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Cutting-Edge Technologies and Treatments

High-Definition Endoscopy

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, click here.

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:

Capsule Endoscopy

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 for patients.

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).

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