Gastroenterology, often also called digestive endoscopy, is a specialty of medicine dedicated to the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of diseases of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. It also supports infectious and cancerous conditions of the digestive system in adults, as well as pathologies of certain digestive glands such as the liver, the bile ducts and the pancreas (except its endocrine function which is part of endocrinology).

The gastroenterologist chooses from the various methods available to examine these organs. The most widely used exploration technique is endoscopy: this technique involves inserting a tube with a small video camera through the esophagus. The doctor then analyzes the images transmitted on a screen. The entire examination process in its entirety seldom takes more than 30 minutes.

In terms of diagnosis, this specialty uses many medical tools such as consultation, laboratory analysis biology, medical imaging and abdominal ultrasound. But she is best known for her use of digestive endoscopy.

Endoscopic examinations are often ordered by the specialist in order to confirm a diagnosis of digestive diseases. The most commonly performed exams are:

    • Esophagoscopy: observation and examination of the esophagus using an endoscope
    • Gastroscopy: examination of the upper digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum
    • Proctoscopy: examination to visualize the anal canal, the entire rectum and the distal part of the sigmoid colon. The doctor uses a rectoscope (a rigid endoscope with an optical camera and lighting) that he inserts through the anus to detect the presence of an abnormality
    • Colonoscopy: examination of the lower digestive tract including the rectum, sigmoid colon and entire colon, as well as the end of the small intestine
    • Sigmoidoscopy: The doctor uses sigmoidoscope to observe the lining of the sigmoid colon (part of the colon next to the rectum)
    • Low and high echo-endoscopy: endoscopic ultrasound
    • Ultrasounds
    • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography ERCP: diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the pancreas and bile ducts
    • Liver puncture and biopsy

In terms of treatment, once the diagnosis is confirmed, the gastroenterologist decides on the appropriate medication for the patient or selects a surgical procedure. He also advises his patients, for example on their future diet. The gastroenterology department works closely with the visceral surgery department, as well as with the institute for diagnostic radiology, oncology and also with clinical nutrition.