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Patient Story
Dick Smothers

Dick Smothers

Comedy legend Dick Smothers remembers having acid reflux as far back as the late 1960s while working on the hit TV show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. A couple of years ago, a trip to the gastroenterologist revealed he had a condition called Barrett's esophagus, a change in the organ's lining that can lead to cancer. Now that he and his doctor, Sarasota Memorial gastroenterologist Scott Corbett, MD, have successfully treated the condition with radiofrequency ablation, or RFA, Smothers says of his life: "I'm going to treat it like it's a golden gift."

The Gastroenterology/Endoscopy Department at Sarasota Memorial specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal and digestive disorders.

Our physician specialists are among the most experienced and highly skilled in their discipline, bringing the latest research and endoscopic techniques to people experiencing stomach pain, ulcers, cancer, heartburn, hemorrhoids and gallstones, among other conditions.

Sarasota Memorial’s board-certified gastroenterologists and endoscopists use the most advanced technology and minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat all digestive disorders - from common heartburn to complex organ failure. With the highest volumes and best outcomes in the region, Sarasota Memorial serves as a regional referral center for most procedures related to digestive health care.

Sarasota Memorial offers a full range of medical treatments for digestive diseases, including illness or injuries affecting the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and colon.

Early diagnosis & staging of gastrointestinal and lung disease
Sarasota Memorial physicians use endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) to examine the lining and walls of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and nearby organs such as the gall bladder, liver and pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

Endoscopic ultrasound involves passing a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) through a patient's mouth or anus to assess surrounding tissue and the size and position of abnormal nodules. When indicated, EUS can also guide fine-needle biopsy of lymph nodes and tumors and other treatments, offering a safe, minimally invasive alternative to surgery.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
Sarasota Memorial’s gastroenterologists specialize in the use of ERCP to assess and treat problems in the bile ducts and gall bladder. ERCP is a combination of endoscopic and X-ray imaging that helps physicians assess the biliary tract; it usually is performed when obstruction of cystic, bile or pancreatic duct is suspected.

During ERCP, a gastroscope – a flexible viewing tube - is passed through the mouth toward the duodenum. An X-ray image is performed to check for blockage, usually caused by gallstones, scars, inflammation, or cancer). Small stones can be removed or a stent inserted to open the affected duct. When indicated, ERCP can also be used to biopsy tissue when cancer is suspected.

Radiofrequency ablation for GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus
Sarasota Memorial is one of the leading centers nationwide using radiofrequency ablation to treat damage and precancerous Barrett’s esophagus caused by chronic heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Indeed, in one of the largest studies published in the world, Sarasota Memorial gastroenterologists joined those from hospitals in Chicago, Atlanta and Nashville demonstrated the importance of early treatment of Barrett's with radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive therapy that uses energy to burn off precancerous cells lining the esophagus. The study of 429 patients with Barretts showed that RF ablation successfully treated precancerous spots in more than 90 percent of patients. The outcomes were similar or better than those achieved in smaller studies previously conducted only at academic institutions or teaching hospitals.

Learn more about RF ablation and Barrett’s esophagus.

 

Conditions we specialize in include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Autoimmune disorders of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Celiac disease
  • Liver disease, Hepatitis, Cirrhosis, Liver cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Colon cancer and colon polyps
  • Pancreatitis, Pancreatic cysts, Pancreatic caner
  • Biliary stones, strictures, and tumors
  • Motility disorders
  • Hereditary GI cancer syndromes
  • Rectal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Bleeding of the GI Tract
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Hemorrhoids

National Recognized for Quality & Safety
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) recently awarded Sarasota Memorial’s Endoscopy Department a certificate of recognition for promoting quality in endoscopy. Since 2008, the ASGE has honored endoscopy units that follow the ASGE guidelines on privileging, quality assurance, endoscopy reprocessing and CDC infection control guidelines.

Information
For information about our gastroenterology services or a referral to one of our physician specialists, call (941) 917-7777 or browse or online physician directory.

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