People experiencing persistent gastrointestinal (GI) problems can now turn to an expert team of medical and surgical specialists at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn for help with issues in the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, colon, and rectum, as well as obstructions of the bile duct.
While the vast array of cure-alls on drugstore shelves and in medicine cabinets can provide temporary relief, people experiencing persistent indigestion, bloating, heartburn, stomach cramps, gas, constipation, or who have to make frequent trips to the bathroom should talk to their primary care provider, who may recommend further evaluation.
“There are many reasons you could have GI tract problems, which can include benign conditions, but also something more serious,” says Adam J. Goodman, MD, chief of gastroenterology and director of endoscopy and quality at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn.
The hospital offers the latest generation of technologies for routine upper and lower endoscopy and advanced endoscopic procedures, including endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and advanced therapeutic endoscopy.
“These technologies provide a detailed image of the lining and walls of the digestive tract to help us detect and treat precancerous and cancerous growths, as well as other complications that arise anywhere along the GI tract and nearby organs like the liver and pancreas,” explains Dr. Goodman.
The endoscope is placed down the esophagus to evaluate possible causes of GI issues, some of which can be attributed to weakening of the sphincter valve that prevents backup from the stomach. Tests also can detect an abnormal growth in the esophagus or stomach and help doctors determine whether surgery is required.
“EUS is the standard of care for diagnosing and treating many GI malignancies,” says Dr. Goodman, who works in close collaboration with surgical and medical oncologists and other specialists at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center in Manhattan. “It is particularly useful in the evaluation and staging of cancer prior to surgery or the initiation of chemotherapy.”
Why EUS Is Superior for Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to a camera at its tip, the EUS endoscope generates sound waves that go deep into tissues to produce more detailed images. It also has a channel through which an instrument can pass to insert a stent, obtain tissue for biopsy, or allow removal of an obstruction.
A stent may be recommended to help patients with certain inoperable tumors to open up the duct through which the bile passes from the liver to the gallbladder and the small intestine; to enlarge the duct from the pancreas to the small intestine; to facilitate swallowing if there is a blockage in the esophagus; or to relieve stool backup in the colon.
Prashant Sinha, MD, chief of surgery at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, has worked collaboratively with Dr. Goodman on several cases. Dr. Sinha is an expert in minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery and oncologic surgery.
“The decision to do surgery depends on the location and extent of the tumor,” Dr. Sinha says. “EUS allows surgeons to make a rapid determination on the best therapeutic approach for the patient.”
Josef A. Shehebar, MD, director of colon and rectal surgery at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, adds, “Among the valuable uses of advanced endoscopy is the ability to identify, and remove a bowel obstruction, insert a stent to alleviate further blockage, and allow a diseased section of the colon to decompress and heal. This helps avoid the need for a colostomy bag.”
“Having state of the art tools in Brooklyn that facilitate GI diagnosis and treatment is a great advantage to doctors and patients,” says Bret J. Rudy, MD, executive hospital director and senior vice president, NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn. “We are continually upgrading our facilities, technology, and services to provide our patients the best care possible close to where they live.”