Endoscopy & Colorectal Cancer Screening

J.C. Blair’s Endoscopy Department was established in 1993 with the arrival of gastroenterologists Michael Gaugler, D.O. and Keith Waddle, D.O., to J.C. Blair's medical staff. The department utilizes the latest in gastroenterology technology to perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.  Since the current unit opened, over 25,000 upper endoscopies and colonoscopies have been performed.  Just last year, over 2,575 endoscopic procedures were performed.  These procedures included routine colon and rectal cancer screenings, endoscopic removal of pre-cancerous colon polyps, detection and treatment of bleeding ulcers, removal of foreign bodies, management of esophageal strictures and placement of gastric feeding tubes. In addition to endoscopic testing, the center also performs liver biopsies, conducts testing for esophageal motility disturbances and performs 24 hour ambulatory pH testing of the esophagus.

Almost all patients undergoing endoscopic testing will be asked to have routine blood work performed.  Detailed instructions will be provided to insure adequate preparation for the procedure. Each patient is fully monitored during the procedure to insure safety and stability.  J.C. Blair's Endoscopy Center utilizes the services of a certified registered nurse anesthetist.  This specially trained nurse is solely responsible for monitoring the patient and administering Propofol.  Propofol is an anesthetic medication that allows for a comfortable and safe endoscopic experience. Upon completion of the endoscopic procedure, the patient will be monitored for a short period of time in the recovery room before returning home. 

The Endoscopy Department is staffed by two Board Certified Gastroenterologists (physicians with specialized training in diseases of the intestinal tract, liver and pancreas), three specially trained registered nurses and a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Colonoscopy is a test that allows the doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). The doctor uses a thin, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon. If necessary, polyps or other types of abnormal tissue can be removed through the scope during a colonoscopy. Tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken during a colonoscopy as well.

A colonoscopy can help your doctor explore possible causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea and other intestinal problems.

Screening -  If you are age 50 or older and at average risk of colon cancer - you have no colon cancer risk factors other than age - your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy.  Most insurance companies will pay this at 100% once every ten years but check your insurance policy to be sure of your benefits.

EGD - An upper endoscopy is a procedure used to visually examine your upper digestive system with a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube.  An EGD is used to diagnose and, sometimes, treat conditions that affect the upper part of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach and beginning of the small intestine.

An endoscopy may help the doctor determine what is causing digestive signs and symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and gastrointestinal bleeding.

During the endoscopy sample tissue may be collected to test for diseases and conditions, such as anemia, bleeding, inflammation, diarrhea or cancers of the digestive system.

An endoscopy is used to treat problems in your digestive system, such as  burning a bleeding vessel to stop bleeding, widening a narrow esophagus, clipping off a polyp or removing a foreign object.

EGDs are not done as a preventative procedure and are always subject to your insurance plan deductibles. If there is a need for a second EGD in one year it may require a prior authorization. It is advised that you check with your insurance plan for benefits.

Capsule Endoscopy is a procedure that uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of your digestive tract. A capsule endoscopy camera sits inside a vitamin-size capsule you swallow. As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are transmitted to a recorder you wear on a belt around your waist. This procedure is  designed to allow your doctor to examine your entire small intestine.

Most insurance companies require a prior authorization for this procedure. You must have an EGD and colonoscopy prior to the ordering of this test.

To learn more about the full-time specialists at J.C. Blair Gastroenterology Associates, located in Suite 7, 900 Bryan Street, on the campus of J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital in Huntingdon, click here