Services and Programs
The Gastroenterology staff offers unparalleled diagnostic and treatment services for patients with general gastrointestinal problems such as peptic ulcers, abdominal pain, gastroesophageal reflux, various malignancies and rectal bleeding, as well as for patients with hepatobiliary disorders such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, pancreatic disease, and biliary obstruction. The staff offers a colorectal cancer-screening program for patients who are at risk. Specialized services are also offered in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal disorders in patients with AIDS, motility disturbances and neuroendocrine tumors including gastrinoma.
The diagnostic services offered include upper endoscopy colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, biliary procedures, and endoscopic ultrasonography, capsule endoscopy and double balloon enteroscopy. Additional services include esophageal and anorectal manometry, esophageal pH testing, various breath tests, and acid secretory studies.
The specialized services offered include:
- Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- Cancer screening
- Gastroenterological disorders in patients with AIDS
- Irritable bowel and other functional disorders
- Neuroendocrine tumors, including gastrinoma (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome)
- Hepatitis C and other hepatic disorders
- Complicated GERD
Other specialty services include:
Hepatology services, including the diagnosis and management of viral, autoimmune, and metabolic liver diseases are offered by the staff. Additionally, they work closely with hepatobiliary surgeons, oncologists, interventional radiologists for transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) and tumor ablation techniques, and transplant referral centers. The unit has extensive experience in the management of complex patients with viral hepatitis, including co-infection with HIV, portal hypertension, and end-stage liver disease.
The gastroenterology staff is skilled in the treatment and evaluation of patients with gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, and pancreatobiliary cancer. Services include diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic ultrasound and specialized MRI imaging of the pancreas, and bile ducts.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
The active program for colon cancer screening offers "open access" colonoscopy screening for average risk individuals, as well as those with blood in the stool or a family history of colorectal cancer. The main screening tests for colorectal cancer, including stool blood testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, and colonoscopy. No prior appointment is necessary. Patients receive results the same day. If cancer is found, the patient’s primary care physician may choose to refer the patient for further care by one of several outstanding surgeons and oncologists at BMC’s Center for Digestive Disorders.
Many of the services provided are intended to offer comfort patients with feeding difficulties related to a serious illness. For example, the staff can enable patients with esophageal cancer to eat normally by placing an endoscopic stent in the esophagus or by the use of photodynamic therapy, allowing food to pass beyond the cancerous area into the stomach. This procedure can replace a gastrostomy tube and offer patients the pleasure of eating. For patients with conditions that cannot be stented, such as ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) or the aftermath of stroke, a gastrostomy tube can offer them the opportunity of being fed at home.
The term "endoscopy" refers to a technique used for looking inside the body using miniature cameras mounted on the end of long flexible tubes that can be inserted into the body through the mouth or rectum. The diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy services are efficient, safe, and an appropriate utilization of endoscopy for individual patient care and management.
Specialized services include advanced hemostatic techniques (band ligation, clipping, argon plasma coagulation and fibrin glue injection), as well as a biliary center for performing ERCP examinations and endoscopic ultrasonography.
In addition, BMC houses a motility center for esophageal and anorectal disorders, and the medical staff offers the latest in gastrointestinal testing, such as Bravo pH monitoring, pancreatic function testing and breath testing for lactase deficiency, bacterial overgrowth, and H. pylori. Capsule endoscopy for the evaluation of small intestinal disorders, including occult gastrointestinal bleeding, abdominal pain and suspected Crohn's disease, is available.