Our Services

At Alabama Digestive Diseases, we strive to provide the best care for our patients in a relaxed and empathetic environment. We understand that talking about your health issues may be difficult, so we want to facilitate that process as much as possible and get you back on track to enjoying life as it should be.

Services that we provide include: 

  • Office consultation and treatment
  • Screening and diagnostic colonoscopies
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Endoscopy
  • Esophageal dilation
  • ERCP
  • Paracentesis
  • Liver Biopsy
  • Small bowel capsule endoscopy
  • STV Birmingham hospital consultation in the event of admission

PROCEDURES

Colonoscopy

Definition: 

A colonoscopy is an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Colonoscopy is generally considered the gold standard for colon cancer screening. During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon. If necessary, polyps or other types of abnormal tissue can be removed through the scope during a colonoscopy. Tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken during a colonoscopy as well.

Why It’s Done: 

Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to: Investigate intestinal signs and symptoms. A colonoscopy can help your doctor explore possible causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea and other intestinal problems. Screen for colon cancer. If you’re age 50 or older and at average risk of colon cancer — you have no colon cancer risk factors other than age — your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years or sometimes sooner to screen for colon cancer.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

What is Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure used to see inside the sigmoid colon and rectum. Flexible sigmoidoscopy can detect inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers. The procedure is used to look for early signs of cancer and can help doctors diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, bleeding from the anus, and weight loss.

Examination of Sigmoid Colon

During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, patients lie on their left side on an examination table. The doctor inserts a long, flexible, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope, or scope, into the anus and slowly guides it through the rectum and into the sigmoid colon. The scope inflates the colon with air to give the doctor a better view. A small camera mounted on the scope transmits a video image from inside the colon to a computer screen, allowing the doctor to carefully examine the tissues lining the sigmoid colon and rectum. The doctor may ask the patient to move periodically so the scope can be adjusted for better viewing. When the scope reaches the transverse colon, the scope is slowly withdrawn while the lining of the colon is carefully examined again.

ERCP

What is ERCP?

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an endoscopic procedure used to identify the presence of stones, tumors, or narrowing in the biliary and pancreatic ducts. After the endoscope is properly placed, a catheter is advanced which will inject a contrast agent through the ducts. The contrast is visible on X-rays, and allows a physician to evaluate the caliber, length and course of the ducts. An ERCP may be performed if a patient experiences symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, fever, or malabsorption.

Esophageal Dilation

What is Esophageal Dilatation?

Achalasia is a disorder in which the lower esophageal sphincter does not relax when food passes down the esophagus to the stomach. As a result, the esophagus becomes distended and filled with food, and food passes into the stomach very slowly. Achalasia is often associated with chest pain during eating, weight loss, and regurgitation of food. The lower esophagus becomes distended as food and liquid are unable to pass into the stomach. is a disorder in which the lower esophageal sphincter does not relax when food passes down the esophagus to the stomach. As a

result, the esophagus becomes distended and filled with food, and food passes into the stomach very slowly. Achalasia is often associated with chest pain during eating, weight loss, and regurgitation of food. The lower esophagus becomes distended as food and liquid are unable to pass into the stomach.

Treatment

Achalasia can sometimes be treated with medication that helps the lower esophageal sphincter relax. If medication is ineffective, however, esophageal dilatation can correct the problem. To open the esophagus, a balloon dilator is passed through the mouth down to the level of the lower esophageal sphincter, using an endoscope. The balloon is inflated, thus stretching the sphincter.

Liver Biopsy

What is a Liver Biopsy?

A liver biopsy is not a routine procedure, but is performed when it is necessary to determine the presence of liver disease and to look for malignancy, cysts, parasites, or other pathology. The actual procedure is only slightly uncomfortable. Most of the discomfort arises from being required to lie still for several hours afterwards to prevent bleeding from the biopsy site.

Recovery

The patient is kept at rest for several hours following the exam. Medical personnel check the heart rate and blood pressure during this time. There may be some discomfort in the chest or shoulder, however, this is usually temporary. Medication is available for this discomfort, if needed. Before being discharged, the patient is given instructions about returning to normal activities and about eating. Activity is usually restricted for a day or so after the biopsy. However, the procedure does not require a long recovery period.

Capsule Endoscopy

What is a Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy?

Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of the middle part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the three portions of the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum). Your doctor will use a pill sized video capsule called an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source and will view the images on a video monitor. You might hear your doctor or other medical staff refer to capsule endoscopy as small bowel endoscopy, capsule enteroscopy, or wireless endoscopy.

What Can I Expect? 

Your doctor will prepare you for the examination by applying a sensor device to your abdomen with adhesive sleeves (similar to tape). The capsule endoscope is swallowed and passes naturally through your digestive tract while transmitting video images to a data recorder worn on your belt for approximately eight hours. At the end of the procedure you will return to the office and the data recorder is removed so that images of your small bowel can be put on a computer screen for physician review.

Endoscopy

What is Upper GI Endoscopy? 

An upper GI and small bowel series is a set of x-rays taken to examine the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

How the Test is Performed? 

An upper GI and small bowel series is done in a medical office or hospital radiology department. You may be given an injection of a medication that will temporarily slow bowel movement, so structures can be more easily seen on the x-rays. Before the x-rays are taken, you must drink 16 – 20 ounces of a milkshake-like drink that contains a substance called barium. An x-ray method called fluroscopy tracks how the barium moves through

your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Pictures are taken with you in a variety of positions. You may be sitting or standing.