Subspecialty Careers: 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.
For the 2011-2012 academic year, there are 158 ACGME-accredited training programs in Gastroenterology with 1,410 active positions.
The American Board of Internal Medicine offers certification in Gastroenterology.
Major Professional Societies
- American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
- American College of Gastroenterology
- American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
- The American Gastroenterological Association
- Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology
- The American Journal of Gastroenterology