Cutting-Edge Technologies and Treatments
St. Joseph Hospital is one of the only hospitals north of the Bay Area
to use high-definition endoscopy to help diagnose disease in the upper
and lower gastrointestinal tract. At St. Joseph Hospital, physicians use
a combination of high-definition endoscopy and Narrow Band Imaging (NBI),
which results in remarkably clear views of anatomical structures and capillaries.
Together, high-definition endoscopy and NBI provide physicians with sharper
images and better contrast than conventional systems, allowing them to
better identify lesions in the colon. In turn, physicians are able to
provide patients with more accurate diagnoses.
"What I like about the technology is it allows me to observe lesions
and other abnormalities in the GI tract more accurately and in detail.
We are fortunate to have this cutting-edge technology at our fingertips." - Dr. Kusum Stokes
Having a colonoscopy procedure is an important way for doctors to check
the inner lining of your large intestine for irregularities. Physicians
use a thin, flexible tube with a small video camera on the end to take
photos of the rectum and colon to help find ulcers, polyps, tumors and
areas of inflammation or bleeding. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples
can be collected and abnormal growths may be removed. Colonoscopies are
also a way for physicians to screen for cancer in the colon or rectum.
For more information about how to prepare for a colonoscopy procedure,
Upper GI Endoscopy (EGD)
EGD is a procedure that is useful in diagnosing ulcers, inflammation, infection,
tumors or bleeding in the interior lining of the esophagus, stomach and
first part of the small intestine. Doctors insert a thin, flexible instrument
called an endoscope into the mouth and move it gently down the throat
and into the upper GI area. The endoscope captures images of the esophagus,
stomach and duodenum as it passes through. This procedure is often called
EGD, short for esophagogastroduodenoscopy. During the procedure, physicians
scan for a variety of intestinal maladies, including inflammation, infection,
gastroesophageal reflux disease, hiatal hernia, ulcers, cancer, blockages
and more. Because physicians have a clear view of the interior lining
of your upper GI region, this procedure can sometimes eliminate the need
for exploratory surgery.
For More Information:
American Gastroenterology Association
These services are available at St. Joseph Hospital only:
Despite its small size, the PillCam is making a big difference in the lives
of many patients who come to St. Joseph Hospital for endoscopy services.
Whereas regular endoscopy is completed using a long flexible tube with
a camera lens attached at the end, capsule endoscopy involves a tiny pill-like
device likened to the size of a large vitamin. This pill, when ingested,
travels down a patient’s digestive tract taking high quality images
of the digestive tract. Capsule endoscopy is used to help physicians diagnose
gastrointestinal disorders in a way that is convenient and virtually painless
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
St. Joseph is the only hospital in Humboldt County to provide ERCP imaging.
ERCP is a procedure that enables physicians to diagnose abnormalities
in the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas. Through a combination
of X-rays and an endoscope, physicians are able to view the interior lining
of the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach and first part
of the small intestine. Dyes are injected into specific areas of interest
to make these regions visible on X-ray. Doctors then use X-rays and the
images provided through the endoscope to detect conditions like gallstones,
inflammation, leaks and cancer.
Esophageal Function Studies
Our endoscopy department also specializes in esophageal function studies
- a service that no other hospital in the county offers. One of the procedures
is called esophageal manometry, a diagnostic tool used to measure the
function of the lower esophageal sphincter. The test is typically given
to people with difficulty swallowing, heartburn, chest pain, or a chronic
cough or hoarseness. We also use 24-hour acid reflux studies to measure
acid exposure in the esophagus over a 24-hour period. Often, this test
can accurately measure whether or not a patient has gastroesophageal reflux
disease (also known as GERD or acid reflux disease).