From advanced technologies to leading edge procedures, our board certified specialists are leaders in precisely diagnosing the correct cause of digestive disorders.
Why Choose Us for the Diagnosis of Your Digestive System Condition
- Effective treatment starts with a precise diagnosis, and we are experts in finding the root cause of digestive disorders.
- We treat more patients with digestive disorders than any center in the region.
- Our specialists are all board certified in gastroenterology.
- As an academic medical center, we bring together every specialist you may need to collaborate onsite on your plan of care.
- We are the only center in the region to offer the broad array of minimally invasive procedures, including robotics.
- We care for the whole person; mind, body and spirit.
A Full Range of Treatments
Treatments range from lifestyle modification, medical management and swallowing therapy, to endoscopic treatments and surgery.
This study measures the pressures inside the rectum. It helps show if the muscles controlling bowel movements are working, or if you have normal feeling in the rectum. During the test, a soft thin tube with sensors is inserted into the rectum. You do not need to be sedated during the test.
Colonoscopy or Sigmoidoscopy
During a colonoscopy, your doctor looks inside the colon (large intestine) and takes tissue samples (biopsies). If colon polyps are found, they will be removed during the procedure. The test is performed using a thin flexible tube with a tiny camera attached that is inserted in the rectum and moved up into your colon. A sigmoidoscopy is similar, but the tube does not go into the colon as far. You may be sedated for comfort during this procedure.
Colon Transit Study or Sitz Marker Study
The sitz marker study tracks how long pill markers take to pass out of your body. You will be given a pill that contains radioactive markers to swallow. You will then need to have x-rays of your abdomen completed on different days.
Endoscopy enables an examination of your esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the duodenum. During the exam, your doctor puts a thin flexible tube with a camera attached in through your mouth and moves it into the upper gastrointestinal tract. Tissue samples may be taken if any abnormality is found. If a stricture is present in the esophagus area, this will be dilated. You may be sedated for comfort during this procedure.
Esophageal manometry measures the strength and function of the esophagus (the “food pipe”). It can help identify causes of heartburn, swallowing problems, or chest pain. The test can also help plan for possible surgery or determine the success of previous surgery. You will not be allowed to eat, drink, or smoke for up to 12 hours before the test.
The test takes about an hour. Usually, you lie down during the test. Your nose and throat are numbed. Then a soft, thin tube is placed through the nose and down the esophagus. You will be asked to swallow several times. Holes along the tube measure the pressure while you swallow. Measurements are printed out as tracings, much like a heart test tracing. After the test, another catheter may be left in the esophagus for up to 24 hours to measure acid (pH) levels. You may experience some irritation to the nose and throat during this procedure. You are not sedated with IV medicine during this procedure.
An Esophageal pH or Impedence Study measures how much acid and nonacid is refluxing up into the esophagus. You will begin this test by lying down. Your nose and throat are numbed. Then a soft, thin tube is placed through the nose and down into the esophagus. The tube will be left in the esophagus for up to 24 hours to measure acid and nonacid (pH) levels. You may experience some irritation to the nose and throat during this procedure. You should eat and continue your normal activities during this procedure.
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
During ERCP, a doctor with special training passes a flexible, thin tube with a camera attached through the your mouth and into the first part of the small intestine, where the bile duct and pancreatic duct exit. With this device, a small catheter can be passed into the bile duct to remove gallstones that might have gotten trapped and are the cause of pancreatitis. Sometimes, a special catheter is used to help the pancreas heal. You are sedated for this procedure with intravenous (IV) medicine.
Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)
During this test, a physician with special training passes a flexible, thin tube (endoscope) with an ultrasound attached through your mouth and into the stomach. An internal type of ultrasound is completed to evaluate the pancreas. You are sedated for this procedure with intravenous (IV) medicine.
Gastrostomy tube (PEG) placement
A gastrostomy is a direct opening through your abdominal wall into your stomach. Gastrostomy tube placement allows you to receive food and medicine without having to swallow. During the procedure, a gastrostomy tube (sometimes called PEG tube) is passed through this opening. They are used in temporary or permanent conditions where there is difficulty swallowing, such as with stroke, cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus, or radiation to the chest. They are more comfortable and easier to use than a tube from the nose to the stomach.
Gastrostomy tube placement is usually done during an endoscopy, using a flexible tube with a camera that is placed through your mouth into your stomach. You are sedated with intravenous (IV) medicine for comfort. Once the feeding tube is placed, the scope is removed. Feeding tubes usually will last approximately 6 to 12 months before they need to be replaced. Replacement is usually easier than the initial insertion because the opening into the stomach is already there.
This is a procedure in which a physician with specialized training passes a flexible tube with an ultrasound attached into the rectum. It uses sound waves to evaluate the internal organs in the rectal area.
Abdominal x-rays provide images of internal soft tissues, bones, and organs of the body.
A barium enema is an X-ray exam of your rectum and colon. This test helps your healthcare provider find problems such as blockages, tumors, polyps, or other problems. A tube is inserted into your rectum and your colon is filled with barium. The barium is a liquid that allows the radiologist to see what the inside of your bowel looks like with the use of X-ray images. Air is also usually placed into your bowel through the tube to allow for better visualization. You will be asked to move into different positions and hold your breath while X-rays are taken. Pressure may be applied to your belly to get the best images. After the last X-ray is taken, you may go to the bathroom to empty the barium out. You will need to drink plenty of water to relieve constipation you may have after the test. Your stool may appear white or light in color for a day or two following the test.
Computed Tomography (CT) scan
A computed tomography (CT) is an imaging procedure which uses X-ray equipment that provides a detailed view of the internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels. These images provide greater detail than traditional X-ray. There is a risk of radiation with repeated imaging studies, so it is not used in place of regular x-rays. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a reaction to contrast material (IV or x-ray dye). If you have had a reaction, you may need to take medicine before your scan.
You may be required to drink contrast by mouth before arriving for the study depending on the type of exam you are having. When you arrive, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. Remove all metal near the part of your body that will be scanned, including jewelry, eyeglasses, and dentures. Women may need to remove any bra that has metal underwire. You will lie on a table and the table slides into the CT scanner. During the scan, you may be given contrast material via an intravenous (IV) line. The technologist will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan. The length of the procedure may vary, depending on your condition and your provider's practices. After the scan has been completed, you can go back to your normal diet and activities right away. Any contrast will pass naturally through your body within a day. If contrast material is used during this procedure, you will need to drink plenty of water after the test.
A defecography is an X-ray exam of your rectum and colon. This test helps your healthcare provider evaluate how well your pelvic floor muscles and rectum are working while you are having a bowel movement. A barium paste is placed into your rectum that mimics the feeling of stool. You will sit on a toilet next to a video x-ray machine. You will be asked to squeeze and hold in the paste. Then you will be told to strain as if you are having a bowel movement. The radiologist will look for problems as you push out the barium paste.
Esophagram/Upper GI series
An upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series is an X-ray exam of your upper digestive tract, the area from your mouth to the start of your small intestine. This test uses fluoroscopy, a type of real time x-ray that can show organs in motion. This test helps your healthcare provider find problems such as ulcers, tumors, and certain diseases.
You will drink barium liquid and may be asked to swallow a tablet. You may need to stand or lie in different positions or have your exam table tilted in various directions. Following this examination, your stool may appear white or lighter than normal. You may have some constipation caused by drinking the barium. You can relieve this by taking a stool softener and drinking plenty of fluids for several days after the exam.
Gastric Emptying Study
A gastric emptying scan is an imaging test. It measures how quickly food travels from the stomach into the small bowel (intestine). During the test, you’re given a meal to eat that contains a small amount of a flavorless radioactive substance (tracer). After you finish the meal, you will be asked to lie on your back on an exam table. Then scans of the stomach are done. You must lie still during this process. The tracer shows up clearly on the scans and tracks the movement of the food through your stomach. As food empties from the stomach, the amount of tracer decreases. This allows the radiologist to measure the rate at which food is leaving the stomach and if you have a motility problem. This test may take up to 5 hours to complete and you will not be allowed to eat or drink or perform any strenuous activities during this period.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that lets your doctor see detailed pictures of the inside of your body. MRI combines the use of strong magnets and radio waves to form an MRI image. With the use of strong magnets, metal is affected by the magnets and can distort the image. The magnet used in the MRI can also cause metal objects in your body to move. Because of this, some people may not be able to have this imaging study. This includes if you have implanted devices such as a pacemaker or defibrillator; or a foreign body such as metal shrapnel, orthopedic hardware, or a different type metallic object in your body. Women who are pregnant should not have an MRI. If you have problems with claustrophobia or are a large person, this imaging study may not be the best option for you. Intravenous contrast material (IV dye) may be given during this test so that the images can be seen more clearly, so be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a reaction to contrast material.
You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and will lie down on a platform that slides into the magnet. You may be given earplugs to wear if you need them. This test takes about 30 to 60 minutes. You can get back to normal activities right away. If you were given contrast, it will pass naturally through your body within a day. You may be told to drink more water following this test.
Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
MRCP uses MRI imaging to make detailed images of your pancreas, gallbladder, and the pancreas and biliary ducts. Contrast material (IV dye) may be injected into your blood vein so that images can be seen more clearly. Please see the information about the MRI for further details about this imaging study.
The abdominal ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to see the internal organs of the belly. It can help find organ problems, such as gallstones, kidney stones, or liver disease. If needed as part of your exam, it also checks how blood is flowing through different blood vessels. Ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation and does not have any known risks.
During this test, you may be asked to put on a hospital gown. You will lie on an exam on an exam table with your abdomen exposed. A non-greasy gel will be put on your skin. The sonographer (the person who performs the ultrasound) will use a handheld probe (transducer) against your abdomen. This probe helps create the images of your abdominal organs. The sonographer can answer questions about the test, but only a doctor can explain the results.