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Colo-Rectal & Upper GI surgery

Do you know what the difference is between a gastroenterologist and a colorectal surgeon? While we treat many of the same conditions there are some inherent differences in these two specialties. Knowing this difference will guide you to the right specialist.

Gastroenterologists, on the other hand, first complete 3 years of medical residency, learning to care for all medical conditions from diabetes and heart disease to pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis. They then do 3 years of specialty training in the medical management of gastrointestinal diseases and learn to do colonoscopy and endoscopy. Some do an extra year of training in inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, or advanced endoscopy as an example.

While most GI doctors do endoscopic procedures they don’t don’t operate on patients. So a small polyp found at the time of your colonoscopy by a gastroenterologist may be removed by your GI doc, but if you have a polyp that is so large that it can’t be removed endoscopically, you may be referred to a surgeon. You will also be referred to a colorectal surgeon if you have a colon cancer.