Are there any good reasons to want to have a (precautionary) endoscopy/colonoscopy examination - with associated diagnoses and interpretation - done by a gastro-enterologist, as opposed to a surgeon, all other things being equal?

For logistical convenience, a patient I know is about to get these procedures done at the practice of a doctor of a different speciality (general and visceral surgery, bariatric surgery), but I wonder what the arguments are for letting a gastro-enterologist (whether a surgeon or non-surgeon) do it instead.

  • 1
    Whichever doctor does the most colonoscopies with the best outcomes is the one that should do the procedure. (Outcomes being significant findings leading to a diagnosis, and lack of adverse outcomes like bowel perforation.) It also depends on what the doctor is looking for, i.e. the reason for the colonoscopy in the first place. Aug 26 '21 at 15:07
  • Thanks, that makes sense. Sadly it's quite difficult to find out what these outcomes are (successful diagnoses & few/no ruptures) for the various doctors, so as to be able to compare. There are some online reviews, but few of them and not very trustworthy.
    – z8080
    Aug 26 '21 at 18:20
  • 1
    @anongoodnurse I agree that's the way to choose, but getting such information from most doctors is extremely difficult if not outright impossible. Believe me, I've tried. Most keep no objective data they're willing to share with patients or the public. Medicare data is publicly available and can provide some clues, but processing it and interpreting it requires skills few people have. The best you can usually get are rough estimates from them or their staff, and opinions from other providers.
    – Carey Gregory
    Aug 26 '21 at 18:39
  • @CareyGregory - Ask your doctor. MDs, even PCPs, know who's good/who's not through patient referrals, conversations & the grapevine. If you're blunt (and some doctors will get uppity about this) and come right out and ask for specific stats ("Have you ever perforated a bowel doing this procedure? What was your worst outcome?"), they can either not answer, or be honest, but it's big trouble if they lie and you have a bad outcome. A good doctor will admit to fallibility. Some questions have no answer ("Have you ever missed a diagnosis?" "Absolutely!" "How often?" "No idea." Aug 27 '21 at 11:44
  • @CareyGregory - You can also hire a physician as a patient advocate. I did advocacy work before it became an actual thing, but for free. The physician goes to the appointment with you, listens carefully to what's being said by both parties, and at the end, asks the pertinent questions. The times I did it were extremely rewarding and a humble doctor is happy for the help, because afterwards I could answer the patient's many questions. I also learned how very little info patients actually retain (anxiety decreases working memory.) Aug 27 '21 at 11:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.