Gastrointestinal (GI) specialists in Denver
HealthONE hospitals are equipped and staffed to provide relief for conditions of the entire GI system.(This refers to problems in the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines and anus.)Your GI care will include diagnosis and treatment with some of the most advanced procedures and technology—all intended to make your experience as positive as possible.
For more information about GI and digestive system services at HealthONE's family of hospitals, call (303) 575-0055.
Digestive system conditions and diseases
We offer advanced surgeries as well as a wide range of nonsurgical treatments for many GI conditions, disorders and diseases.
Some of the most common GI issues we treat include:
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux, and heartburn
- Barrett's esophagus
- Bowel (intestine) obstructions
- Celiac disease
- Colon polyps
- Crohn’s disease
- Dysphasia (trouble swallowing)
- Fecal incontinence
- Gallbladder disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- GI bleeding
- GI cancer
- Hemochromatosis (iron overload)
- Hepatitis, including hepatitis C
- Hirschsprung’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Lactose intolerance
- Liver cirrhosis (hepatic cirrhosis)
- Liver disease
- Pediatric GI problems
- Stomach pain
- Ulcerative colitis
- Ulcers and peptic ulcers
Advanced technology for diagnosing GI conditions
Our GI diagnostic imaging and tests use innovative technologies that make your experience easier and diagnosis more accurate. For example, we offer flexible-tube colonoscopies and high-tech internal imaging capsules that allow surgeons to capture images from within the digestive tract when swallowed. These technologies enable more accurate diagnoses, which let us more effectively treat your condition.
GI tests and procedures
Some of our common tests include:
- 24-hour pH—evaluates acid reflux
- 24-hour pH plus impedance—measures acid and nonacid reflux and bolus transit
- Anal rectal ultrasound—evaluates anal sphincter muscles
- Anorectal testing—evaluates rectal function
- Biliary drainage—drains bile from blocked bile ducts
- Biofeedback—retrains pelvic floor muscles for fecal and urinary problems
- Breath testing—evaluates bacterial overgrowth, fructose and lactose intolerance
- Capsule endoscopy—evaluates the small bowel
- Colonoscopy—views inside the rectum and colon
- Dilatation (esophageal, pyloric/gastric and biliary)—slightly opens certain structures of the body for viewing and treatment
- Endoscopic ultrasonography—examines the lining and walls of GI structures
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)—examines and treats biliary and pancreatic ducts
- Esophageal manometry—evaluates esophageal motility (movement)
- Esophagogastroduodenoscopy—examines the upper GI tract
- GI bleeding scans—determines the frequency, location and extent of bleeding that may be occurring in the GI tract
- Laparoscopy—enables diagnosis and treatment through tiny openings in the abdomen
- Lower GI series—views the lower GI tract
- Paracentesis—body fluid sampling to remove fluid or gas from a cavity of the body for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes
- Polypectomy (both upper and lower)—removes polyps
- Pudendal nerve test—evaluates pudendal nerve function
- Sigmoidoscopy—views inside the colon and sigmoid colon
- Small bowel enteroscopy—views and enables treatment inside the small bowel
- Sponge myography—evaluates puborectalis muscle
- Upper GI series—views the upper GI tract using X-rays
- Variceal sclerosis and banding—prevents and treats variceal bleeding
- Virtual colonoscopy—examines the colon with low dose computed tomography (CT)
Colon cancer screening (colonoscopy)
Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the U.S., but it is one of the most preventable. A colonoscopy, the most commonly performed GI procedure, is used to detect colon cancer and other diseases at the earliest and most treatable stages.
Acid reflux treatments
Thousands of Americans suffer from some form of reflux. It may result in a variety of symptoms, including:
- Chronic cough
- Sour, acidic taste in the mouth
- Voice changes
Untreated, it can also cause damage to the lining of your esophagus, resulting in a secondary condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. This predisposes you to esophageal cancer.
Over-the-counter reflux medications can help alleviate some of the symptoms but will not solve the underlying problem. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are key to minimizing your risk of developing other, more serious conditions.
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 fail, 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. It can also lead to esophageal stricture, dental problems, asthma attacks, Barrett’s Esophagus and, in a very small percentage of patients, esophageal cancer.
Nonsurgical treatments for GERD
Your primary care physician or gastroenterologist may first recommend treating GERD with lifestyle changes. These include losing weight—for which they may recommend bariatric surgery—or quitting smoking—for which they may recommend a smoking cessation program.
If lifestyle changes are ineffective in treating GERD, your physicians may recommend or prescribe medications, such as over-the-counter antacids or prescription H2-blockers and proton pump inhibitors. These medications do not stop reflux from happening, but they can help manage the symptoms.
If lifestyle and medication interventions are not successful in reducing or eliminating your symptoms, a surgical option may be right for you.
Surgical procedures used to correct GERD
Our surgeons use the least invasive procedure possible to reduce your risks and improve your recovery time. Some of the surgeries we use to treat GERD include:
- Hiatal hernia repair
- Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication
- Magnetic sphincter augmentation
- Transoral incisionless fundoplication using transoral reconstructive surgery
Hiatal hernia repair surgery
A hiatal hernia is a condition in which the upper part of the stomach moves up through a small opening in the diaphragm into the chest. Oftentimes, patients with hiatal hernias have no symptoms and a diagnosis is made while looking into other illnesses, such as GERD.
Hiatal hernia repair surgery can often be performed with a minimally invasive approach. When a hiatal hernia is associated with GERD, the repair procedure is done during GERD surgery.
Incisionless GERD surgery
Minimally invasive, incisionless acid reflux surgery (transoral reconstructive surgery) permanently corrects the anatomical cause of chronic acid reflux (GERD). Along with the benefits typically associated with other minimally invasive surgeries, this surgery eliminates heartburn in more than 85 percent of patients. By accessing the patient’s digestive system through their mouth, surgeons can reconstruct a durable anti-reflux valve and tighten the lower esophageal sphincter.