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Patient FAQ

What is a Gastroenterologist?

A Gastroenterologist is a physician with extensive training regarding the proper function and diseases of the gastrointestinal system. They are first trained as Internal Medicine physicians, then do extra training (called a fellowship) for two to three years in the diagnosis and treatment of problems with the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. A gastroenterologist learns all aspects of the function of these organs and becomes proficient in specialized test to evaluate for dysfunction. Upon completing fellowship, a comprehensive examination is undertaken by the physician. This test is administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine with emphasis in Gastroenterology. If passed, the physician is then called “Board Certified”.

Why should I choose a gastroenterologist to perform my endoscopic procedure?

Many types of physicians perform endoscopy of the gastrointestinal tract. These include gastroenterologists, surgeons, internal medicine and family medicine physicians. The thing that separates the gastroenterologist from these others is that instead of performing a few dozen procedures during training, the gastroenterologist performs hundreds, if not thousands, in a very formalized academic training environment. They are then able to be critically tested to show proficiency and thus become Board Certified in the field. Other physician specialists may become Board Certified in the broad areas of family medicine, internal medicine, or surgery, but not gastroenterology.

What is Dr. Vinod Vallabh's training, and how many procedures
has he done?

Dr. Vallabh is board certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine performing endoscopy since 1988.

Why do I need an endoscopy?

Many people suffer from aliments of the gastrointestinal tract. Most of these diseases are found more quickly and assessed more fully though the use of endoscopy. In the past, before endoscopy, x-ray studies were relied upon to diagnose problems in the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Unfortunately, theses x-ray tests were generally poor in finding the problems, and even if found, no therapy could be applied. Since the advent of endoscopic technology, many intestinal diseases are diagnosed earlier, and some can even be treated without invasive surgery.

Is endoscopy safe?

The short answer is yes. Although all medical procedures carry some level of risk of complications, endoscopy has been proven to be very safe, with an overall low level of risk. Of course, this level depends greatly upon what procedure is being performed, your overall heath status, and the level of skill and/or training of the doctor doing your test. Before your endoscopy your doctor will review the risks of the procedure with you. This is not to make you uncomfortable or to scare you, but rather to inform you so that you can make an informed decision regarding the exam.

Will I feel my procedure?

Most of the endoscopic procedures are performed after you have received some intravenous (IV) medication. This medicine is designed to remove your pre-procedure anxiety, and help with any discomfort caused by the procedure. The majority of patients do not remember much of their procedures, due to the fact that the IV medication also induces a relaxing sleep. This medication is not general anesthesia, but is sedation – to calm, provide sleep, and to ease discomfort.

How do I prepare for my procedure?

Specific preparation instructions will be given to you by the scheduling nurse. Each procedure has its own instructions and should be followed very closely so that you can have the highest quality exam. These can be found on our site here

What if I am unable to finish my colonoscopy prep?

Call our office.

Why do I need to stay on clear liquids the entire day before my colonoscopy?

Staying on a clear liquid diet would facilitate a colonic preparation optimizing visualization during the colonoscopy.

Will I need a ride home?

If you are having one of the endoscopic exams in which IV sedation is given, you will need a ride home. Although you will be awake when you go home, the medication can have some lasting effect an compromise you ability to drive safe. If you have questions, please ask one of our nurses.

When will I find out the results of my test?

You will be told the preliminary results of your exam after you awaken and are ready to go home. Either the doctor or endoscopy nurse will review these results with you. If lab tests or biopsies were done, the results will be available in a few days. You will be contacted directly with those results.

How do I know that I am getting the best, safest, and most accurate gastrointestinal care and endoscopy that I can get?

At Carolina Gastroenterology we strive to provide you with the best GI care that you can get anywhere. We provide the overall same service and procedures that you would expect to get from a large educational institution, but in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere. The doctors and nurses participate in continuing education in GI and endoscopy. We also have ongoing quality studies in which we compare every aspect of the office and endoscopy center with regional and national benchmarks. It is our goal that we will be able to help you in solving your GI problems, and provide the best endoscopy exam that you can get anywhere.

What are your office hours?

Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Friday: 8:00am – 2:00pm

Is the building wheel chair accessible?

YES

What hospitals are you affiliated with?