The digestive system is an intricate system that can be disrupted by disease, diet and emotional stress. While some digestive problems can be remedied with medicine and lifestyle changes, others require surgery. AnMed Health physicians use cutting edge technology, such as gastrointestinal ultrasound, to diagnose and treat digestive conditions. Gastrointestinal ultrasound provides more detailed images of the digestive system than other imaging studies. It allows physicians to examine your esophageal and stomach linings, as well as your upper and lower digestive tract.
The primary role of the digestive system is to help the body break down and absorb food. Also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, it includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine — also called the colon — rectum, and anus. Tiny glands in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine produce juices to help digest food. The digestive system also contains a layer of smooth muscle that moves food along the tract.
Using minimally invasive techniques, AnMed Health surgeons are experts in treating a variety of GI problems including:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Sometimes called acid reflux or heartburn, GERD is a condition where stomach acids reflux or "back up" from the stomach into the esophagus. People often describe heartburn as a harsh, burning sensation. Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) is an incision-less procedure for treating people with acid reflux disease. Using a special device, the surgeon reconstructs the anti-reflux valve at the entrance of the esophagus into the stomach to prevent reflux. TIF represents the latest step in the treatment of acid reflux disease.
If left untreated, GERD can lead to Barrett's esophagus, a condition that can eventually turn into cancer. Ablation is a treatment where tissue is heated until it is no longer viable or alive. Physicians have used various forms of ablation for nearly a century to treat a number of conditions. AnMed Health surgeons use a special technique called HALO ablation to completely remove the affected tissue, while minimizing injury to healthy esophagus tissue. Clinical studies have demonstrated that the Barrett's tissue can be completely eliminated with the HALO ablation technology in 98.4 percent of patients. Two AnMed Health physicians, Dr. David Wortham and Dr. M.P. Veerabagu are the only doctors in the Upstate performing this procedure.
People needing their gallbladder removed due to gallstones, pain or inflammation can benefit from da Vinci robotic technology. AnMed Health surgeons use a single small incision — rather than four as required with traditional laparoscopy — through the belly button to remove the gallbladder, resulting in a faster recovery and little to no scarring.
A hernia occurs when a small sac containing tissue pushes through the muscles of the abdominal wall. Hernias can be uncomfortable and usually require repair to prevent them from getting larger. AnMed Health surgeons use the latest minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques which offer less pain and a quicker recovery.
Many conditions can affect the colon, causing bleeding, inflammation and bowel control problems. Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the country. AnMed Health surgeons perform minimally invasive laparoscopic colon surgery, allowing surgeons to treat many common colon conditions through small incisions. Depending on the type of procedure, patients may leave the hospital in a few days and return to normal activities more quickly than patients recovering from open surgery.