Gastroenterology deals with the diseases of the intestines, bile duct, liver and pancreas. It is divided into two studies, medical and surgical. Surgical Gastroenterology is a new specialty and having gained precedence over the past two decades, broadly encompasses the surgery of both the upper gastrointestinal tract and lower GI tract starting from the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, rectum, liver and the pancreas. This specialty became a necessity with rapid progress in diagnostic and interventional Gastroenterology requiring surgeons specially trained in operating the gastro-intestinal tract. Surgical technology has been refined and treatment of benign and cancerous diseases of the digestive tract has evolved alongside it as a super specialty. Rapid advances in the field of surgery namely Minimal access surgery or Key hole surgery and organ transplantation are very closely associated with abdominal surgery further widening the horizons of surgical Gastroenterology. Advanced surgery on each the organ of the GI tract requires specialized training and skill taught in very few surgical units in the country and abroad.
Specialized training in the field of surgical gastroenterology enhanced understanding of the diseases affecting the GI tract and improved their treatment. Complex operations like total esophagectomy, total gastrectomy, WHIPPLES Procedure, liver resections, bowel resections, surgery for portal hypertension are performed by surgical gastroenterologists with ease displaying excellent results. Given below are only some common and routine procedures performed by surgical gastroenterologists:
- Drainage of acute pancreatitis
- Chronic pancreatitis surgery with duct drainage Freys procedure
- Resection of neuroendocrine tumors pancreatoduodenectomy and distal resection.
Gallbladder and bile ducts
- Surgery for gallbladder and bile duct stones
- Choledochal cyst surgery
- Radical cholecystectomy
Upper GI tract
- Resection of cancer of stomach and esophagus
- Surgeries for perforation and refractory bleed
- Resection of cancers and primary tumors
- Surgery for hydatid cyst
- Surgery for portal hypertension
Small intestine Surgery for tumors, gangrenes and perforations
Colon and rectum
- Surgery for colon and rectal cancer resection
- Ulcerative colitis pouch surgery
- Lower GI bleed and diverticulitis surgeries
A surgical gastroenterologist undergoes trainings first as a general surgeon and thereafter obtains specialized training in the field of surgical Gastroenterology. Most surgical interventions in surgical gastroenterology are performed with advanced laparoscopic surgery. Surgical Gastroenterologists are also adept at diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy and most practicing interventional gastroenterologists in India are trained as surgeons.