Digestive Health Treatment & Procedures at UnityPoint Health - Meriter

Treatment & Procedures

The Digestive Health Center at UnityPoint Health - Meriter provides a wide variety of services to patients requiring diagnosis and treatment of digestive disorders. Most of the procedures below are performed using an endoscope which is a small, flexible, fiber-optic instrument that has a light and a camera on the tip. This enables the physician to view the GI tract and diagnose and treat conditions that are often found within the organs of the digestive system.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a direct visualization of the lower GI tract through a colonoscope. Through this scope, the physician is able to diagnose and treat conditions within the colon. A colonoscopy is used to detect conditions such as Crohn's disease (inflammatory bowel disease) and ulcerative colitis, diverticular disease, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a bleeding source, etc. 

The procedure is also performed to detect colorectal cancer at its earliest stage, which is called a polyp. A polyp is a pre-cancerous growth on the wall of the colon. By removing the polyp, colon cancer can be prevented. A colonoscopy is a relatively short procedure, lasting approximately 30 minutes.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure that combines the use of endoscopy and fluoroscopy to diagnose and treat conditions of the bile ducts, including gallstones, inflammatory strictures (scars), leaks (from trauma and surgery) and cancer.

Fecal Bacteriotherapy (Fecal Transplant)

Fecal bacteriotherapy offers advanced treatment for those with chronic, recurrent Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff) infection and who have failed multiple attempts at conventional antibiotic treatment. The therapy involves placing fecal matter from a donor, living outside of the patient's home, inside the intestine of the patient via enema. The transplant offers a means to restore the normal microbiota in the intestines providing a cure to C. Diff within hours or a few days.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an exam used to evaluate the inside of the rectum and lower part of the colon, called the sigmoid colon. During a sigmoidoscopy, only the last one to two feet of the five to six-foot-long colon (large intestine) is examined. Flexible sigmoidoscopies are commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding or changes in bowel habits. They are also performed to screen people over age 50 for colorectal cancer.

Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

A capsule endoscopy is a procedure that involves swallowing a video capsule, the size of a large vitamin, containing a miniature camera, light source and battery. The capsule will pass naturally through your digestive system while taking 75,000 to 80,000 pictures of your small intestine. The capsule transmits the pictures to a small recording device worn around your waist. From this data, a video is created that your doctor will review. This procedure is used to find bleeding in portions of the small intestine that are hard to reach with a conventional endoscope. It can also be used to help identify suspected Crohn's disease or other small bowel abnormalities.

Small Bowel Enteroscopy

Small bowel enteroscopy is a test using an enteroscope to evaluate gastrointestinal bleeding, small bowel tumors, polyps, or other small bowel diseases. The procedure may also be used to treat various conditions of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as abnormal growths or bleeding.

Upper Endoscopy

An upper endoscopy, also called a gastroscopy, is a procedure that provides direct visualization of the upper GI tract through a gastroscope. This scope allows the physician to visualize the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (upper portion of the small bowel). This procedure is performed to detect conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)/heartburn, Barrett's esophagus, hiatal hernia, peptic ulcers, gastritis/duodenitis, celiac disease, etc. The entire procedure typically takes less than 10 minutes.