Gastroenterologists and interventional radiologists: friends or foes? A multidisciplinary approach for solving gastrointestinal problems

Asem Ahmed Elfert, Ferial Salah El-Kalla
Arab Journal of Gastroenterology: the Official Publication of the Pan-Arab Association of Gastroenterology 2011, 12 (1): 5-10
While endoscopy used to have more therapeutic abilities than radiology, interventional radiology is now racing to lead the minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic techniques in medicine as well as surgery. Expecting the new epidemic of hepatocellular carcinoma, radiologists and gastroenterologists are on the run competing in many procedures that are needed. While some radiologists worry about non-radiologists who "intervene" in radiology, many gastroenterologists defend their specialty. Both gastroenterologists and radiologists are invited to collaborate in diagnosing and treating many diseases. Treatment of upper gastrointestinal bleeds should be multidisciplinary involving a team of gastroenterologists, radiologists and surgeons. The role of the interventional radiologist and surgeon arises only after the failure of the endoscopic treatment. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is the preferred treatment for variceal bleeding after failed endoscopy. As the entire field of gastroenterology continues towards less invasive, safer and more effective means of diagnosing and treating diseases, digestive endoscopy will continue to expand the ways in which this unique and minimally invasive technology can be applied to the benefit of patients. In line with this trend, there will be a decline in simple diagnostic standard endoscopies. Development of new techniques, such as CT colonography and capsule endoscopy will actually increase the demand for digestive endoscopy. The trend of future digestive endoscopy will continue to move from diagnostic to therapeutic modalities. Future gastroenterologists will be trained and expected to become micro-surgeons of the gastrointestinal tract working in multispecialty teams along with their colleagues: surgeons and radiologists.

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