What is Gastroenterology?

What is Gastroenterology?

Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine concerned with digestive diseases. The practice of gastroenterology concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine (colon), liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. This medical field is really a subspecialty of Internal Medicine, as is, for example, Cardiology, which deals with diseases of the heart.

A Gastroenterologist is a specialist who is first broadly trained in Internal Medicine and subsequently in diagnosing and treating disease of the digestive system. Frequently, a Gastroenterologist is called in cases of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or change in bowel habits when the diagnosis is unclear or where specialized diagnostic procedures are necessary. Most Gastroenterologists are certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and then receive additional training in Gastroenterology. To qualify for Board certification, an individual must have completed four years of college, four years of medical school and have received a degree in medicine. Then he/she must complete an additional four to six years of specialty training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. After several years of clinical practice, the doctor must successfully complete an extensive series of examinations. All of our doctors are Board Certified in Gastroenterology.

Frequently, a Gastroenterologist is called in cases when the diagnosis is unclear or where specialized diagnostic procedures are necessary. A Gastroenterologist treats a broad range of conditions, including, but not limited to:


  • Abdominal Pain
  • Abnormal Xray findings
  • Colon Cancer
  • Colon Polyps
  • Colon Screening Exams
  • Constipation
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Diverticulosis
  • Esophageal Reflux
  • Gastritis
  • GERD
  • Heartburn
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hepatitis
  • Hiatal Hernia
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Jaundice
  • Liver Disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Nausea Diarrhea
  • Post-OperativeColon Tests
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Spastic Colon
  • Ulcers
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Unexplained Weight Loss
  • Vomiting


A Gastroenterologist does not perform surgery. His work is limited to diagnosis and medical treatment. However, under the broad classification of surgery, Gastroenterologists do perform such procedures as liver biopsy and endoscopic ("scope") examinations of the esophagus, stomach, small and large bowel. Also, the Gastroenterologist frequently works with surgeons before and after an operation in helping select the best operation for a particular patient, and in providing follow-up care relevant to the particular digestive disorder.

Text & Images Courtesy of Three Rivers Endoscopy Center
© Dr. Robert Fusco, Three Rivers Endoscopy Center, All Rights Reserved

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