What is Gastroenterology?
A gastroenterologist is a doctor that specializes in the normal function and diseases of the digestive tract, which includes the stomach, intestines, spleen, pancreas, and liver. As a specialty, gastroenterology is the study of how food moves through the body, how nutrients are absorbed by the body, and how waste is removed by the body. A few of the conditions that a gastroenterologist might treat are:
ulcerative colitis (a condition where inflammation and sores affect the lower intestine)
gallbladder disease (where bile stored in the gallbladder thickens and causes inflammation or gallstones)
gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD (stomach acid flows back into the throat and causes a burning sensation and tissue damage)
One unique trait that really sets gastroenterologists apart is their training and skill with endoscopy, a procedure where tiny flexible tubes are inserted into the body. These tubes are equipped with lights and cameras to provide the practitioner with a close, inside look at what is going on inside the patient’s body. Tools can even be inserted through the tubes to perform certain procedures, such as removing polyps or cancers, stretching open passageways that have narrowed, or applying lasers to stop bleeding.
Gastroenterologists do not perform surgery, but they do perform endoscopic procedures, as well as biopsies to determine if cancer is affecting the digestive tract. Although other physicians can use endoscopes, gastroenterologists devote a significant portion of their medical training and practice to endoscopy. They learn how and when to use endoscopy, the safest and most efficient methods to use, and how to interpret what they see through the endoscope.
Dermatologists are medical doctors who take care of your skin, hair, and nails. Their work can involve everything from treating uncomfortable and itchy allergic rashes, to injecting Botox and removing wrinkles, to performing surgery to remove life-threatening skin cancers.
Dermatology is divided into several branches. A dermatologist may perform all of these services in his or her daily work, or he or she may specialize and focus on just one field.
Dermatopathology deals with the identification of skin diseases. Dermatopathologists diagnose skin problems, usually by taking scrapings of skin and examining them under a microscope.
Cosmetic dermatology is the branch of dermatology that works to improve the appearance of the skin. This can include wrinkle reduction, liposuction, hair loss treatment, or the treatment of scars.
Dermatological Immunology is a subspecialty that deals specifically with immune related problems of the skin, such as eczema or lupus.
Pediatric dermatologists treat newborns and children with skin disorders. They also provide help to families with inherited skin problems.
Mohs surgeons are specialized dermatologists who can remove skin cancers using a microsurgery known as Mohs technique, where slides of the tissue are examined as they are removed. This is a very exact surgery with an extremely high cure rate.
Your skin is extremely important: it covers and protects everything in your body. A dermatologist helps keep it healthy, as well as looking and feeling good.
What is Colon & Rectal Surgery?
Colon and rectal surgery is the medical specialty that deals with diseases and disorders of the lower intestinal tract, colon, rectum, and anus. The specialty was previously known as proctology, and some physicians who specifically treat diseases of the rectum and anus may still call themselves proctologists; but in general that term is not currently used. While colon and rectal surgery is related to gastroenterology, only colon and rectal surgeons can provide surgical care.
Colon and rectal surgeons can offer routine screenings for common health conditions affecting the colon and rectum. They have also undergone advanced surgical training, and they are able to treat conditions affecting the lower intestinal tract with surgery when needed.
Some conditions that a colon and rectal surgeon might treat include:
Serious and chronic constipation
Anal fissures, or tears in the skin around the anus
Anal abscesses and fistulae
Colon and rectal cancer
Colon and rectal surgeons perform various procedures to keep patients healthy, such as colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies. These tests use long, flexible tubes to examine the lining of the colon in case of pain or bleeding, or to look for signs of cancer or polyps. If a patient’s intestines are severely diseased and not working well, a colon and rectal surgeon may perform an ostomy, where the healthy part of the intestines are connected to a tube or pouch on the outside of the body. Colorectal surgeons may also remove hemorrhoids, perform laparoscopic surgery on a tumor, or even offer genetic counseling to patients with a family history of colorectal cancers.
Colon and rectal conditions can be some of the most uncomfortable problems to endure. Even if your intestinal problem is severe, colon and rectal surgeons can help you lead a long, healthy, and more enjoyable life.
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