What is a medical gastroenterologist?
A medical gastroenterologist is a physician (as opposed to a surgeon) who is specially trained and has experience in managing the diseases of the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon, rectum, and related organs like the liver and pancreas. The medical gastroenterologist performs endoscopic procedures such as a gastroscopy and colonoscopy in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Medical gastroenterologist will spend six years training to become a doctor, a further four years to become a physician and then a further 3 to 4 years to specialise in gastroenterology.
A number of surgeons perform gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures and may diagnose IBD but they are not trained in the treatment of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Surgeons form a very important part of the IBD team, particularly when surgery is required.