Endoscopy is a field that was initially developed by surgeons, and to which surgeons continue to make major contributions. These include the development of endoscopic treatment of variceal bleeding, endoscopic control of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, endoscopic polypectomy, endoscopic tattooing for localization of colon cancers, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic placement of biliary stents, and endoscopic placement of feeding tubes.
Surgeons are intimately familiar with the anatomy of the GI tract through performing open and laparoscopic operations. This gives surgeons a unique perspective when performing endoscopy. Given that many of the diseases identified at endoscopy are ultimately treated surgically, a surgeon's involvement in the early diagnosis and management is optimal to assure continuity of care and appropriate surgical planning.
Although major complications during endoscopy are rare, they still occasionally occur. When complications occur surgical expertise is frequently required for evaluation and definitive management, especially for those that are catastrophic or life-threatening. A surgeon who performs endoscopy has the unique ability to not only identify, but also treat, any potential endoscopic complication.