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy : This procedure in concerned with the upper part of the GI (Gastrointestinal tract) that includes stomach, duodenum and esophagus. The procedure is performed for diagnosing and evaluating the problems like abdominal or stomach pain, tumors and ulcers, bleeding, difficulty in swallowing and chronic heartburn.