Main content

    Gastroenterology Laboratory

    GI Lab Locations

    California Campus
    3698 California St., 3rd floor
    San Francisco, Calif. 94118
    415-600-2570

    Pacific Campus
    2333 Buchanan St. 5th floor
    San Francisco, Calif. 94115
    415-600-3478

    St. Luke's Campus
    3555 Cesar Chavez
    San Francisco, Calif. 94110
    415-600-3442

    The GI Lab offers a wide variety of services for patients with digestive concerns.


    Diagnostic/Screening Colonoscopy

    A colonoscopy is a procedure allowing physicians to examine the entire colon, from the rectum to the lower end of the small intestine. Using a lighted flexible tube with a tiny camera that transmits pictures of the colon to a video screen, the doctor examines the colon for ulcers, swelling (inflammation) or polyps (small growths). The physician can also take small tissue samples (biopsy) to look for infection, illness, early signs of cancer, and also remove polyps. Removed polyps are examined closely to determine if they are pre-cancerous. During a colonoscopy procedure patients receive a mild sedative and pain medication for comfort. A registered nurse monitors vital signs and assists the doctor during the procedure. If you are over 50 years old, talk to your doctor today about scheduling your screening colonoscopy.

    Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP)

    ERCP allows physicians to examine gastrointestinal bile duct systems of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. Useful in diagnosing and treating problems causing jaundice or abdominal pain, many pancreas and bile duct system problems can be identified and corrected during ERCP. Tumor diagnosis and biopsy, stone removal, and using endoscopic balloons or stents placement can open strictures or scarring. Performed in the radiology suite, ERCP employs a lighted flexible tube with a tiny camera that transmits pictures to a video screen. X-rays are also used with the endoscope to obtain a complete picture of the bile duct system. During an ERCP procedure patients receive a mild sedative and pain medication for comfort. A registered nurse monitors vital signs and assists the physician during the procedure.

    Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

    A flexible sigmoidoscopy,very similar to a colonoscopy, allows the physician to examine the rectum up into the descending colon. Sigmoidoscopy allows physicians to look for causes of diarrhea, constipation or abdominal pain, and early signs of cancer in the descending colon and rectum. Polyps can also be removed during this procedure. This procedure is mildly uncomfortable and is routinely done in the doctor’s office.

    Liver Biopsy

    A liver biopsy is performed to obtain a sample (biopsy) of liver tissue for examination under a microscope. From the results of a liver biopsy physicians are able to determine the type and severity of liver disease or liver damage, evaluate for the presence of tumors or infection, or check existing conditions such as hepatitis or liver scar tissue (cirrhosis). During liver biopsy the doctor injects a local anesthetic around the biopsy site. A long needle is inserted into the liver to remove a tissue sample. A registered nurse monitors vital signs and assists the physician during the procedure. Patients are closely monitored for several hours prior to discharge.

    Percutaneous Endoscopy Gastrostomy Placement

    Placement of a gastrostomy tube is required for patients who are unable to consume sufficient calories. Required for patients who are unable to eat or swallow enough nutrition for their daily activities, the gastrostomy tube is placed through the abdomen into the stomach and can be used for nutrition, fluids or medications. A gastrostomy can be used for a short time or long-term for patients with diagnoses such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS - Lou Gering’s Disease), facial trauma, dysphasia, and tumors of the head and neck. Physicians will use a lighted flexible tube through the mouth and into the stomach to place the tube. During gastrostomy tube placement procedure patients receive a mild sedative and pain medication for comfort. A registered nurse monitors vital signs and assists the doctor during the procedure. After the procedure patients stay in the hospital to learn how to use and care for the tube.

    Small Bowel Enteroscopy

    Small bowel arthroscopy allows physicians a direct look at the small intestine using a lighted flexible tube with a tiny camera that transmits pictures of the small intestine to a video screen. The doctor can examine the small intestine for ulcers, inflammation or disease. Physician can also take small samples (biopsy) of the tissue to look for infection, illness or early signs of cancer. During this procedure patients receive a mild sedative and pain medication for comfort. A registered nurse monitors vital signs and assists the doctor during the procedure.

    Upper Endoscopy

    An upper endoscopy enables physicians to see inside the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. This diagnostic tool is used to analyze swallowing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, reflux, bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain or chest pain. Biopsies can be obtained for further analysis during an upper endoscopy. A sedative and pain medication is normally used for patient comfort.