Center for Digestive Diseases

About our Gastrointestinal Laboratory

The highly specialized technology available in the gastrointestinal laboratory (GI Lab) is helping doctors better diagnose and manage gastrointestinal disease with less-invasive procedures. Scientific breakthroughs like these play a key role in the future-forward approach to inpatient and outpatient GI care at Cape Gastroenterology Specialists and Saint Francis Medical Center, right here in southeast Missouri.

The GI Lab offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care for all types of GI conditions, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, acid reflux disease (GERD), Barrett’s esophagus, nausea & vomiting, constipation & diarrhea, abdominal and stomach pain, rectal bleeding, anemia, irritable bowel, liver problems, jaundice, and much more.

We offer leading-edge technology and diagnostics like endoscopic ultrasound and therapeutic endoscopy. These highly specialized tools allow better imaging of the digestive tract; better detection, location, and staging of tumors; and less-invasive treatment for GI conditions.

Colon Cancer

Colorectal screenings are a key way to find cancers early, when they are most treatable. Unfortunately, only about 50 percent of the people who need these tests get them.  Everyone age 50 and older should get regular colon screenings, and people with certain risk factors should start sooner. So get your screening on schedule. Your life could depend on it.

Reflux Disease / GERD

When the valve at the entrance to your stomach does not fully close after food passes through it, acid from your stomach can move up into your esophagus. This is called acid reflux and can cause a burning sensation commonly referred to as heartburn.

Many people experience heartburn every once in a while, but when it happens more than twice a week, you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a serious condition that requires further testing.

If you have GERD, you may not be able to find relief from your heartburn through lifestyle changes or medications, which is why it is so important that you seek medical help. A gastroenterologist can perform tests such as endoscopy, biopsy and wireless pH monitoring to determine whether there are problems in your stomach or esophagus.

Center for Digestive Diseases Services

Bravo® pH Monitoring System

The Bravo system’s capsule-size data recorder is easily attached to the esophagus with a quick procedure using the intuitive delivery system. The capsule then records esophageal conditions and sends the data to a small receiver, about the size of a pager, worn on the patient’s belt.

Bravo pH testing has several benefits over traditional pH testing, including:

  • 48-hour data collection – twice as long as other tests
  • More accurately reflects physiologic conditions
  • Capsule stays in place throughout the procedure

The Bravo pH Monitoring System is easy on patients because it:

  • Allows normal activity and diet
  • Is less invasive
  • Enhances comfort and convenience
  • Passes naturally after test completion

Capsule Endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy uses a wireless camera to take photographs of the digestive tract. The camera is inside a vitamin-sized capsule and is swallowed. As the capsule travels through the digestive tract, the camera captures thousands of images that are transmitted to a recorder the patient wears on a belt. Capsule endoscopy allows physicians to see inside the patient’s small intestine, which is an area that is not easily viewed using more traditional endoscopy procedures.


Colonoscopy utilizes a lighted, flexible fiber-optic or video endoscope to visually examine the large intestine (colon). It is used to diagnose and detect colon cancer, polyps, colitis, diverticulosis / diverticulitis, bleeding lesions, abdominal discomfort or chronic diarrhea/constipation.

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

EUS brings ultrasonic imaging closer to internal organs and structures, allowing for clearer images due to reduced interference. The technique is useful for:

  • Staging GI, lung, esophageal, gastric, rectal and pancreatic cancers
  • Imaging pancreatic and liver tumors, cysts and lymph nodes in the celiac area
  • Draining cysts and abscesses
  • Diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis
  • Diagnosis of chronic abdominal pain of unknown origin to take a closer look at abdominal organs
  • Fine-needle aspiration or biopsy of various abdominal organs and lymph nodes
  • Pain management with celiac plexus neurolysis in unrelenting pancreatic cancer pain and celiac plexus block in unrelenting chronic pancreatitis pain

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP uses endoscopic X-ray imaging to examine the duodenum, stomach, biliary tree and pancreas. ERCP is useful for:

  • Biliary and pancreatic conditions, like biliary obstructions and pancreatitis
  • Treating gallstones and associated abdominal pain
  • Bile duct sealing after gallbladder repair
  • Drainage of bile in jaundice and placement of stents in pancreatic or biliary cancers

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible sigmoidoscopy uses a lighted, flexible fiber-optic or video endoscope to visually examine the inside of the rectum and sigmoid colon. It is used to diagnose and detect problems related to rectal bleeding, persistent diarrhea, rectal pain and colon polyps.

Upper Endoscopy

An upper endoscopy allows a physician to examine the lining of the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine) by passing a lighted, flexible fiber-optic tube through the mouth. It is usually performed to evaluate symptoms of upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing.

Upper Endoscopy and Peg Tube Placement

Upper endoscopy and peg tube placement is a procedure used to place a feeding tube through the wall of the stomach for liquid feedings. In most cases, it is used for long-term feeding in patients who cannot eat or drink by mouth.

Patient Preparation Instructions

Included in the links below are preparation instructions for our most commonly prescribed exams. If you are preparing for a specific exam, please follow these and your physician or health care provider’s instructions carefully. If you have questions, please contact us at 573-331-3350.