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Advanced Endoscopy Sets Its Scopes on the Future of Digestive Health

Advanced endoscopy holds a special place in digestive health care. Minimally invasive with virtually no side effects, an endoscopy can diagnose and treat a growing number of gastrointestinal issues, from hernias to polyps to cancer, with just the use of a long, thin scope.

As interventional medicine has progressed from open surgery, to laparoscopic, to minimally invasive with the intention of reducing invasiveness and shortening recovery, advanced endoscopy is the next step in that evolution. Removing the need for incisions, advanced endoscopy techniques are dramatically changing the field, improving outcomes, offering innovative approaches and accelerating recovery times. At Hoag, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of medicine for our community through our advanced endoscopy platform.

Advanced endoscopic tools are uncovering disease and injuries with more accuracy and precision than ever before. And in many cases, the board-certified specialists at Hoag can use highly advanced endoscopes to treat a patient’s debilitating condition without the use of medications or surgery.

“We as endoscopists really provide that gap between medical therapy and surgical options,” said Phuong Nguyen, M.D., medical director of Hoag Advanced Endoscopy Center. “Patients are often surprised that some of their treatment can be done in an outpatient setting and without an incision. They like the faster recovery time.”

Treatment options are rapidly expanding according to gastroenterologist Paul Korc, M.D. “We collaborate with Hoag surgeons to utilize the least invasive approaches to removing pre-cancerous polyps and early cancers of the GI tract, including ESD, a highly specialized technique, ” said Dr. Korc.

Endoscopy can also be used in collaboration with robotic surgery with life-changing effects. Frederick Tuerck, for example, suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a common condition that causes acid reflux to backwash from the stomach, eroding the lining of the esophagus. Living with the disease for 30 years, Tuerck developed a hiatal hernia, meaning part of his stomach had gone through the hiatal orifice of his diaphragm.

Under the care of Dr. Nguyen and Daryl Pearlstein, M.D, director of Thoracic Surgery & Lung Cancer, Tuerck underwent a transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF), an advanced procedure that combines endoscopic repair with robotic surgery. While some hospitals don’t yet offer TIF, Hoag is a leader in this innovative, minimally invasive procedure.

After the procedure, more than 90% of TIF patients see a significant reduction in symptoms without the use of anti-reflux medication. Tuerck is one of them.

Tuerck said his stressful career might have had a part to play in his hernia and GERD, but thanks to the hernia repair, the TIF procedure, and his excellent medical team, he now feels as though he is able to enjoy this new chapter in his life. “Now we walk every night to keep the blood flowing. We watch what we eat, and my wife and kids are doing it with me,” Tuerek said. “They keep me going.”

Hoag is committed to pushing the boundaries of medicine to help people like Tuerck, who previously had no options for his pain and suffering. This is one reason the hospital is nationally ranked in Gastroenterology & GI Surgery.

“We are on the cutting edge, presenting our findings at national conferences, conducting clinical trials, offering the latest tools in diagnostics and treatment,” said Dr. Korc. “Our patients receive the benefit of a top-tier university but in a community hospital setting.”

For more information, call 800-400-4624.