What Does A Gastrointestinal Surgeon Do? Exploring the Role of a GI Surgeon

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Gastrointestinal (GI) surgery is a specialized field of medicine that deals with the surgical treatment of conditions affecting the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Gastrointestinal surgeons play a vital role in diagnosing and treating a wide range of digestive disorders, from cancer and inflammatory bowel disease to hernias and gallstones.

In this article, we will explore the functions and responsibilities of a gastrointestinal surgeon, the common surgical procedures they perform, the diseases they treat, and the education and training required to become a GI surgeon.

Functions and Responsibilities of a Gastrointestinal Surgeon

A gastrointestinal surgeon is responsible for diagnosing and treating a variety of digestive disorders through surgical procedures. Their duties include conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, and consulting with other medical professionals to develop treatment plans. Additionally, a GI surgeon is responsible for performing a range of minimally invasive and open surgical procedures, including laparoscopic, endoscopic, and traditional surgeries.

Common Surgical Procedures Performed by a Gastrointestinal Surgeon

Some of the most common surgical procedures performed by a gastrointestinal surgeon include:

  • Gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy)
  • Hernia repair
  • Appendectomy
  • Colon and rectal cancer surgery
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) surgery
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) surgery
  • Liver, pancreas, and bile duct surgery
  • Stomach surgery, including gastrectomy for cancer and weight loss surgery

Diseases Treated by a Gastrointestinal Surgeon

A gastrointestinal surgeon is trained to diagnose and treat a variety of digestive disorders, including:

  • Cancer of the esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and bile ducts
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hernias
  • Gallstones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Gastroparesis

The Education and Training of a Gastrointestinal Surgeon

Becoming a gastrointestinal surgeon requires a significant investment of time and effort. After completing a bachelor’s degree, individuals interested in becoming a GI surgeon must complete a four-year medical school program, followed by a five-year general surgery residency. They then complete a two- to three-year fellowship in gastrointestinal surgery, during which they receive specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive disorders.

In conclusion, a gastrointestinal surgeon plays a vital role in diagnosing and treating a wide range of digestive disorders. From gallbladder removal and hernia repair to cancer surgery and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, GI surgeons are highly trained medical professionals who are dedicated to providing their patients with the best possible care. If you are experiencing symptoms related to a digestive disorder, it is important to consult with a gastrointestinal surgeon to determine the most effective course of treatment.

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