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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," 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.

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

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

Major Professional Societies

  • American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
    1729 King Street
    Suite 200
    Alexandria, VA 22314
    (703) 299-9766
    www.aasld.org/

  • American College of Gastroenterology
    P.O. Box 342260
    Bethesda, MD 20827
    (301) 263-9000
    www.acg.gi.org

  • American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
    1520 Kensington Road
    Suite 202
    Oak Brook, IL 60523
    (630) 573-0600
    www.asge.org

  • The American Gastroenterological Association
    4930 Del Ray Avenue
    Bethesda, MD 20814
    (301) 654-2055
    www.gastro.org

Major Publications

Back to August 2010 Issue of IMpact

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