What are Gastrointestinal Procedures?

There are several different types of gastrointestinal procedures that treat a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders and diseases. The type of gastrointestinal intestinal procedure you may need will depend on the type of digestive disorder that is suspected or that has already been diagnosed. Most gastrointestinal procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. Baptist Health offers routine diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures, advanced diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures, and gastro surgical procedures. Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures can be used to detect abnormalities and assist in diagnosing. They may also be used for treatment of certain conditions. Common procedures include:

  • Capsule Endoscopy (PillCam). Patients swallow a capsule that has a camera on it. The camera makes its way through the digestive tract and takes images of areas not easily reached by other procedures. The camera will pass normally through the stool.
  • Colonoscopy. This procedure inserts a tube-like instrument through the rectum and colon to detect any polyps, cancer, or other abnormalities. If necessary, tissue samples will be collected and assessed, and any abnormal growths can be removed.
  • Enteroscopy (endoscopy of the small intestine). This procedure inserts a thin, flexible tube with a camera through the esophagus, stomach, and a portion of the small intestine. Doctors can also use forceps or scissors attached to the end of the tube to remove any abnormal tissue for analysis.
  • Upper Endoscopy (endoscopy of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum). This procedure uses a thin, flexible tube to examine the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Doctors may also use the same instrument to extract a tissue sample to be biopsied.
  • Barrett’s Esophagus Tissue Ablation. This procedure inserts a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) into your esophagus and performs ablation on the damaged cells. Ablation treatments destroy damaged esophageal tissue and prevent any progression of Barrett’s esophagus by using hot or cold energy to target precancerous esophageal cells. This type of procedure also helps to preserve the healthy esophageal tissue.
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This procedure uses an endoscope and x-ray to diagnose and treat problems with the liver, gall bladder, bile ducts, and pancreas. A doctor will inject a dye into the tube which passes through the biliary and pancreatic ducts and highlights the structures in these organs.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS). This procedure uses an endoscope to examine the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract. It uses ultrasound technology to give detailed imaging of the GI tract.
  • Reflux disease, including complex hiatal hernia repair. A complex hiatal hernia repair is needed when a hole in the diaphragm shifts the stomach or other abdominal organs into the chest and causes difficulties in eating and breathing. The surgery pulls the stomach back into the abdomen and makes the hole in the diaphragm smaller.
  • Foregut surgery and esophageal motility testing. Foregut surgery treats conditions of the upper GI tract by using minimally invasive treatments. Motility testing evaluates the motility and muscle contractions of the esophagus.
  • Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication. This procedure is used to treat GERD. During this procedure a surgeon will create a tightening muscle (a sphincter) at the bottom of the esophagus to prevent acid reflux.