Endoscopy for Diagnosis and Therapy

The Digestive Health Center (DHC) at Medical Center at Augusta University is a group of Gastroenterologists and Surgeons who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of various disease of the gastrointestinal tract and morbid obesity.  Endoscopy is probably the most important tool used for diagnosing, and sometimes treating, GI diseases.  The physicians of the DHC specialize in various aspects of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy and work closely to provide the highest quality care of patients with benign and malignant digestive diseases, and morbid obesity.
Endoscopy involves passing lighted, flexible cameras into the gastrointestinal tract to evaluate diseases that affect the lining of the esophagus, stomach, intestine and colon.  This provides a means of diagnosing multiple benign and malignant conditions.  It is also a means to perform some procedures, such as excision of polyps or masses, dilation or injection of narrowed obstructing areas (strictures), control of bleeding, or placement of feeding tubes.  

A Typical Endoscope

  • Colonoscopy refers to endoscopy that passes through the rectum or a colostomy and evaluates the inner lining of the colon for disease.  This is the most important screening tool for early diagnosis of colon and rectal cancers.
  • Colonoscopy Showing Diverticulosis of the Colon
  • Colonoscopy Showing Colon Mass
  • Colonoscopy Preparation Instructions

Upper Endoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenescopy (EGD), refers to endoscopy through the mouth in order to evaluate the esophagus, stomach and first portion of the small intestine.  This is important for evaluation of reflux and its complications, ulcer disease, identification and diagnosis of cancers of the upper portion of the GI tract, evaluation of stomach for infection before weight loss surgery and evaluation and/or treatment of some complications that may occur after weight loss surgery (examples: stricture, pouch dilation, band erosion, leak).

Endoscopic View of an Ulcer

A specialized type of upper endoscopy, called ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) is particularly useful in evaluating disease in the pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts.
Endoscopic Ultrasound uses a small ultrasound probe at the end of an endoscopy to examine the wall of the intestinal tract and surrounding tissues.  This is used for evaluation of the extent of cancer for pancreatic, esophageal, and rectal cancers, and for diagnosis and treatment of many other benign conditions affecting the GI tract.
Capsule Endoscopy is a newer method of viewing the small intestine.  Normally the small intestine is very difficult to see inside of, since colonoscopies and upper endoscopes cannot reach the entire small bowel.  Capsule endoscopy involves swallowing a large pill that contains a camera and a transmitter.  As the pill passes through your intestine, it takes thousands of pictures and sends them to a computer.  The pictures can then be viewed to evaluate for diseases in the small intestine, such as small bowel tumors or causes of bleeding.