As Indians, we often rely on ghar-ke-nuske to treat common ailments. Home remedies top our charts when it comes to treating diseases. However, when you are suffering from regular digestive problems such as frequent constipation, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding or trouble in swallowing on a regular basis, it warrants the attention of a specialist doctor called surgical gastroenterologist.
What is Surgical Gastroenterology?
It is a medical science that deals with the digestive system and its disorders. It includes ailments that affect the entire gastrointestinal tract: esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and rectum.
Who is a Surgical Gastroenterologist?
A surgical gastroenterologist is often called a GI doctor, GI specialist or even a gastro surgeon.
In India, once a medical student completes his M.B.B.S. degree and a MS - General Surgery degree (3 years training), he becomes eligible for further super-specialty degree course (3 years) of DNB/MCh Surgical Gastroenterology. Someone who has a valid DNB/MCh degree and is registered with the MCI (Medical Council of India) can only be called a surgical gastroenterologist.
Surgical gastroenterologists are equipped to treat all types of gastrointestinal diseases, including GI cancer. It is always advisable and safe for patients to undergo gastrointestinal and laparoscopic surgeries by a qualified GI surgeon.
How are GI Surgeries performed by the Doctor?
Basically, all types of GI surgeries are conducted by the following three methods:
1. Traditional Open Surgeries
Traditional open surgeries involve making an incision using a scalpel. All major surgeries, including cancer, can be undertaken as an open surgery. You may have seen such an operation over the television in the past. The surgeon makes a large incision (3-4 inches or larger), depending on the need.
Nowadays, open surgeries are becoming less common due to a new technique called minimally invasive technology or laparoscopic surgery. It involves making tiny incisions (as small as 0.5 cm) with the help of a camera. A laparoscope, a long-fiber optical instrument with a camera, is used for the keyhole surgery. It makes patient recovery quicker than before.
3. Robotic Surgery
Thanks to the advancement in the medical field, robotic surgery is becoming more common than ever. Similar to laparoscopy, tiny incisions are made to insert a laparoscope to operate on the patient. However, all the movement of the instrument is undertaken via a robotic arm. It allows for even more precision and accuracy.
When should you visit a Surgical Gastroenterologist?
As discussed earlier, if you are facing abnormalities of the GI tract for a long time, you should not ignore it and must visit an expert. Let's understand what symptoms and problems of the digestive system must be brought to the attention of a surgical gastroenterologist.
- Frequent stomach ache
- A stomach tumor
- A swollen stomach
- Acidity or heartburn
- Difficulty in swallowing food
- Strong acid refluxes long after consuming food
- Blood in stools/Sticky stools/Black stools
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Yellowing of skin and Jaundice
All of these are the most common signs that suggest something is wrong with your digestive system. If the symptoms persist for a long time, you should not ignore them and visit a surgical gastroenterologist immediately.
If you are suffering from any of the digestive ailments or GI cancer, visit an experienced surgical gastroenterologist immediately. Visit Dr. Jay Chokshi, South Gujarat's First National Board-certified GI and HPB surgeon. Get in touch today.