Although the gastrointestinal tract is not amenable to direct inspection, endoscopy has revolutionised our ability to inspect, biopsy and diagnose.

In recent years, a range of further, non-invasive diagnostic techniques has been developed, allowing us to see what’s happening in our digestive tract. All are available in our London clinics.

In the hands of an experienced consultant, the images they produce can save time and save lives. And with the technology involved continuing to advance, it brings ever greater precision to this well-proven methodology.

Ultrasound scanning

We’ll use ultrasound to assess organs and structures within the abdomen, including your liver, gallbladder, pancreas, bile ducts and spleen.

The technique uses high frequency sound waves, similar to a ship’s sonar, or the click of a porpoise. That same ability to differentiate liquid from gas and to measure fluid flow is incredibly useful in gastroenterology.

Ultrasound is helpful in seeing blood flow to abdominal organs, or looking for fluid collections and other signs of inflammation. It’s an excellent all-round tool for gastroenterologists, giving us – and you – instant results.

CT scanning

Computed tomography is a process where multiple X-rays, taken from different angles, are merged together to create images that capture cross-sections of your body. The images can then be manipulated on a computer to create a 3D-view. The images produced are more detailed than normal X-rays, showing a range of tissues, bones, muscles, fat, organs and blood vessels, and helping to ientify inflammation, perforation, lesions and obstructions.

In some cases, the scan will involve the use of a contrast agent, or dye, which is either swallowed or injected. This increases definition within the image, helping to highlight tiny issues which can prove vital to diagnosis.

MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)

MRI is the latest of the main imaging techniques. Using a combination of magnetism, radio waves and software, it’s capable of producing remarkably clear images.

It’s a safe approach which can be used throughout your body, and help your consultant to see significant detail within the digestive tract. The MRI field also offers other procedures tailored to the needs of gastroenterology.

A form of MRI called magnetic resonance enterography is used to produce detailed images of your small intestine to check for inflammation or bleeding. It also helps consultants check bile ducts for stones and to identify instances of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

MRI is also fast becoming a sensitive yet powerful technique in pelvis imaging, and the diagnosis of fistulating or inflammatory complications of Crohn’s disease.Whether for a conclusive diagnosis, or to provide guidance during treatment, the digestive tract imaging equipment we have highlighted here is invaluable. If you’d like to find out how we can help you with either diagnosis or treatment, please get in touch.

Book a consultation

To make an appointment, or if you have any questions, please contact my secretary, Orsi Baranya:

E: profbloompractice@hcahealthcare.co.uk

T:  +44 20 7483 5662
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