What Does Dr Tummy Do?
What is Paediatric Gastroenterology?
Children are not just small adults. Their bodies are growing and have unique medical needs. They usually express their concerns differently than adults. They cannot always answer medical questions and are not always able to be patient and cooperative. Paediatric gastroenterologists know how to examine and treat children in a way that makes them relaxed and cooperative. Paediatric gastroenterologists focus on problems unique to paediatric patients, including growth, maturation, physical and emotional development, and age-related social issues.
If your child has chronic abdominal pain, or another digestive system, liver, or nutritional problem, a paediatric gastroenterologist has the expertise to treat your child. These conditions in children often quite different from those seen in adults. Specialized training and experience in paediatric gastroenterology are important.
Paediatric gastroenterologists treat children from the newborn period through the teen years.
What Types of Treatments Do Paediatric Gastroenterologists Provide?
Paediatric gastroenterologists generally provide treatment for the following:
Acute or chronic abdominal pain
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (reflux or GORD)
Nutritional problems (including malnutrition, Coeliac, and failure to thrive)
Chronic or severe diarrhoea
Food allergies or intolerances
Inflammatory bowel disease
Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract
Pancreatic insufficiency (including cystic fibrosis) and pancreatitis
Paediatric gastroenterologists are specially trained to perform diagnostic tests of a child’s digestive system. Special instruments, such as endoscopes, are used to examine the inside of the digestive tract or obtain tissue samples (biopsies). Endoscopic procedures paediatric gastroenterologists perform include gastroscopy and colonoscopy. Paediatric gastroenterologists also treat bleeding, swallowing problems, or other problems encountered in the intestines. They have extensive expertise in managing nutritional problems in children, including management of feeding tubes and intravenous nutrition and diagnosing and treating infants, children, and teens with liver disease.
Gastroscopy (Upper Endoscopy)
This is a camera test which allows the doctor to see inside the oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum).
The gastroscope is a plastic-coated tube about as thick as a ballpoint pen and is flexible. It is passed down through your child's mouth. It has a tiny camera attached. Your child will have a general anaesthetic (be completely asleep). If the doctor sees any abnormalities they can take a biopsy (a small piece of tissue) to send to the laboratory for testing. This is not a painful procedure. It will be performed as a day case procedure so your child goes home the same day. It takes around 20 minutes but your child will be away from you for around 30min -1 hour to allow them to recover from the anaesthetic.
Before the procedure
You will be sent instructions as your child will need to starve for several hours before the endoscopy.
After the procedure
Your child will stay in the recovery Unit until they are ready to go home. If biopsies are taken these will be sent for analysis and results are available within 10-14 days. A report and copies of these are sent to the doctor who referred your child. We do not telephone results.
This is a procedure which allows the doctor to see inside your child's large bowel and examine the surfaces directly and take biopsies (samples of tissue) if needed. Treatment of conditions can also be undertaken.
What to expect
The colonoscope is a flexible plastic-coated tube a little thicker than a ballpoint pen which has a tiny camera attached that sends images to a viewing screen. Your child will be given a general anaesthetic then a tube is passed into the rectum (bottom) and gently moved along the large bowel. The procedure takes from 30 minutes to 1 hour and oxygen levels and heart rhythm are monitored throughout.
The procedure is performed in a day stay operating theatre.