Subspecialty Careers: Highlights about Careers in Internal Medicine: Gastroenterology
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.
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.
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.
The American Board of Internal Medicine offers certification in Gastroenterology.
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
Alexandria, VA 22314
American College of Gastroenterology
P.O. Box 342260
Bethesda, MD 20827
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
1520 Kensington Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
The American Gastroenterological Association
4930 Del Ray Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
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