The physicians of the Division of Digestive Diseases employ the latest technology to diagnose and treat patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders. Below are a few commonly performed procedures.


Capsule Endoscopy

Traditional endoscopy is a non surgical procedure used to examine the digestive tract using a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it. This allows the physician to view pictures of the digestive tract on a TV monitor. Video capsule endoscopy also allows the physician to examine the digestive tract. However, the exam is done via capsule swallowed by the patient. The capsule contains a tiny video camera and its progress is monitored as it travels through the gastrointestinal tract. The camera takes pictures of the internal structures and sends them to a data recorder worn by the patient. After eight hours the recorded data is removed and pictures are reviewed. The capsule is expelled by the body in two to three days during a bowel movement.


Colonoscopy

Patients suffering from gastrointestinal problems may need to undergo a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a test that allows a physician to examine the large intestine (rectum and colon). During the procedure, a flexible video endoscope is passed through the anus and guided through the rectum and colon to provide a diagnostic view of the lining of the colon and access for treatment. At the time of the procedure, tissue samples can be collected (this is called a biopsy) and abnormal growths (like polyps) can be taken out. Colonoscopy is frequently used as a screening test to check for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps).


Upper GI Endoscopy (also known as EGD)

Upper endocscopy is a procedure where a flexible video endoscope is inserted into the mouth to look inside the upper digestive tract consisting of the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine (or the duodenum). Patients exhibiting symptoms of abdominal or chest pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, bleeding or swallowing problems may need to undergo an EGD to identify and treat their condition.

At the time of the procedure, tissue samples can be collected (this is called a biopsy) and abnormal growths (like polyps) can be removed. In addition to polyp removal, EGD allows patients to receive treatment for strictures of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (via balloon dilation or stent placement), as well as bleeding due to ulcers or cancer.


Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP)

This is a specialized endoscopy that involves the combination of endoscopy and X-rays to study the bile ducts and pancreas. The bile ducts connect the liver to the small intestine. These ducts are the drainage system of the liver and gallbladder and serve to deliver bile, an important digestive fluid, from the liver to small intestine. ERCP is very useful in the diagnosis and treatment of gallstones and pancreatic diseases. Some gallstones can get lodged in the bile ducts and ERCP allows the physician to remove them.

Sometimes, more specialized techniques are required to facilitate the extraction of larger and harder gallstones such as mechanical, laser or electrohydraulic lithotripsy to break stones. When a narrowing is present in the bile duct or pancreas due to chronic diseases or cancer, ERCP allows for stents to be placed through the endoscope and into the pancreatic duct or the bile ducts to allow for proper drainage and excretion of important digestive fluids.


Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

This is a specialized form of endoscopy that uses a built-in miniature ultrasound probe on the tip of the endoscope to inspect the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract and other organs near it in great detail. Endoscopic ultrasound has allowed a minimally invasive means of taking biopsies of hard-to-reach lymph nodes, liver lesions, and pancreatic cysts and tumors. This specialized form of a sonogram is useful for examining organ structures and blood vessels from close range. It also serves to determine the stage of cancerous conditions before planning surgery or chemotherapy.

Our mission is to provide first-rate, state-of-the-art quality care to all our patients. For more information about gastrointestinal services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel or to make an appointment, please call 212.420.4015.

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