A Gastroenterologist is a physician with dedicated training and unique experience in the management of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver.
What makes Gastroenterologists different?
The unique training that Gastroenterologists complete provides them with the ability to provide high quality, comprehensive care for patients with a wide variety of gastrointestinal ailments. Gastroenterologists perform the bulk of research involving gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures as
well as the interpretation of results, and are considered experts in the field.
Studies have shown that Gastroenterologists perform higher quality colonoscopy examinations and comprehensive consultative services when compared to other physicians. This translates into more accurate detection of polyps and cancer by colonoscopy when performed by Gastroenterologists, fewer complications from procedures and fewer days in the hospital for many gastrointestinal conditions managed by trained gastroenterology specialists.
It is this ability to provide more complete, accurate, and thorough care for patients with gastrointestinal conditions, which distinguishes Gastroenterologists from other physicians that provide some similar services.
Training of a Gastroenterologist
Following Medical School, a Gastroenterologist must first complete:
- Three year Internal Medicine residency
- Two to Three year Fellowship of specialized training in Gastroenterology
By the time Gastroenterologists have completed their training,they have had 5-6 years of additional specialized education following medical school.
Gastroenterology fellowship training is an intense, rigorous program where future Gastroenterologists learn directly from nationally recognized experts in the field and develop a detailed understanding of gastrointestinal diseases.
They learn how to evaluate patients with gastrointestinal complaints, treat a broad range of conditions, and provide recommendations to maintain health and prevent disease. They learn to care for patients in the office as well as in the hospital.
Gastroenterology is the study of the normal function and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver.
It involves a detailed understanding of the normal action (physiology) of the gastrointestinal organs including the movement of material through the stomach ad intestine (motility), the digestion and absorption of nutrients into the body, removal of waste from the system and the function of the liver as a digestive organ.
In essecne, all normal activity and disease of the digestive organs is part of the study of Gastroenterology.