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Subspecialty Careers: Highlights about Careers in Internal Medicine: Gastroenterology

The Discipline
From the Greek gaster, "the paunch or belly," and the word enteron, "the gut or intestine," this relating to the Greek enteros, "within."

Gastroenterology encompasses the evaluation and treatment of patients with disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, biliary tract, and liver. It includes disorders of organs within the abdominal cavity and requires knowledge of the manifestations of gastrointestinal disorders in other organ systems, including the skin. Additional content areas include nutrition and nutritional deficiencies, and screening and prevention, particularly for colorectal cancer.

Procedures
Important procedural skills include flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, all including biopsy and polypectomy, esophageal dilation, paracentesis, esophageal manometry, and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. Other procedures performed by some gastroenterologists include 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring, small bowel absorption tests, gastric acid analysis, liver biopsy, and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography.

Training
Gastroenterology fellowship training requires three years of accredited training beyond general internal medicine residency. Of the three years, a minimum of 18 months must include clinical training in the diagnosis and management of a broad spectrum of medical diseases.

Training Positions
Gastroenterology fellowship training requires three years of accredited training beyond general internal medicine residency. Of the three years, a minimum of 18 months must include clinical training in the diagnosis and management of a broad spectrum of medical diseases.

Certification
The American Board of Internal Medicine, ABIM, offers certification in Gastroenterology.

Training Positions
As of August 2005, there were 159 ACGME-accredited training programs with 1,097 active fellowship positions in Gastroenterology. 26% of the trainees were female, and 71% were US medical graduates.

Practice
Approximately 63% of the graduates enter clinical practice in gastroenterology in the United States, and 23% enter academic medicine.

Major Publications

Major Professional Societies

Back to October 2008 Issue of IMpact

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