As its name indicates, MEC specializes in diagnostic procedures involving endoscopy.
- Colonoscopy - which examines the large intestine, including the descending, transverse and ascending colon
- EGD (esophasgogastrodueodenoscopy) - which examines the esophagus, stomach and duodenum
- Sigmoidoscopy - which examines the sigmoid colon (the descending portion of the large intestine)
These endoscopic procedures are relatively painless (mild discomfort may occur) and patients are sedated. Because of the sedation, patients should have someone accompany them to the center to drive them home afterwards. Essentially, endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves a small scope being inserted into the body to allow the physician to view internal organs, take small biopsies, cauterize bleeding capillaries, excise polyps and small tumors. Endoscopes can also blow air to inflate the lining of organs to make them more visible. Sophisticated endoscopic cameras take pictures during your procedure that your physician may share with you later.
Colonoscopy is the most well-known of the three procedures. In recent years, numerous media reports have helped inform the public about the dangers of colon cancer. Individuals 50 and older or those with family history should have this procedure. In this procedure, a flexible endoscope is passed through the rectum and where possible through the large intestine to where the large and small intestines meet. It is also used to evaluate problems such as rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers and inflammatory bowel diseases, to name a few. During the procedure, the physician may extract small pieces of tissue for later laboratory examination. Polyps may also be detected and removed. Learn more about polyps.
EGD enables the physician to look inside of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) to discover the reason for swallowing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, reflux, heartburn, bleeding, indigestion, ulcers, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) abdominal pain or chest pain.
Sigmoidoscopy is similar in nature to colonoscopy, except it is used to view only the last part of the colon, called the sigmoid or descending colon. As with colonoscopy, it is utilized to find the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation as well as bleeding, inflammation, abnormal growths and ulcers. Sigmoidoscopy is not sufficient to detect polyps or cancer in the ascending or transverse colon.