Gastroenterology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of patients who have disorders of the digestive tract, liver and/or biliary tract, and pancreas. Gastroenterology is divided into the two main branches of medical and surgical gastroenterology, with a close inter-relationship existing and operating between both.
Medical Gastroenterology deals with most of the diagnosis and treatment of patients using drugs and/or minimal invasion interventions (for example, endoscopy).
Gastroenteric surgery (or surgery of the Digestive System) is divided into three sub-specialties: that of the upper gastrointestinal tract, the lower gastrointestinal tract (largely coinciding with Colorectal Surgery or Coloproctologica) and hepato-biliary-pancreatic surgery.
Digestive Endoscopy ranges from diagnostics to complex operations, which can also be interpreted as a form of minimally invasive surgery, as, for example, in the case of treatment for bleeding ulcers or gallstones. In many cases, endoscopic procedures have replaced traditional surgical procedures for the safer treatment of elderly patients.
Gastroenterology is for patients of all ages, from adolescence until late old age. As a specialty. it is mainly performed on an outpatient basis, and only a small percentage of patients require hospitalisation, for example in cases of inflammatory bowel disease, cirrhosis of the liver and bleeding ulcers, which require careful medical and surgical assessments to verify the need and the most appropriate timing for any surgery. Endoscopy can be performed as an outpatient or at a day hospital, with simple or deep sedation.