Sinai Division of Gastroenterology - FAQs

Click on the questions to reveal answers.

Q: What is a gastroenterologist? [+/-]

A: A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in diseases of the digestive system, which is also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Gastroenterologists are trained to diagnosis and treat conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and bile ducts.

Q: Why am I being referred to a gastroenterologist? [+/-]

A: Your primary care physician may ask you to see a gastroenterologist if you are experiencing symptoms associated with the above areas. These symptoms can include diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, trouble swallowing, abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, dramatic weight loss, and episodes of choking.

Q: What is a screening colonoscopy? [+/-]

A: A screening colonoscopy is a health screening examination of the colon that all adults should undergo beginning at age 50. During a colonoscopy a thin lighted tube is inserted through the rectum allowing the gastroenterologist a full view of the lining of the rectum and the entire colon. If polyps are discovered, they may be removed as part of the procedure.

Q: What is a polyp? [+/-]

A: A polyp is an abnormal growth in the lining of the digestive tract. They vary in size and structure and are usually benign. Cancer can begin in polyps, so of it is important that they are completely removed.

Q: What are hemorrhoids? [+/-]

A: Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels near the anus and lower rectum. Too much pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area causes hemorrhoids. They bleed when the blood vessels rupture. Bleeding can be a sign of colon cancer or colon polyps, so you should consult your doctor if you are bleeding from the rectum, there is blood in your stool, or if there is blood in the toilet after a bowel movement.

Q: What is colon cancer? [+/-]

A: Colon cancer, which is cancer of the colon or rectum, is the third most common cancer in men and women in the U.S. It first develops in the digestive tract from polyps that are benign, and later can mutate into a cancerous tumor. The cancer cells invade and destroy nearby tissue, forming new tumors in other parts of the body. Luckily of it is preventable and treatable if detected early.

Q: What can I expect during my first visit? [+/-]

A: During your first visit one of our physicians will evaluate your symptoms. This evaluation may include blood tests, imaging studies and endoscopic examinations. The physician will prescribe a treatment plan and a follow-up plan of care.

Q: What should I bring to my first visit? [+/-]

A: You will need to bring the following to your first visit:

  • Registration form
  • Personal/social history form
  • Insurance card
  • Referral documents
  • Picture ID
  • List of medications you are taking
  • Recent blood work and x-rays
  • Copies of medical records

Q: How long will each procedure take? [+/-]

A: The upper endoscopy procedure takes about 15 minutes. The lower colonoscopy procedure takes about 30 minutes. You will need prep time before surgery, as well as a period of recovery, so give yourself between 90-120 minutes to be at the hospital.

Q: Why do I need a driver? [+/-]

A: The medication that you will be taking for the procedure will stay in your body several hours after the procedure is complete. These medications will affect your judgment and reaction time, so it is best that you have someone to drive you home.