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Diagnostic Tests & Treatments

Diagnosing Thoracic & Foregut Conditions

At Washington Township Medical Foundation, we provide a wide range of diagnostic tests and treatments for thoracic and foregut patients.

Diagnostic tests depend on the individual patient but may include:

  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy – This is an outpatient examination performed with a scope that contains a small camera. The scope is a long, narrow, and flexible tube, and the camera is used to visualize the interior of the esophagus and stomach. These procedures may be performed by gastroenterologists, surgeons, and other medical professionals, and diagnose symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, pain, and weight loss.
  • Upper GI barium x-ray – This procedure is designed to examine the anatomy of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, which is the beginning of the small intestine, and utilizes an orally ingested contrasting agent called “barium” which provides the base for the clear image.
  • 24-hour pH monitoring – This procedure is an outpatient study to determine the presence of acid reflux in the esophagus and is used to diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Esophageal manometry – This test is a 30 to 45-minute procedure to evaluate esophageal function. The test examines the lower esophageal sphincter and the esophagus muscles.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) – EUS is an endoscopic procedure that can be used to visualize the tissue in and around the wall of the esophagus. This procedure assess digestive / GI diseases and pulmonary diseases using ultrasound technology.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan and / or positron emission tomography (PET) scan – CT scans and PET scans are imaging studies that can be used to evaluate malignancies.
  • Fiber-optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing and transnasal esophagoscopy – These advanced office endoscopic procedures to assess swallowing function and to perform examination of the upper esophagus.

Thoracic & Foregut Treatments

Many esophageal disorders can be treated with medications and / or changes in diet and lifestyle.

Others may need more specialized treatments, which may include:

  • Minimally invasive surgery – Minimally invasive procedures use the latest fiber-optic technology to enable surgeons to perform surgeries through needle-sized holes with miniaturized instruments, or endoscopes. This facilitates faster recovery times and minimized scarring, bleeding, and risk of complications.
  • Robotic surgery – Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that employs robotic instruments in order to give surgeons more flexibility in moving instruments inside the body. These procedures allow for a high degree of precision but remain completely under the guidance and control of a highly skilled and experienced physician.
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) – Gastrointestinal EMR is an outpatient endoscopic procedure that serves to completely remove esophageal lesions, which are abnormal or malignant tissues of the digestive tract.
  • En Bloc esophagectomy – A radical en bloc esophagectomy procedure is used to treat some esophageal cancers. This procedure involves the removal of the esophagus and lymph nodes.
  • Vagal-sparing esophagectomy – This procedure is performed by minimally invasive techniques to remove the esophagus but preserve the vagas nerves that control stomach function. The vagal plexus nerves around the stomach control the stomach and small bowel.
  • Endoscopic Zenker's diverticulectomy — Zenker diverticulum is a rare pulsion diverticulum of the hypopharynx. We use a minimally invasive surgery to treat Zenker's diverticulum of the esophagus without skin incision
  • Endoscopic ablative therapy – Ablation means tissue removal or eradication. Endoscopic ablative therapy is a procedure that is typically used for treating Barrett's esophagus and early cancer.
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