NEW YORK, NY – In a story illustrating the importance of persistence and perseverance, Dr. Matthew Bryan of Mount Sinai Hospital made history today by becoming the first gastroenterologist to successfully pass a standard colonoscope from a patient’s rectum all the way to his mouth.
When it comes to colonoscopy, gastroenterologists start at the rectum. They then go through the descending, transverse, and ascending colons, before ending at the cecum. Once they’ve reached that point, it’s time to call it a day.
Not Bryan. Not today.
“I felt we were getting too complacent as a subspecialty just kind of hanging it up once we got to the cecum,” Bryan told Gomerblog, still riding high from this historic achievement. “I wanted to push myself. I also wanted to push that colonoscope. And push it hard. All the way ’til it came out the other side.”
With the help of extra sedation, strong wrists, and an extremely-forgiving patient, Bryan patiently advanced the colonoscope, passing through the rectum and large intestines as per usual but once he got to the cecum he kept going. He pushed through the snake-like 20-feet of small intestines, then through the pylorus into the stomach, up through the gastroesophageal (GE) junction, up the esophagus, and out the oropharynx.
Bryan pointed the camera towards the rectum, to acknowledge the portal of entry and complete the circle. The cheers in the endoscopy suite were deafening.
The patient, Ritzy Stevens, was excited to be a part of history – his entire intestinoscopy was normal, by the way – and the literal advancement of endoscopy. He did have one suggestion, however.
“Maybe next time, go from mouth to anus?” he said. “I think I have stool in my teeth, and I’m not gonna lie, it’s a little unpleasant.”