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Gastroenterology Tests and Procedures

New Technologies in Gastroenterology


An endoscope is a thin flexible tube that allows the doctor to see inside the digestive tract. It has a tiny camera in the tip, and channels for pumping in or out air and water, and to pass instruments through to perform procedures.  An endoscope can be passed through the mouth into the upper gastrointestinal tract (gastroscopy) or into the rectum and colon (colonoscopy).The doctor views the digestive tract on a video monitor whilst directing the endoscope. 
More information: Wikipedia:AGA


Gastroscopy is a procedure that enables your doctor to visualise the lining of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and part of the duodenum (small bowel) by inserting an endoscope through your mouth.
More information: Wikipedia:AGA


Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables your doctor to examine the lining of the colon (large bowel) for abnormalities by inserting an endoscope through the rectum and advancing it slowly around the large bowel.
More information: Wikipedia:AGA:GESA

Capsule endoscopy (Pillcam)

Capsule endoscopy enables examination of the entire small intestine.  A vitamin-pill sized video capsule is ingested, which has its own camera and light source. During the 8 hour exam, the video capsule travels through the body and sends images to a data recorder worn on a waist belt. Most patients find the test comfortable. Afterwards the doctor views the images on a video monitor.
More information: Wikipedia

Endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP)

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a technique that combines the use of endoscopy and x-rays to diagnose and treat certain problems of the bile ducts coming from the liver or the pancreatic duct system.  Through the endoscope, the physician can see the inside of the stomach and duodenum, and inject dyes into the ducts in the biliary tree and pancreas so they can be seen on x-rays.
More information: Wikipedia : AGA

Oesophageal Manometry

This technology is used for assessing the function of the oesophagus (gullet). Manometry is the study of pressures and coordination in the oesophagus.  A catheter (long thin tube) is placed into the oesophagus during the study and pressure tracings are shown on a computer.  Testing can diagnose a number of conditions including gastro-oesophageal reflux, oesophageal spasm (which can cause chest pain), and poor coordination or abnormal pressures that can cause difficulty with swallowing (dysphagia).
More information: Wikipedia

Ambulatory Oesophageal pH study

This test is used to detect acid reflux from the stomach into the oesophagus.  It helps determine the presence and severity of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, and is also useful in investigating cough and chest pain symptoms.  A thin wire is placed through the nose and into oesophagus.  The wire remains in place for 24 hours, during which time the pH (acidity) of the oesophagus is recorded on a small box and then uploaded onto a computer for analysis.

Anorectal Manometry

This is a test to assess the function of the anal sphincter and rectum.  The test is sometimes used to look for causes of constipation, faecal incontinence and anal pain.  A catheter (thin tube) with a small balloon at the tip is placed into the anal canal.  Anal sphincter and rectum pressures are measured and the pressure tracings are shown on a computer.

Liver Biopsy

This test is sometimes used to determine the cause of liver disease or the severity of the disease.  Local anaesthetic is injected into the skin over the liver and then a long thin hollow needle is inserted into the liver to obtain a sample of liver tissue.  This is often done with an ultrasound scanner to help direct the needle.  The liver tissue is then analysed under a microscope.