Gastroenterology Equipment: the Basics Everyone Should Know
In medicine and surgery, the branch that deals with the digestive system and its disorders is called gastroenterology. This specialty focuses on the diseases affecting the gastrointestinal system, which includes all organs between the mouth and the anus along the alimentary canal. This specialty also includes other organs that participate in digestion such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas as well as the vermiform appendix.
Given the complex anatomy of this system, specialized equipments are needed for assessment, diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. This discussion is about the special gastroenterology equipment used in medicine and surgery. They are all needed for complete and effective management of a gastroenterogic office or clinic. Some of these equipments must be sterilized before use because they act as vehicles for disease transmission.
This is the commonest hospital equipment found in almost any health facility in the world. It is so vital in screening gastrointestinal specimen such as stool, saliva and vomitus. It is usually used in the outpatient department of gastroenterology clinic or office where the initial presumptive diagnosis is made. There are many types of microscopes some using electricity or other use light. They also vary in terms of sophistication.
A gastroscope is a long and slender medical instrument designed for the examination and surgical treatment of the stomach. It is a type of endoscope passed through the mouth to visualize the stomach. The major use of gastroscope is to perform esophagogastroduodenoscopy (OGD/EGD).
This is fiber optic endoscopic, gastroenterology instrument, which is inserted through the mouth and used for the visual examination of the specifically the duodenum. This equipment is used to perform ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography).
A colonoscope is a long flexible instrument the end of which is equipped with a device to obtain tissue samples. It is used for visual examination of the colon (colonoscopy) and getting samples if the diseased tissue for further investigation.
As the name sounds, this is gastroenterology equipment used to visualize the small and the large intestines. It is used to perform a procedure known as Push Enteroscopy.
There are two types of sigmoidoscopes: the flexible and the rigid sigmoidoscopes. While both are used to visualize the last part of the colon, they work differently. The flexible one can go much higher and used to diagnose diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.
The rigid sigmoidscope is used in the distal sigmoid for diagnosis of bleeding per rectum as may be caused by colorectal carcinomas well as other related conditions.
This is vital equipment used in gastroenterology. It is an inflatable instrument introduced into certain gastrointestinal organs to dilate them for easy visualization and diagnosis of certain diseases. It is used to perform esophageal balloon dilatation, pyloric dilatation and/or ileocolonic dilatation.
This is just a normal endoscope (a probe inserted into the alimentary canal) but with an ultrasound component on the lead. The ultrasonography images produced can be used in the diagnosis of the diseases of internal organs including the stomach, duodenum and the esophagus. It can also be used in the diagnosis of gastric cancer, esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer.
An endoscopic snare is gastroenterology instrument used in the removal of any foreign bodies within the alimentary canal. Most of such foreign bodies originate from the inside like excised polyps (in a procedure known as polypectomy).
Hemorrhages occurring in the internal organs such as the stomach, the esophagus, the intestines and the pancreas can be difficult to control through the natural haemostatic processes. A heater probe is an instrument is used endoscopically and used for thermocoagulation of bleeding blood vessels.
One of the major problems in the gastrointestinal system is variceal bleeding which may cause anemia of blood loss. A band ligator is a single-use sterile rubber band that is carefully placed at the base of the affected blood vessels. It is commonly used to perform variceal band ligation.
Other gastroenterology equipment
The other instruments used by gastroenterologists in their practice include Sengstaken-Blackmore tube used form management of hemorrhage from gastroesophageal varices, Savary-Gilliard dilator for esophageal bougie dilation, APC unit for argon plasma coagulation, PEG tube for percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and Menghini needle/Tru-Cut needle for percutanous liver biopsy.