Upper endoscopy or esophageal gastroduodenoscopy
In this procedure, a thin, lighted, flexible tube called an endoscope is inserted down the patient’s throat.
The physician is able to view the lining of the esophagus – the part of the digestive system that conveys food from the mouth to the stomach – and the upper part of the small intestine through the tube.
A long, flexible tubular instrument called the colonoscope is used to view the entire lining of the colon – the large intestine – and the rectum.
Feeding tube placement
A flexible narrow tube is inserted into some portion of the digestive tract so that liquid formulas or foods can be placed into the tube to provide the patient with nutrition.
Biliary procedures, including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
Biliary procedures are interventional radiology techniques that are used to see the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder, and gallbladder ducts.
Bile is required to digest food and is excreted by the liver into bile ducts, long tube-like structures.
ERCP draws on both endoscopy and fluoroscopy – an imaging technique using x-rays – to identify and treat problems of the biliary or pancreatic systems of ducts.
ERCP is used primarily to diagnose and treat conditions of the bile ducts, such as gallstones, inflammatory strictures or scars, leaks from trauma and surgery, and cancer.
Endoscopic ultrasound with biopsy
In this medical procedure, a probe is combined with ultrasound – high frequency sound waves – to capture images of the internal organs in the abdomen. It is used in the upper digestive tract by specially trained gastroenterologists.
Wireless video endoscopy or video capsule endoscopy
This new noninvasive technology is designed to provide diagnostic imaging of the small intestine, which historically has been difficult for physicians to see.
Patients swallow a capsule that contains a tiny camera and wireless transmitter. About the size of a large vitamin, the capsule is made of biologically safe material that resists corrosion by stomach acids and digestive enzymes.
While patients continue their regular activities, the tiny camera takes thousands of photos during its eight-hour journey through the digestive tract.
The digital data is recorded on a small device worn around the patient’s waist. At the end of the eight hours, the patient returns to the doctor’s office and the recording device is removed.
The stored digital images are then transformed into a movie that the gastroenterologist can examine on a computer monitor. The disposable video capsule is eliminated from the patient’s body with the next bowel movement.
This test measures the pressure inside the lower part of the esophagus, the tube that conveys food from the mouth to the stomach. Its purpose is to determine if the esophagus is contracting and relaxing properly.
The test helps in the diagnosis of swallowing problems. If you have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), your doctor may recommend esophageal manometry.
GERD is a condition in which food or liquid travels backward from the stomach into the esophagus. When this happens, it can irritate the esophagus causing heartburn and other symptoms.
During esophageal manometry, a thin, pressure-sensitive tube is passed through your mouth or nose and down into your stomach. Then, the tube is pulled slowly back through your esophagus as you swallow several times.
With each swallow, the tube measures the pressure of your muscle contractions at that point in your esophagus.
Monitoring acid in the esophagus for GERD
This test measures how often stomach acid enters the esophagus and how long it stays there. A thin tube is passed through your nose or mouth down to your stomach, and then pulled back into your esophagus.
The tube is attached to a monitor that measures the level of acidity in your esophagus. You wear the monitor for 24 hours and record your activities and symptoms in a diary.
The next day the tube is removed, and the information from the monitor is compared with your diary notes.