San Jose Gastroenterology

What if I do not feel comfortable speaking English ?

Not to worry, our highly trained staff and physicians are able to speak English, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, and Taishanese), French, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Listed below are some questions mostly asked by our patients. If you have a particular question and cannot find an answer on this page, feel free to send us your questions by filling out our online question form.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Please click on the question to reveal the answer.

What are your office hours and telephone numbers? (Click to view answer)

Our two offices are open Monday - Friday from 9 am to 5:30 pm. You may reach our office by calling 408-347-9001. Our fax number is 408-347-9004.

How do I make an appointment?

You can either log onto our online portal by clicking here or call our office at 408-347-9001 to request for an appointment.

What if I can't speak English?

Not to worry, our highly trained staff and physicians are able to speak English, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, and Taishanese), French, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese.

May I fill out my paperwork in advance?

Yes, please click here to fill our forms online prior to your visit to our office

OFFICE POLICIES RELATED QUESTIONS

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How long do I have to wait for an appointment with the office?

Our office staff will try to accommodate your request to see your preferred doctors at a convenient time and office location. With seven equally qualified gastroenterologists, we can schedule the appointment with the first available physician to shorten your wait period, if you wish.

Will my procedure take place during my first visit at the office?

No, your first visit will be a consultation visit with your physician. Your physician will then decide whether or not a procedure should be performed.

May I select another doctor if I am not satisfied?

We have seven equally qualified, highly trained physicians. If you prefer to be treated by one physician rather than another, please feel free to inform our staff and we will try our best to accommodate your needs.

Do I need a referral to be seen?

This depends on the type of insurance you have. If you have a PPO plan, then you do not need a referral to be seen at our office. However, if your insurance is an HMO, you would need a referral from your physician as well as an authorization from your insurance in order to be seen at our offices.

What is your cancellation policy?

We request 48 hours notice of cancellation of an office appointment and 72 hours for cancellation of any procedure. A cancellation fee is applied if you do not notify our office with this notice or fail to keep your scheduled appointment/procedure.

Where do your physicians perform procedures?

Our physicians perform procedures at two local Ambulatory Surgery Centers: Advanced Surgery Center and the Montpelier Surgery Center. Our Physicians may also perform procedures at O'Connor Hospital and Regional Medical Center of San Jose. Click here for more details about our facilities.

How may I obtain copies of my medical records?

In order for our office to release your medical records, we need to obtain a signed consent form, giving your permission to release the records either to yourself for personal use or to a specific doctor.

What should I do if I need a prescription refill and am not scheduled for an office visit?

If you need a refill for your medications, please contact your pharmacy first. Please allow our office 48 hours to review medication requests. Refills will not be done on weekends or after hours.

INSURANCE/BILLING RELATED QUESTIONS

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What type of Insurance and payments do you accept?

San Jose Gastroenterology physicians are providers of Physicians Medical Group of San Jose (PMG), Santa Clara County IPA (SCIPA), Premier Care Medical Group, and Valley Health Plan. We accept most PPOs, Tricare, and Medicare.

We accept major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover as well as personal checks.

We also offer special cash discount prices for cash-paying patients for our professional fees and at our associated ambulatory surgery centers.  Click here to view a list of contracted insurance companies.

May I see a physician and have a procedure if I don't have medical insurance?

Yes. In addition to the types of insurances listed here, San Jose Gastroenterology also accepts patients without medical insurance.

Who do I speak with regarding billing questions?

Please call our billing department at 408-213-0063 or email us at contact@sjgi.com

MEDICAL/PROCEDURAL RELATED QUESTIONS

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What is a Gastroenterologist (GI)?

Gastroenterologists are medical specialists with extensive training in disease of the digestive tract who are equipped to answer your questions, perform tests to help make a diagnosis, and to prescribe the best course of treatment. Patients with complicated conditions often benefit from being treated by a specialist who has experience with a large number of similar cases.

Will the procedure hurt?

This largely depends on the procedure you will have, but you will be given medication ("conscious sedation") to help prevent pain and significant discomfort. For example, a colonoscopy itself should not be painful, but you might feel somewhat uncomfortable. This can be alleviated by additional medication or by assistance from the nursing staff.

Do I really need a driver for my procedure?

If you are receiving any type of sedation, you may not drive home and therefore you will require a driver.

How do I prepare for my procedures?

Our staff will instruct you how to prepare and are available to answer any questions. Written instructions will be given to you after the office consultation. Additionally, you may click here to obtain these instructions. Click here to view services offered at SJGI.

Will I be asleep during the procedure?

You will be given conscious sedation. This means that you will be sedated during the procedure but able to follow simple instructions. Many patients do not remember much of the procedure because of the medication.

How long will I have to wait for the results of my procedure?

This depends on the type of procedure you have and whether or not a biopsy is taken. The doctor will inform you in writing about the results immediately following the procedure. If a biopsy is taken or polyp removed, it may take approximately 2 weeks for these results to be available.

How long does a colonoscopy take?

The procedure itself takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Click here for more information about the colonoscopy procedure.

How often do I need a colonoscopy?

An average-risk patient is recommended to undergo colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50. Depending on the family history, prior colonoscopy results, and many other factors, then interval may be shorter.

Is heartburn dangerous?

Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is a very common condition that may be bothersome, painful, and contribute to a poor quality of life. Only a small percentage of people develop complications from heartburn, but only your physician can help decide the right treatment for you. These complications can include ulcers, bleeding, Barrett's esophagus (a "pre-cancerous" change in the esophagus) or esophageal cancer.

I have heartburn. Do I need an endoscopy?

If you have had longstanding symptoms, difficulty swallowing, or other related symptoms, your physician may recommend this procedure.

How long does an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) take?

The procedure itself takes approximately 15-20 minutes. Click here for more information about the EGD procedure.

I took aspirin or Advil (ibuprofen) before my colonoscopy. What should I do?

You should be sure to follow the instructions given by your physician prior to the procedure. If you mistakenly took medication that you were asked to stop, inform your doctor at the time of the procedure. It is not necessary to cancel the procedure.

I can't drink the entire colonoscopy preparation. What should I do?

If the bowel movements are clear or yellow, then you may have taken enough of the bowel prep and you may stop. If the stool is loose but dark, you could use an enema (such as Fleets). If there have been no change in the stool or if you have great difficulty, contact your physician and you will be transferred to the on-call doctor for guidance.

Why can't I drink any red fluids the day of the prep?

It may cause some reddish discoloration within the bowel, and could be confused with blood.

Should I get screened for colon cancer?

The standard medical guidelines state that a colonoscopy is recommended beginning at age 50. There are other indications for screening to begin at an earlier age, and these will be reviewed with your physician. There are special situations, such as in inflammatory bowel disease, in which patients are recommended to have colonoscopy, to help prevent cancer.

What is the best screening for colon cancer?

Colonoscopy is the "Gold Standard" colon cancer prevention test, and is the only test that both identifies polyps and removes them during one procedure. Other options include sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, and stool testing for microscopic blood, CT colonography ("virtual colonoscopy") is another option, but is only covered by insurance for special situations.

Are all polyps precancerous?

Over half of colon polyps are "hyperplastic", which are benign and carry no risk of colon cancer. The remainder includes "adenomatous" polyps, which have the potential of growing into a cancer. The goal of colonoscopy is to remove these polyps and prevent colon cancer.

I have a hiatal hernia. Do I need surgery?

Hiatal hernias increase the likelihood of having symptoms of acid reflux. If the reflux is not responding to medicine or if the hernia is very large, surgery is an option for some. Most people are managed with medication and dietary modification alone.

Is it safe to be on reflux medication long term?

Yes, these medicines are quite safe and have been used for more than 25 years.

Which reflux medication is the best?

Usually, a patient's symptoms can be controlled with one of the over-the-counter ("OTC") or prescription antacid medications. Ask you doctor which is the best medication for you.

I have gallstones. Do I need surgery?

>People with asymptomatic (without symptoms) gallstones usually do not need surgery. However, if you have had a significant gallbladder attack or multiple minor attacks, you may benefit from surgery. Click here to view an educational video about gallstones.

What are the risk factors for stomach ulcers?

A bacterial infection due to Helicobacter pylori accounts for almost 50% of all ulcers. The other main risk factors include anti-inflammatory medication, alcohol and tobacco use.

Can H. pylori be treated?

Usually, a course of two antibiotics and an acid blocking medicine taken for 10 - 14 days will eradicate the infection.

How are ulcers diagnosed?

Ulcers are diagnosed with an upper endoscopy or an upper GI series.

Is Hepatitis contagious?

Hepatitis B and C are transmitted via blood and bodily fluids. Exposure to "Dirty" needles, tattoos, blood transfusions and sexual promiscuity are risk factors. Hepatitis A is transmitted by contaminated food, often associated with poor hygiene.

Do I need to be treated for chronic hepatitis?

Most people who are infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C are asymptomatic. If you have one of these infections, you may need to be treated. Only your doctor and you can decide.

What is the treatment for hepatitis C?

Most patients will need 6-12 months of a combination of an injection medication ("interferon") and an oral medication ("ribavirin"). The cure rates vary between ~50-90%. The medications can have side effects such as fatigue, anemia, muscle aches and others. Most of these side effects can be managed with other medication and supportive care.