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Advances in Diagnosing GI Disorders

Advances in Diagnosing GI Disorders

The challenges in differential and accurate diagnosis, and the significance of timely detection of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions for optimal treatment outcomes has driven the need for better diagnostic tools and techniques.

The challenges in differential and accurate diagnosis, and the significance of timely detection of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions for optimal treatment outcomes has driven the need for better diagnostic tools and techniques.

Advances in endoscopy

The development of the endoscope in the 19th century has proven to be an excellent tool to perform the minimally invasive approach for diagnosing many GI conditions. The original endoscope, a narrow lighted tube with a camera at its end, soon advanced to a flexible fiber optic tube and then to the incorporation of other imaging techniques and advancements to improve diagnosis and treatment. Some of the notable innovations that have taken GI management to the next level are listed below.

Greater Houston Gastroenterology is always in the forefront of medical technology and offers the most up-to-date techniques and state of the art equipment to ensure optimal care to our patients.

At Greater Houston Gastroenterology, we provide specialized services and treatments for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions. Our dedicated clinical staff and physician assistants are available to assist in delivering high-quality treatment and expert care. As the largest GI group in the greater Houston area, we offer 17 locations for your convenience.

  • Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS): Introduced in the 80’s endoscopic ultrasonography combines the imaging technique of ultrasound with endoscopy to produce high quality images of the GI tract. EUS consists of an endoscope with an ultrasound processor on its tip. As it is passed through the mouth and digestive system, the ultrasound processor sends out sound waves that create images. By combining these two techniques, your doctor can view the digestive lining with the endoscope, and also the tract wall and surrounding organs such as the pancreas, bile ducts, liver and lymph nodes.

    EUS also allows fine needle biopsy, where a sample of tissue can be removed for investigation. Apart from this, immunotherapy and anti-tumor agents can be delivered through the endoscope to treat unresectable tumors. EUS has revolutionized the timely diagnosis and staging of GI tumors.

  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography combines X-ray imaging and endoscopy to examine the inside of the upper digestive system. ERCP not only helps in diagnosis, but allows your doctor to simultaneously treat any problem by passing special instruments through separate channels within the lighted tube.

    ERCP was first reported in 1968 as endoscopic cannulation of the papilla of Vater in an effort to allow visualization of problems in the pancreas and its related structures. Since then ERCP has evolved in instrumentation as well as technique, with around 50,000 procedures performed every year in the US.

  • Wireless capsule endoscopy, PillCam: In 2000, the medical specialty was introduced to the capsule endoscope, which consists of a miniaturized pill-sized camera that is swallowed by the patient, a set of antennae attached on the patient to receive data from the pill and a portable device that stores this data for the doctor to review at the end of the procedure.

    Once the wireless capsule is swallowed, the patient is then allowed to continue with their regular activities and are not required to stay in the hospital through the procedure. As the endoscope travels through the GI tract, the camera allows the visualization of the tract to detect conditions such as GI bleeding, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and tumors. The main advantages of this technology is patient comfort, ability to reach far into the small intestine and ease of use. However, this technology only facilitates diagnosis. As it does not provide treatment options, it has not been able to replace conventional endoscopes.

Greater Houston Gastroenterology is always in the forefront of medical technology and offers the most up-to-date techniques and state of the art equipment to ensure optimal care to our patients.

At Greater Houston Gastroenterology, we provide specialized services and treatments for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions. Our dedicated clinical staff and physician assistants are available to assist in delivering high-quality treatment and expert care. As the largest GI group in the greater Houston area, we offer 17 locations for your convenience.

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