New Center for GERD & Foregut Disorders

We launched a specialty center focused on treating a range of esophageal and upper gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to esophageal cancer.

Mar. 4, 2021 3   min read

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The Center is the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary program of its kind in the Rochester region.

Getting heartburn care from one coordinated program

More than 60 million Americans struggle with heartburn at least once a month and some 15 million Americans experience heartburn symptoms daily, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

Other common conditions, which will be treated under the new specialty center program, include hiatal hernia, Barrett’s esophagus, motility disorders, achalasia, and disorders interfering with swallowing. 

“These conditions of the esophagus are extremely common, and patients do not need to suffer,” said Patrick Okolo, MD, Chief of Gastroenterology at Rochester Regional Health. “We want to offer patients an option to receive care under one coordinated multidisciplinary program. That’s why we’ve brought together experts from gastroenterology, bariatric surgery and cardiothoracic surgery – to offer state-of-the-art techniques that address reflux and esophagus issues, from one coordinated team.”

Minimally invasive treatments to prevent acid reflux

The specialty center will address patient cases with a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach where a team of physicians work together to develop a unique treatment plan for each patient. While physicians are located throughout Western NY and the Finger Lakes region for treatment, diagnostic testing will take place at Rochester General Hospital. Treatment options range from lifestyle modifications and medication therapy, to cancer surveillance and a range of minimally-invasive laparoscopic techniques.

“We have several new minimally invasive surgical treatment options, including the LINX implant, where we place a ring of flexible magnets around the lower part of the esophagus to reinforce the closing function and prevent acid from going back up,” said Alok Gandhi, DO, Bariatric Surgeon at Rochester Regional Health.

Other inn ovative technologies our team uses include:

  • Bravo Reflux Testing System - uses advanced technology to measure pH levels (acid content) in a patient’s esophagus for up to 96 hours. This test also allows our gastroenterologists to measure the effect of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) on pH levels and reflux symptoms.
  • EndoFLIP (Endolumenal Functional Lumen Imaging Probe) Imaging System - simultaneously measures the area across the inside of a gastrointestinal organ (for example, the esophagus) and the pressure inside that organ, allowing our gastroenterologists to see each and every detail from within the esophageal wall, which may otherwise go unnoticed during a regular endoscopy.

Comprehensive esophageal cancer care

Esophageal cancer is another condition treated by the Center and accounts for about one percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States, with about 17,000 cases diagnosed in the country. Risk factors for esophageal cancer include:

  • GERD
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol intake
  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

The Center monitors and tracks patients with abnormal esophageal lining who may be at increased risk for esophageal cancer.     


NEXT STEPS Center for GERD & Foregut Disorders

The Rochester Regional Health Center for GERD and Foregut Disorders provides personalized management of all types of esophageal and gastric diseases. Whatever your reason for visiting the Center, our team is dedicated to helping you find answers, and ultimately, relief.

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