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Proctologists vs Gastroenterologists: What’s the Difference?

April 20, 2023 by bespoke

Unless you work in medicine, you may be thinking to yourself: what’s the difference between a proctologist and a gastroenterologist? While they are related, they each focus on different parts of the body, and thus different pathologies and issues. This guide will help you determine if you should see us here at Bespoke Surgical, or if you should seek care at a different specialist.

What Is a Proctologist?

A proctologist is a surgical specialist with a focus on diagnosing and treating pathologies within the colon, rectum, and anus. You may have also heard of the term colorectal surgeon, which is the same as a proctologist. Proctologists handle issues like anal hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fistulas, and anal cancer screenings.

What Is a Gastroenterologist?

A gastroenterologist is a medical specialist for disorders of the stomach and intestines, as well as the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree, and pancreas. They are experts in the gastrointestinal tract, or GI tract, and therefore are trained to perform colonoscopies. They can extract polyps and diagnose colon cancer during these types of screenings. Unlike proctologists or colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists do not perform surgery.

What Is the Difference Between a Proctologist and a Gastroenterologist?

You might be wondering: where do these types of specialists overlap? Both a proctologist and a gastroenterologist might treat someone with irritable bowel syndrome, handle intestinal bleeding or diagnose colon cancer. While they are both trained in invasive medical treatments, there are some key differences in services they provide.

How can you easily compare the differences between a proctologist and a gastroenterologist?


  • Are board certified by the American Board of Surgery,
  • Are experts and have learned to treat all areas of the GI tract,
  • Require 6 years of training after medical school,
  • Don’t work with the stomach, pancreas, liver disease, or inflammatory bowel disease, and
  • Perform colorectal surgeries.


  • Usually board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine,
  • Require 2-3 years of training after medical school,
  • Trained for stomach, pancreas, and liver diseases, and
  • Work with inflammatory bowel disease.

How Do I Know Which Specialist I Need?

It may not always be clear who you should see a proctologist or gastroenterologist. There are three simple things to consider:

  1. Is my issue taking place higher up in my GI tract in my stomach, pancreas, or liver, or is it further down in my colon, rectum, and anus?
  2. Does my issue need surgery? Gastroenterologists treat disorders but do not perform surgery.
  3. Does my issue require invasive treatment? Both are able to perform treatments like an endoscopy or laparoscopy.

Still not sure which specialist you need? We’re happy to discuss your symptoms and potential treatments at our anal surgery practice in NYC.

Schedule a Consultation With Us

At Bespoke Surgical, Dr. Evan Goldstein is an anal surgeon, who identifies and surgically treats issues of the rectum and anus. Our services range from anal restoration to hemorrhoids and beyond. We focus on your health and wellness while hand-tailoring treatment for you. Additionally, our practice also has a physical therapist for pelvic floor dysfunction and more.

Bespoke Surgical is an elite anal surgery practice based in NYC. If you would like a consultation to decide whether you need a colorectal doctor vs gastroenterologist appointment, contact us today.

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About the Author

bespoke avatar

Consistent, proactive, and thoughtful healthcare is not only a priority, it is a demand by men who live well. Bespoke Surgical is built on this understanding. Today's modern, urban male has become adept at making the most of life, believing in living fully and completely in all aspects of work, fitness, relationships, and family. This makes excellent health more important than ever.

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