Common Procedures

Capsule Endoscopy (PillCam®)

Capsule endoscopy is a special technique used to evaluate the digestive tract, particularly the esophagus and small intestine. This painless procedure involves swallowing a special capsule (about the size of a large vitamin) containing a miniature video camera with a light and transmitter. The tiny camera will travel through the digestive system and capture images along the way. These images are then transmitted to a recording device that is worn around one's waist. The capsule is expelled through a normal bowel movement and is not digested or absorbed by the body. This procedure is performed at one of our area hospitals.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a routine procedure that involves the use of a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope for viewing the entire length and inner lining of the large intestine, which consists of the colon and rectum. This method of screening detects colon polyps, or abnormal growths of tissue, which can turn cancerous over time if allowed to continue growing. If a physician finds polyps during the screening, they are usually removed during the procedure. Colonoscopies also help identify any ulcers, tumors, areas of bleeding or inflammation, or other intestinal problems that may need to be addressed.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)

An ERCP is a test that combines the use of an endoscope with x-ray images to examine the functioning of the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas. During the procedure, an endoscope is inserted through the mouth and moved down the throat into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum until it reaches where the ducts from the pancreas and gallbladder drain into the duodenum. An ERCP is often performed to examine causes of abdominal pain, find and remove gallstones, or check for diseases of the liver, bile ducts, or pancreas. This procedure is performed at one of our area hospitals.

Esophageal pH Monitoring

Esophageal pH monitoring is a test for measuring how much stomach acid is entering the esophagus. It is commonly used to test for heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A thin tube is inserted through the nose or mouth and positioned near the lower esophagus. The probe is then plugged into a small unit (or monitor) worn on your belt or over your shoulder to measure the acid level in your esophagus for 24 hours. The tube will be removed the next day, after which a physician will assess the test results and determine the best course of action.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

During this procedure, a physician uses a sigmoidoscope, a long, flexible, tubular instrument about 1/2 inch in diameter, to examine the lining of the rectum and the lower portion of the colon known as the sigmoid colon. This test is often used to evaluate a variety of gastrointestinal concerns, including abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits. It is also used to screen people ages 50 and older for colon and rectal cancer.

Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

An upper endoscopy is a procedure that uses a thin scope with a light and camera at the tip to examine the upper digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). It is often used to determine the causes of symptoms such as abdominal or chest pain, bleeding, heartburn, nausea, swallowing problems, and vomiting.