FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do your doctors perform procedures?

Our doctors perform procedures primarily at Brownsville Surgery Center in Brownsville, TX and Platinum Surgery Center in Harlingen, TX. They also have privileges at all hospitals in Cameron county: Harlingen Medical Center, Valley Baptist Medical Center, both Brownsville and Harlingen, and Valley Regional Medical Center.

Do your doctors see patients admitted to the hospitals?

Absolutely! Our doctors are available for consultation if you are admitted at any hospital in Cameron County. Please note that the admitting physician must place a consult with GCST in order for one of our doctors to evaluate and treat you while you are in the hospital.

Do I have to go to a hospital to have an outpatient endoscopy done?

No. Our doctors perform procedures primarily at Brownsville Surgery Center and Platinum Surgery Center (Harlingen). Our surgery centers offer a private outpatient environment at an affordable cost, making this setting a value proposition for you and your insurance company. However, many times we may choose to perform an outpatient procedure at the hospital, but this is only for certain procedures or due to the patient’s underlying health status.

Do you do procedures or imaging in your offices?

Yes. At our offices we perform abdominal ultrasounds, fibroscan testing, banding of internal hemorrhoids, feeding tube changes, H. pylori testing, rectal manometry,smartpill motility and pillcam enteroscopy.

Do you accept all insurances?

Yes. We are in network with all commercial insurance as well as all Medicare and Medicaid traditional and advantage plans. Keep in mind, while most insurances allow you to self-refer to our offices, some insurances will require a referral from your primary care doctor. If you are not sure, feel free to contact our office for further guidance regarding your specific health insurance plan.

Do you accept managed Medicaid/Medicare plans?

Yes. We are in network with all Medicare and Medicaid traditional and advantage plans. Keep in mind, while most insurances allow you to self-refer to our offices, some insurances will require a referral from your primary care doctor. If you are not sure, feel free to contact our office for further guidance regarding your specific health insurance plan.

Do your doctors see patients in McAllen and Weslaco areas?

Yes, our pediatric team sees patients in Edinburg, TX and is available for consultations and procedures. While our adult doctors do not have an office in Weslaco of the McAllen area, we see many patients from outside Cameron County. You are more than welcome to reach out to us and come visit us regardless of where you are from.

Is Colonoscopy the only test for colon cancer screening?

No, but a Colonoscopy is the only procedure that allows both identification and removal of polyps, thus preventing colon cancer. A screening colonoscopy is also covered by most health insurance plans at 100% after age 50. A Cologuard stool test is another option for screening, but it is meant to detect cancer, not polyps; it requires that you submit a stool sample to a laboratory. CT Colonography is another option for screening in which a bowel prep is required and radiation via computed tomography is used. If either Cologuard or CT Colonography are positive, then you will require a Colonoscopy to evaluate the colon and remove polyps. Please keep in mind that if any alternative screening test is used and is positive, the subsequent Colonoscopy will be diagnostic, not screening, and therefore, no longer covered at 100% by your insurance plan.

Can I drive myself to have my endoscopy or Colonoscopy done?

No. Due to the sedation used during procedures, you are required to arrange your own transportation after your procedure. It is not safe for us to allow you to drive after anesthesia.

When can I return to work after having an Endoscopy or Colonoscopy done?

With very rare exceptions, you can return to work without restrictions the very next day after having an endoscopic procedure

What does the recovery process look like after I have a colonoscopy?

After your colonoscopy, you are monitored in the recovery room for about an hour while we wait for the anesthesia to wear off. You may have some mild gas and bloating which usually passes once you start moving around. Depending on the findings of your colonoscopy, you will be given more specific post-operative care instruction upon discharge.

How often do I need to have a Colonoscopy done?

Average risk individuals should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, while those with family history should have a colonoscopy every 5 years. For those patients with colon polyps that are removed during a colonoscopy, we usually repeat the colonoscopy in 3 or 5 years depending on the size, number, and biopsy results. Rarely a colonoscopy needs to be repeated within a year, but this depends on the specific findings. At GCST we strictly follow the evidence-based gastrointestinal medical guidelines for polyp surveillance

If I need an upper endoscopy (EGD) done, can you do it at the same time as you do the Colonoscopy, or do I need to do it on another day?

Yes. Rarely, there are circumstances that require us to do the procedures in different days. However, if both procedures are indicated, then we definitely recommend that you have them done at the same time. This reduces time you will be under anesthesia, time off from work and your overall cost.

Do you offer feeding tube exchanges in your office?

Yes. Most feeding tubes can be exchanged in our office within a few minutes. However, for initial feeding tube placements, this needs to be done at the hospital under endoscopic guidance.

Why am I getting bills from your office?

You are getting a bill from our office because your health insurance did not cover our services at 100% and you may be responsible for a portion of the bill. If you feel you need further explanation, please call our office, we are pleased to review any charges with you.

I know your doctors find a lot of colon cancers, but what other cancers do they deal with?

Gastroenterologist deal with the entire GI tract from the mouth to the anus as well as diseases of the liver, pancreas, biliary system, and gallbladder. As such, we also diagnose malignancies in other areas of the GI tract including esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. We also commonly diagnose cancer of the liver, pancreas, and bile duct.

Do your doctors treat gallstones, liver disease, and problems with the pancreas?

Yes, while we don’t remove gallbladders like general surgeons, we do remove gallstonesfrom the common bile duct (Choledocholithiasis) with a procedure called ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography). We also diagnose and manage patients with fatty liver and cirrhosis of the liver and treat
Hepatitis C and other forms of chronic hepatitis. For the pancreas we perform Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) examinations which allow us to sample cyst and tumors of the pancreas and evaluate for chronic pancreatitis.

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