Terminology

Anal Fissure: A split or cut in the lining of the anal opening. Fissures are caused by passing a hard stool and constipation.

Anus: The opening where the stool is released from the body.

Barrett’s esophagus: A precancerous lesion of the esophagus. Classified as no dysplasia, low-grade dysplasia, or high-grade dysplasia.

Biopsy: The removal of a small sample of tissue for diagnostic purposes. The sample is tested under a microscope to view the health of the tissue.

CAT scan: Computerized Axial Tomography. It is an X-ray technique that creates a film showing a detailed cross-section of tissue.

Colon: Also known as the large intestine. It is the last 3 to 4 feet of the intestines. It connects to the small intestines and the rectum.

Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy is a procedure where an endoscope is inserted through the rectum to examine the large intestine for disease. This is commonly used for colon cancer screening and to diagnose other bowel disease.

Constipation: A condition where one experiences difficult, infrequent, or incomplete passing of stools. It can be caused by lack of fiber in the diet, medication, a change in diet or exercise, overuse of laxatives, or other conditions such as IBS.

Diarrhea: A conditions where bowel movements are in a more watery state and occurring more than normal.

Diverticulosis: The presence of small outpouchings of the colon. Most patients who have diverticulosis do not experience any symptoms, but these outpouchings can sometimes get infected (diverticulitis) or cause bleeding.

Diverticulitis: Inflammation or infection in the small outpouchings (sacs), or diverticula, of the inner lining of the intestine.

Duodenum: It is the first part of the small intestines. This part of the digestive system mixes bile, from the gall bladder and pancreas, with the partially digested food and then passes the food to the middle part of the small intestines.

Dysplasia: Another term for pre-cancerous.

Esophagus: The pipe that connects to your mouth and stomach.

External hemorrhoid: If the hemorrhoid is close to the opening of the anus, it is called an external hemorrhoid.

Fistula: An abnormal connection between two different parts of the intestine or two other organs.

Gastric: Pertaining to the stomach.

Hemorrhoids: A condition where blood vessels in the anal opening are swollen or inflamed. They are typically caused by straining during bowel movements or during times of increased pressure, including heavy weight lifting and pregnancy.

Internal hemorrhoid: If the hemorrhoid is situated closer to the top of the rectum, it is considered an internal hemorrhoid.

Laparoscopy: A method of surgery that is far less invasive than traditional surgery. Instead of a large incision, a small incision is made and a special instrument, called a laparoscope is inserted. There is a small video camera and light attached at the end for the surgeon to view body on a monitor. Smaller instruments are used to conduct the surgery.

Laxative: An over-the-counter, or prescription, medication used to treat constipation. It works by either stimulating the bowels or to draw water to the stools to make them easier to pass.

Liver: An organ in the digestive tract that is very complex and essential to life. It has over 5,000 functions. 

Pancreas: An organ that is next to the duodenum and behind the stomach. Its two functions include creating enzymes that break down food and releasing hormones, insulin, that control blood sugar.

Pancreatitis: A disease where the pancreas becomes inflamed. Two common causes for pancreatitis are alcohol and gallstones. Pancreatitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis is sudden onset and can be a life-threatening condition, but many patients recover fully.

Peptic Ulcers: Peptic ulcers are lesions in the stomach lining. They are fairly common in adults. There are two common causes of peptic ulcers – a bacteria called H. pylori and NSAIDs, such as Advil and Aleve. High consumption of drugs like Advil and Aleve can be damaging on the stomach lining.

Polyps: Polyps are growths that can occur in the colon, small intestines, esophagus, or nasal passages. Polyps can have a small stem (pedunculated) or can be flat (sessile) in shape. The ones we treat include polyps in the esophagus, colon, and small intestines. Polyps are categorized as benign or pre-cancerous. Pre-cancerous lesions can progress and lead to cancer if not removed. Typically, your doctor will remove them to be safe.

Pre-cancerous: Something that is not overtly cancerous, but appears to be turning into cancer.

Occult blood: Blood in the stools, but not visible to the naked eye. A laboratory test is necessary to diagnose occult blood. 

Rectum: The part of the bowel that is between to the large intestine and the anus. It stores the waste until it is released from the body.

Sclerotherapy: A procedure using sclerosing chemicals to eliminate veins.

Upper Endoscopy (EGD):  An EGD is an examination where a small, flexible endoscope is inserted through the mouth to examine the esophagus, stomach, and beginning of the small intestine in order to diagnose and treat certain medical disorders. It allows the physician to view, and possible take a biopsy for diagnostic purposes. An EGD is a safe procedure that generally lasts between ten to fifteen minutes.

Z-line: The junction of the esophagus and stomach.