Gastrointestinal and liver disease is, unfortunately, prevalent in modern society. This kind of disease is also uncomfortable and embarrassing. It can originate from hereditary causes, congenital defects, lifestyle choices, or environmental causes, or it can present spontaneously without apparent cause. Anyone who suffers from this type of disease would do well to seek treatment from a multidisciplinary medical team at a first-class treatment centre.
Such a centre should offer facilities such as an operating theatre, an endoscopy room, a bowel preparation room, and a recovery room. It should be equipped to diagnose and treat conditions including gastric cancers, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic stomach aches, constipation, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal infections, acalculous and calculous cholecystitis, gallstones and bile duct stones, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease.
To properly examine and diagnose patients with these conditions, a medical centre should be able to offer:
- Ultrasound of the upper abdomen: This is able to detect the early stage of abnormalities in the internal organs including the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, gallbladder, and abdominal aorta.
- Endoscopy and video capsule endoscopy: This examines a patient’s digestive tract.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): This essentially combines an endoscopy and an x-ray.
- CT (computed tomography) scan of the abdomen
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of the abdomen
- Gastroscopy: This uses a light and camera enclosed in a thin tube to examine the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum for abnormalities.
- Colonoscopy: This uses a light and camera enclosed in a thin tube to examine the rectum and large intestine for abnormalities and cancerous or precancerous
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
- Fine needle aspiration (FNA) liver biopsy
- Trans-arterial chemoembolisation (TACE)
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) urea breath test
- Fibroscan: This is a specialised ultrasound machine that measures fibrosis level and steatosis in the liver.
Once the patient has been diagnosed, attention turns to treatment. A one-stop gastrointestinal and liver disease treatment centre should be able to provide treatments that include endoscopic (minimally invasive) polypectomy, other endoscopic treatment for gastrointestinal bleeding, endoscopic variceal ligation (EVL), endoscopic sclerosing therapy (EST), percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube placement, and open surgery for cholecystectomy or polypectomy.
In addition, the medical team should be dedicated to helping patients achieve and maintain good health. This includes whole-body checkups for patients who are at risk for gastrointestinal or liver disease, and health management for patients with hepatitis A or B. All treatments are aimed toward minimising complications and avoiding or reducing the need for hospital stays.