What is Gastroenterology ?

Gastroenterology is the study and treatment of the diseases of the digestive tract.  The digestive tract includes stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, oesophagus, large intestine and small intestine. A Gastroenterologist is a physician who specialises in treatment of the diseases of the digestive tract.

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 –

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or Acid Reflux

Gastroenterology Disorders

The organs affected by gastrointestinal system

  • Bowel and colon cancers
  • Biliary tract disease
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cholecystitis
  • Gastric cancers
  • Hepatitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Colon polyps
  • Esophageal cancers
  • Cancer and gall bladder stones
  • Achalasia
  • 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
  • Achalasia
  • 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

Gastroenterology Diseases and Treatments

Diseases of the Small Intestine

  • Obscure bleeding and Diverticulosis
  • Mal Absorption Syndrome
  • Tuberculosis
  • Diseases of the Duodenum and Stomach
  • Fungal Infections
  • Ulcers
  • Cancer
  • Diseases of the Gall Bladder
  • Cancer of the Bladder
  • Cholecystitis
  • Stone diseases
  • Diseases of the Colon
  • Tuberculosis
  • 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
  • Cirrhosis
  • Acute Hepatitis
  • Amoebic Abscess
  • Chronic Hepatitis
  • Liver Cancer

Gastroenterology Surgery Procedures

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP):   This procedure uses a long, thin flexible tube with a camera and a torch attached to it called endoscope.  The endoscope is inserted via the mouth through the oesophagus into the stomach and duodenum (the initial portion of the small intestine).  Contrast dye is injected via the common bile duct once the endoscope nears the papilla (mouth of the common bile duct).  This procedure allows the doctor to take images.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy:  This procedure allows the doctor to visualise the inside of the sigmoid colon. The colon, known as the large intestine, is the end portion of the gastrointestinal system. The part of the large intestine nearest to the rectum and anus is called the sigmoid. The sigmoid colon consists of 20 inches of the large intestine which is 4 feet long. The primary function of the large intestine is to store faeces till they are evacuated.

Colonoscopy : The colon or the large bowel is the end portion of the gastrointestinal system. Colonoscopy is done to visualise the colon using a colonoscope.  The scope is inserted and some amount of air is passed into the colon. The physician then takes images of the colon while steering the colonoscope throughout the colon.

Capsule Endoscopy : This procedure is done to visualise the small intestine. A tablet-sized capsule is swallowed which has its own source of light and camera. The video capsule sends images while going through the gastrointestinal tract. The images are sent to the waist belt worn by the patient that has a data recorder.

Liver Biopsy:  Liver biopsy is done to diagnose liver diseases such as liver inflammation, fibrosis, etc.

Endoscopic Ultrasonography (EUS): This diagnostic procedure is done to determine the extent of disease in the gastrointestinal tract. Gallbladder and pancreas are can also be investigated with the help of this procedure.

Double Balloon Enteroscopy:  This procedure is done to examine those parts of small bowel which are unreachable using other procedures.  A high-resolution endoscope is utilised which has latex balloons. These balloons which are positioned at the tips can be either deflated or inflated using a pressure controlled pump. Inflation and deflation cycles push the scope deeper into the small intestine. This procedure is helps in diagnosing Crohn’s disease, diarrhoea of unknown cause and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy:  This procedure is done to examine the stomach, duodenum and oesophagus.  This procedure is done to look for causes of abdominal or stomach pain, tumours, ulcers, bleeding, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, etc.

Cost of Gastroenterology Surgery

Surgical procedures for treating gastroenterologic diseases are highly cost-effective in India and all hospitals in India have the facility to perform endoscopic procedures.