Gastrointestinal care you can trust in Aurora
At The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA), we offer gastroenterologists board-certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology. Our highly skilled doctors treat the full spectrum of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions and perform minimally invasive procedures, which offer less scarring and faster recovery times.
Digestive system conditions we treat
Our GI doctors in Aurora treat a wide range of digestive conditions and diseases, including:
- Acid reflux
- Anal cancer
- Bile duct cancer
- Celiac disease
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Colon polyps
- Colorectal cancer
- Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disease affecting the digestive tract lining)
- Diverticulosis (small, bulging pouches in the digestive tract)
- Diverticulitis (inflammation or infection in one or more small pouches in the digestive tract)
- Dysphasia (difficulty swallowing)
- Esophageal cancer
- Fecal incontinence
- Gallbladder cancer
- Gallstones (hardened deposit within the fluid in the gallbladder)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying)
- Hemochromatosis (excess iron)
- Hepatitis C
- Hirschsprung’s disease (condition causing difficulty in passing stool)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Liver cancer
- Liver disease
- Pancreatic cancer
- Peptic ulcer (sore on the lining of the esophagus, stomach or small intestine)
- Porphyria (disorder resulting red blood cell protein chemical buildup)
- Rectal cancer
- Small intestine cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Ulcerative colitis (digestive tract inflammation)
Advanced technology for diagnosing GI conditions
We use the most advanced gastrointestinal diagnostic procedures. We offer colonoscopy screenings and a high-tech internal imaging capsule, known as the PillCam®, which allows surgeons to capture images from within the digestive tract when swallowed. This kind of technology enables more effective treatment for a range of disorders, including: chronic constipation, colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, gallstones, reflux, hepatitis, IBS, pancreatitis and ulcerative colitis.
At TMCA, we provide expert, compassionate care for cancers of the GI tract. We offer a community hospital cancer care program that has been approved by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. This designation recognizes our commitment to offering advanced diagnostics and treatment options while providing personalized care.
Acid reflux and GERD
At TMCA, our doctors provide expert treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a digestive disorder that occurs when contents of the stomach reflux into the esophagus and cause problems, such as chest pain, heartburn or regurgitation.
GERD is caused by a progressive failure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach. The muscle is supposed to relax to let food into the stomach after a swallow and then close to prevent any stomach contents from refluxing back into the lower esophagus. In patients with GERD, the LES starts to fails, allowing acid into the lower esophagus.
Symptoms of GERD
In addition to heartburn, some GERD patients also experience excessive throat clearing, hoarseness, burping, chronic cough or asthma.
If left untreated, long-term symptoms and complications of GERD can include inflammation, bleeding and scarring of the esophagus, esophageal stricture, dental problems, asthma attacks, Barrett’s Esophagus and, in a very small percentage of patients, esophageal cancer. We’re dedicated to moving quickly to diagnose and treat GERD before more serious conditions can develop.
GERD treatment options
Your primary care physician or gastroenterologist may first recommend treating GERD with lifestyle changes, including losing weight, not overeating, quitting smoking and waiting a few hours after eating to lie down or go to bed. Another way to lessen or prevent GERD is to avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol and to not eat citrus fruits, chocolate, fried or spicy foods.
If lifestyle changes are ineffective in treating GERD, your physicians may recommend or prescribe medications, which can include over-the-counter antacids or prescription H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. These medications do not stop the reflux from happening, but they can help manage the symptoms. Our physicians work with each patient to identify and prescribe the best medication and dose for your specific symptoms.
If lifestyle and medication interventions are not successful in reducing or eliminating your symptoms, or if you don’t want to be on long-term medication, a surgical option may be right for you. The most common surgical treatments include:
- Hiatal hernia repair
- Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, generally a partial or full fundoplication
- LINX® reflux management procedure
Depending on the type of surgery performed to treat GERD, it may take a couple days to a few weeks before a patient can return to his or her normal routine. Our doctors will be by your side during recovery to help ensure a good outcome after your procedure.
Minimally invasive GERD surgery
TMCA is among the first facilities in Denver to offer the cutting-edge LINX® procedure for management and relief of acid reflux symptoms. A small, quarter-sized device is implanted laparoscopically around the lower esophagus, which allows the LINX® device to perform the role of the LES to prevent stomach acid from entering the esophagus and causing heartburn.
The LINX® procedure has proven successful in treating GERD:
- 85 percent of patients were free from dependence on daily reflux medication
- 88 percent of patients reported that bothersome heartburn had been eliminated
- 99 percent of patients eliminated bothersome regurgitation
- Patients reported significant improvement in gas and bloating
While each patient is different, patients experience significantly shorter recovery times after the LINX® procedure when compared to traditional endoscopic or laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery.