Center for Esophageal Diseases
The Center for Esophageal Diseases at the University of Chicago Medicine is one of the few centers in the United States solely dedicated to diagnosing and treating disorders of the esophagus. Our physicians have the focused expertise and depth of experience to offer patients options, resources and a level of experience and innovation that are available at only a handful of leading medical centers in the world.
Our approach to care is both personalized and multidisciplinary. Our team of gastroenterologists works hand-in-hand with our surgeons to coordinate all aspects of care from diagnosis to offering the most innovative and state-of-the art treatment for even the most complex disorders. As a result, our outcomes are considered a model for outstanding patient care.
At the Center for Esophageal Diseases, we emphasize the use of the least invasive treatment methods. Many patients with precancerous conditions can be successfully treated using non-surgical, endoscopic techniques. For patients that require surgery, our expert surgical team can typically perform the procedure through very small incisions, rather than traditional open techniques that require large abdominal and chest incisions.
The University of Chicago Medicine is a specialty center for the diagnosis and management of a wide range of esophageal disorders, including:
- Acid reflux (GERD or heartburn)
- Esophageal cancer
- Eosinophilic esophagitis
- Swallowing disorders (including achalasia and esophageal motility disorders, strictures of the esophagus, and other disorders of swallowing)
- Benign tumors of the esophagus
- Barrett’s esophagus (an abnormal lining of the esophagus that is related to cancer development in some people)
- Hiatal hernia (including complications after prior repairs)
World-Class Experts in Esophageal Care
A multidisciplinary team approach means that patients benefit from the combined expertise of physicians who have the knowledge, perspective and experience to address all aspects of esophageal disease.
Our team includes several physicians who are among the most experienced in their particular areas of esophageal care. The Center's Director, Robert Kavitt, MD, MPH, is a gastroenterologist with expertise and specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of esophageal disorders. He is a specialist in the evaluation and management of patients with GERD, eosinophilic esophagitis, esophageal motility disorders including achalasia, and Barrett's esophagus. He has a particular interest in the evaluation of patients with difficulty swallowing and in the management of patients with esophageal strictures. Dr. Kavitt has published several journal articles and book chapters on esophageal disorders and has presented his research at scientific meetings.
John Alverdy, MD, Vivek Prachand, MD, and Mustafa Hussain, MD, are leading surgeons who perform a wide variety of complex minimally invasive and open surgical procedures for the treatment of esophageal and other gastrointestinal disorders. These physicians are nationally recognized for their application of minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of achalasia, antireflux surgery, hiatal hernia repair, treatment of tumors of the esophagus, as well as the surgical management of a wide range of disorders.
Thoracic surgeon Mark Ferguson, MD, is nationally known for his skill in minimally invasive surgical procedures for esophageal and lung conditions, and has authored several prominent books on thoracic surgery techniques. Mitchell Posner, MD, is a leading surgical oncologist who is actively researching the use of novel therapies combined with surgery for treating esophageal and other gastrointestinal cancers. Both Drs. Ferguson and Posner are regularly included on several "best doctors" lists.
Our leading interventional gastrointestinal endoscopist, Irving Waxman, MD, was one of the first physicians in the U.S. to perform minimally invasive endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) to remove precancerous tissue from the esophagus and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. He heads a world-class interventional endoscopy team that has extensive experience with other endoscopic treatment modalities, including radiofrequency ablation. «Learn more about our expert team.
Minimally Invasive Esophageal Surgery
The University of Chicago Medicine has experts who specialize in minimally invasive surgery for esophageal problems. Our surgeons take a multidisciplinary approach to the management of all esophageal conditions, and work closely with other esophageal care experts as part of the Center for Esophageal Diseases. For example, since 2006, thoracic surgeon Mark K. Ferguson, MD, and gastrointestinal surgeon Vivek N. Prachand, MD, have merged their expertise in minimally-invasive surgery to perform combined laparoscopic/thoracoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer, avoiding the pain and risk of wound complications associated with the traditional large abdominal and chest incisions used for these procedures.
The Center for Care and Discovery
Our newly constructed state-of-the art hospital and medical center is equipped with the latest technology for the management of gastrointestinal disorders. These include confocal laser endomicroscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, high-resolution esophageal manometry, pH and impedance testing, laser ablation therapies, endoscopic mucosal resection, and robotic surgery. The University of Chicago Medicine is among the nation’s most prestigious teaching hospitals. Innovative advances in diagnosis and technique are not only developed here, but are also disseminated across the nation and the world in the form of formal teaching courses to physicians. The Center for Care and Discovery was specifically designed to provide the nation’s most advanced care, enabling us to recruit leaders in the field of esophageal disease.