Gastroenterology

The Gastroenterology (GI) Program at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care is a collaboration between Massachusetts General Hospital and the North Shore Medical Center providing patients with expert GI care and leading-edge clinical trials close to home.

Overview

World-class Digestive Health Care at your Doorstep

The gastroenterology program at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care provides expert treatment and diagnostics for the full range of gastrointestinal conditions. Our specialty trained gastroenterologists diagnose and treat the full range of digestive and colorectal conditions, including colonoscopies and radiofrequency ablation, radiology and cancer care.

We provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for:

  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Celiac disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer care in collaboration with the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center
  • General gastroenterology
  • Hepatology (liver disease)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, including Remicade infusion
  • Pancreatic and biliary disease
  • Ulcer disease

Other services include:

  • Access to genetic testing for patients who are at high risk for colorectal cancer
  • Access to Mass General clinical trials
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Pre-transplant services
  • Screening, diagnostic and interventional colonoscopy
  • Upper and lower endoscopy with or without intervention

Allergic Inflammatory Disorders of the GI Tract

The Mass General Gut-2-Health program is available to patients at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care with allergic-inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Through this program, our doctors are studying how diet, lifestyle and environment can impact digestive health. Gastrointestinal specialists head individualized care teams that include allergists/immunologists, radiologists, nutritionists, geneticists and pathologists, all working closely together to develop and monitor your treatment plan.

Advancing Treatment Through Research

Patients have access to clinical trials of new treatments and therapies with the goal of exploring the causes of complex diseases, advancing science and improving patient care. Mass General offers one of New England’s largest clinical trial programs. Find a clinical trial

Our Doctors

  • Ashwin Ananthakrishan, MBBS, MPH

    978-882-6531

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Crohn's Disease, Gastroenterology, Ulcerative Colitis

  • Gregg Brodsky, MD

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Barrett's Esophagus, Gastroenterology/Endoscopy, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Irritable Bowel Disease, Liver Disease, Video Capsule Endoscopy

  • Francis Colizzo, MD

    978-882-6531

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Endoscopic Ultrasound

  • Khoa Do, MD

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Endocopic Ultrasound, Esophageal Disease, Gastroenterology/Interventional Endoscopy, Liver Disease, Pancreatic Disease, Video Capsule Endoscopy

  • David Forcione, MD

    978-882-6531

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Barrett's Esophagus, Hepatobiliary Disorders, Interventional Endoscopy, (ERCP/Endoscopic Ultrasound/Endoscopic Mucosal Resection), Pancreatic Disease

  • Manish Gala, MD

    617-724-6004

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Familial cancer syndromes

  • Ronald Hartfelder, MD

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: ERCP, Gastroenterology/Interventional Endoscopy, Liver Disease, Pancreatic Disease, Video Capsule Endoscopy

  • Nicholas Karamitsios, MD

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: ERCP, Esophageal Motility, Gastroenterology/Interventional Endoscopy, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Liver Disease, Pancreatic Disease

  • Hamed Khalili, MD, MPH

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Crohn's Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Microscopic (Lymphocytic and Collagenous) and Ulcerative Colitis

  • Jay Luther, MD

    617-724-6004

    Board Certification: Internal Medicine

  • Melissa Minor, MD, MPH

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Esophageal Motility, Gastroenterology/Endoscopy, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Video Capsule Endoscopy, Women's Gastrointestinal Issues

  • Albert Namias, MD

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Endoscopy/Colonoscopy, Gastroenterology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Video Capsule Endoscopy

  • Joshua Namias, MD

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: ERCP, Gastrointestinal Cancer, Gastroenterology/Interventional Endoscopy, Video Capsule Endoscopy

  • Jeffrey Oringer, MD

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Endoscopic Ultrasound, ERCP, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Gastroenterology/Interventional Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Hepatitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Pancreatic and Biliary Disease

  • Daniel Pratt, MD

    978-882-6531

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology
    Clinical interest or expertise: Autoimmune Hepatitis, Cholangiocarcinoma, Cirrhosis and Liver Transplantation, Hemochromatosis, Hepatocellular Cancer, LGG4 Associated Cholangitis, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Viral Hepatitis, Wilsons Disease

  • Laura Rosenberg, MD

    978-882-6777

    Board Certification: Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology
    Clinical interest or expertise: Barrett's Esophagus, Celiac Disease,Gastroenterology/Endoscopy, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Video Capsule Endoscopy

  • Esperance Schaefer, MD, MPH

    617-724-6006

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Abnormal Liver Function Tests, Autoimmune Hepatitis, Chronic Liver Disese, Cirrhosis, EGD and colonoscopy, General Gastroenterology, Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Viral Hepatitis

  • Michael Thiim, MD

    978-882-6531

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Hepatitis, Liver Failure, Liver Transplantation

  • Vijay Yajnik, MD, PhD

    978-882-6531

    Board Certification: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
    Clinical interest or expertise: Gastrointestinal Cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Appointments & Referrals

Patients may be referred to the gastroenterology program at Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care for a variety of services or at any point in the care process. Second opinions are also available to help evaluate the best course of treatment.

GI Associates (Boston/Danvers)

978-882-6531
Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, MBBS, MPH
Francis Colizzo, MD
David Forcione, MD
Hamed Khalili, MD
Manish Gala, MD
Jay Luther, MD
Daniel Pratt, MD
Esperance Schaefer, MD, MPH
Michael Thiim, MD
Vijay Yajnik, MD, PhD

North Shore Physicians Group-Gastroenterology (Salem/Danvers)

The North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) is NSMC's multi-specialty practice.
978-882-6777
Gregg Brodsky, MD
Khoa Do, MD
Ronald Hartfelder, MD
Nicholas Karamitsios, MD
Melissa Minor, MD, MPH
Albert Namias, MD
Joshua Namias, MD
Jeffrey Oringer, MD
Laura Rosenberg, MD
Kathleen Corrigan, NP

Please have the following information available when you call to schedule an appointment:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Insurance information
  • Emergency contact information

The Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care is open from 7:00 am7:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Emergency or overnight medical care is not available at this facility.

Refer a Patient

To refer a patient, please call a doctor directly using the numbers above.

Comprehensive Care

Gastroenterology experts at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care diagnose and treat the full range of gastrointestinal conditions including gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), liver disease, Barrett’s esophagus, celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) including Crohn’s and colitis.

Comprehensive Gastrointestinal Care in One Convenient Location

At the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care, we provide patients with expert gastroenterology care close to home. Our specialty trained gastroenterologists diagnose and treat the full range of digestive and colorectal conditions.

Our gastrointestinal services include treatments for:

  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Celiac disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • General gastroenterology conditions
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, including Remicade infusion
  • Liver disease, including pre-evaluation for liver transplant
  • Pancreatic and biliary conditions
  • Ulcer disease

We offer the full range of endoscopic diagnostic procedures critical for obtaining a tissue diagnosis and differentiating gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), microscopic colitis (lymphocytic and collagenous), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and eosinophilic and autoimmune enteritis.

Expert Care for IBD

As part of our multidisciplinary approach to IBD management, our patients receive personalized care from an integrated team of gastroenterologists, radiologists, surgeons, nutritionists and other specialists with extensive experience in treating IBD. Our IBD diagnosis and treatment options include new therapies, imaging protocols and minimally invasive surgical techniques all designed to maximize patient comfort, preserve healthy bowel and minimize flare-ups. Patients requiring ongoing treatments for Crohn’s and colitis, including colonoscopy and Remicade infusion, can receive these services at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care. We also offer access to state-of- the-art clinical trials and disease registries through the Mass General Center for Experimental Therapies in IBD.

Celiac Disease Program

Our GI specialists offer expert diagnosis and treatment for patients with celiac disease and all gluten-mediated disorders. We offer the full range of endoscopic diagnostic procedures critical for obtaining a tissue diagnosis and differentiating celiac disease from other disorders. Our multidisciplinary team of gastroenterologists, pathologists, radiologists, food allergy specialists and nutritionists work together with the patient to create an individualized treatment plan for celiac disease and for long-term follow-up care. We are committed to helping patients understand their disease, assess treatment options, participate fully in treatment decisions and access advocacy and support groups.

Leading-edge Treatments for Barrett’s Esophagus

We provide comprehensive diagnosis and innovative, minimally invasive treatments for Barrett’s esophagus, a painful condition that changes the lining of the esophagus in response to chronic exposure to harmful acids from the stomach, most notably reflux of acid and bile. Our team includes gastroenterologists, surgeons, pathologists and nurses with longstanding expertise in medical, endoscopic and surgical management of Barrett’s esophagus, including the BARRX treatment procedure. Each patient’s care team recommends a personalized treatment option based on each individual’s condition. Many people with Barrett’s esophagus also have chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). All treatment plans optimize medical management of GERD with antacid oral medications and lifestyle modifications. We also offer patients access to the Barrett’s esophagus Patient Registry to enhance treatment and prevention of Barrett’s esophagus by improving our understanding of the disease’s cause and progression.

Liver Disease

Our GI specialists diagnose and treat the full range of liver diseases including viral hepatitis, cholestatic and autoimmune liver disease, fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer. Using the latest technology and leading-edge interventions, we provide patients with timely diagnosis followed by individualized and ongoing care. Patients referred to the Advanced Liver Disease Clinic of the Mass General Liver Center can begin the pre-transplant evaluation process at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care including evaluation to determine eligibility for transplantation at the Mass General Liver Transplant Program. Patients with fatty liver disease have access to care coordinated with the Mass General Weight Center and North Shore Medical Center, including nutritional counseling, weight loss medication and exercise programs. We offer access to clinical trials for new therapeutic drugs and treatments and the Liver Disease Tissue Repository to advance research and treatment options.

Expert Pancreatic and Biliary Treatment

Our team provides patients advanced imaging diagnostics and treatments, as well as surgical options for benign, premalignant and malignant pancreatic and biliary conditions. Our surgeons work closely with experts at the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center for patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The GI program at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care provides expert diagnosis, cutting-edge medical and surgical interventions and ongoing care for esophagus and motility disorders. Our board-certified digestive health specialists work together to help patients diminish episodes of discomfort through expert diagnosis and treatment options, including a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, endoscopic therapies and, when appropriate, surgical procedures, including new leading-edge, less invasive options.

Contact

Gastroenterology

102-104 Endicott Street
Danvers, MA 01923

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Contact a doctor

Colon Cancer

At the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care, we are dedicated to early detection and diagnosis of the full range of gastrointestinal conditions including gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) including Crohn’s and colitis, liver disease, Barrett’s esophagus, celiac disease and colorectal cancer.

Specialized Treatment & Advanced Diagnostics

Our diagnostic team provides expert analysis of test findings for all diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Available screenings include:

  • Screening, diagnostic colonoscopy, CT colonography
  • Upper endoscopy with or without a biopsy, including screening for:
    • Barrett’s esophagus, including BARRX treatment procedure
    • Gastroesophageal reflux
    • Ulcer disease
  • Lower endoscopy with or without a biopsy
  • Genetic testing for patients who are at high risk for colorectal cancer

Who should get a screening?

Because age is the most common risk factor for colorectal cancer, everyone over age 50 should get screened. Patients with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer should talk to their doctors about getting screened before age 50. Most people should be screened every 7 to 10 years; however, those with additional risk factors should be screened every 5 years.

Will insurance cover colon cancer screening?

Many insurance plans and Medicare help pay for most colorectal cancer screening tests. Many insurance companies do not cover virtual colonoscopies, so check with your insurance provider to find out which tests are covered for you. To find out about Medicare coverage, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit www.medicare.gov.

Colonoscopy – The Primary Screening Test

A colonoscopy is considered the primary and most effective technique to screen patients age 50 to 75 for colorectal cancer. If you are older than 75, ask your doctor about screening. A colonoscopy is a safe, private and usually painless procedure that takes about 30 minutes to complete.

During the procedure a digestive health specialist uses a colonoscope to see the entire colon. If a polyp is found, the doctor may remove it. If anything else looks abnormal, a biopsy may be performed at the same time. During the procedure, a physician takes a small piece of tissue out through the colonoscope. The tissue is sent to the lab to see if cancer cells are present. A colonoscopy may be done in a hospital outpatient department, in a clinic, or in a doctor's office.

Preparing for a colonoscopy

For a colonoscopy to be effective the colon and rectum must be empty and clean. The day before the test, you will take medication to clean out your colon and may be prescribed an enema for the morning of the procedure. Your doctor will give you instructions to help you prepare for your colonoscopy. Read the instructions carefully a few days before your colonoscopy, since you may need to shop for special supplies and get laxatives from your pharmacist. If you have any questions, call your doctor's office to review step-by-step instructions.

Many patients find the bowel preparation to be the most unpleasant part of the test, as you will experience several loose bowel movements, and will spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom. You may be given other instructions, too, such as foods to avoid before the test.

Be sure your doctor is aware of any medications you are taking, as you may need to change how you take them before the test.

During the test

The colonoscopy itself usually takes about 30 minutes, but it may take longer if a polyp is found and removed. Before the test begins, you will be given medication through an IV to make you feel comfortable and sleepy. You may be awake, but you will not be aware of what is going on and may not remember the test afterward. Most people will be fully awake by the time they get home from the test.

If a small polyp is found, the doctor may remove it. If your doctor sees a larger polyp or tumor or anything else of concern, a biopsy may be performed at the same time. During a biopsy, your doctor takes a small piece of tissue out through the colonoscope. The tissue is looked at under a microscope to see whether it is a cancerous growth, a benign (non-cancerous) growth or a result of inflammation.

After the colonoscopy

You should plan to have someone drive you home, as the medication used can affect your ability to drive. Some people may experience pains or cramping after the test, but most feel fine once the sedation and laxatives wear off completely.

View additional screening options

Other Screening Options

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A sigmoidoscope is a thin, flexible, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. It is placed into the lower part of the colon through the rectum. This allows the doctor to look at the inside of the rectum and part of the colon for cancer or polyps. Because the tube is only about two feet long, the doctor is only able to see about half of the colon. The test can be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. Be sure your doctor is aware of any medications you are taking, as you may need to change how you take them before the test.

Before the test, you will need to take medication to clean out your colon and rectum. This is so the doctor can clearly see the lining of the intestine. If a small polyp is found your doctor may remove it during this test. This can be done with tools used through the scope. If a polyp or colorectal cancer is found during the test, you will need to have a colonoscopy to look for polyps or cancer in the rest of the colon.

A sigmoidoscopy usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. Most people do not need to be sedated for this test, but this may be an option you can discuss with your doctor. If you are sedated, you will need some time to recover, as well as someone with you to take you home after the test.

Virtual colonoscopy (also called CT colonography) involves using special computer programs to create both two-dimensional X-ray pictures and a three-dimensional "fly-through" view of the inside of the colon and rectum, which allows the doctor to look for polyps or cancer. The CT scanner takes many pictures as it rotates around you while you lie on a table. A computer then combines these pictures into images of the colon and rectum.

This test may be useful for some people who cannot have or do not want to have tests where a tube or scope is inserted into the colon or rectum. It can be done fairly quickly and no sedation is necessary. But patients still need to do the same type of bowel preparation. If polyps or other problems are seen on this test, a follow-up colonoscopy will likely be needed to remove them or to get a better look at them.

The cost of virtual colonoscopy is not generally covered by insurance plans but patients should check with their individual plans to be sure.

Fecal Occult Blood Test

The fecal occult blood test is a test for blood in a sample of stool (feces) that has already passed. Blood in your feces may be the result of bleeding from a cancerous polyp in the colon or rectum or it may be a symptom of a benign condition. Checking for hidden (occult) blood in the stool can be done at home. You can buy a test kit at a pharmacy without a prescription, or your doctor can provide or order a test kit for you to use at home. If a home fecal occult blood test finds blood in your stool, call your doctor.

Double-contrast Barium Enema (DCBE)

A double-contrast barium enema involves the injection of a fluid called barium followed by air into the rectum. This makes the entire colon visible on an X-ray and allows doctors to see abnormal growths, like polyps. If your doctor sees something suspicious during a DCBE, he or she may order a follow-up colon cancer screening test such as a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy.

You prepare for a DCBE the same way you would prepare for a colonoscopy, taking laxatives the day before your test that ensure that your colon and rectum are empty and clean for the procedure.

The test takes about 30 to 45 minutes. You will lie on a table and your doctor will use a small tube inserted into your rectum to partially fill your colon with barium sulfate. Barium sulfate is a white, chalky liquid that helps the doctor see the outline of your colon on an X-ray. After the barium is placed into your colon, your doctor will add air to improve the view on the X-ray and help detect abnormal growths.

Your doctor will take X-rays from several different angles to see your whole colon. Your doctor may ask you to move around on the table and turn over to help spread the barium sulfate through your colon and provide additional views. You will not be sedated for the DCBE test. If you are worried about this, talk to your doctor about other tests that may work better for you and during which you can be sedated.

Colorectal Surgery

Gastrointestinal surgeons at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care offer a full range of outpatient surgical services for patients with diseases of the colon, rectum and anus – many using minimally invasive surgical techniques. If necessary, additional treatment, diagnostic testing and inpatient procedures can be provided at Massachusetts General Hospital or North Shore Medical Center.

Minimally invasive treatment options

Whenever possible, individualized patient care plans include minimally invasive treatment options, which mean faster recovery times, smaller surgical incisions and reduced risk. Our surgeons work closely with experts at the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center for patients who are diagnosed with colon cancer.

Cancer Care

At the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center, our gastrointestinal oncologists work together with a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, nurses and social workers to offer patients the latest advances in gastrointestinal cancer care. Individualized care plans provide patients access to an extensive array of treatment regimens tailored to specific tumor mutations.

Multidisciplinary Approach

Our oncology experts offer a multidisciplinary approach to gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer care using the most advanced technology and latest research available. Through our gastrointestinal clinic at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care, patients are seen by oncology specialists in one convenient visit, followed by a multidisciplinary review with gastrointestinal surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists. Genetic testing, counseling and clinical trials through the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center are also available to our patients.

Patient Support

At the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center, we believe that cancer care is about more than just treating disease. If a patient is diagnosed with gastrointestinal or colorectal cancer, we provide holistic care through a full range of wellness and support programs. We support the whole patient, as well as his or her family members and other caregivers, by providing services to help cope with all the effects of cancer and treatment. Learn more about our cancer support services.

Cancer Support & Wellness

At the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care, we believe that cancer care is about more than just treating disease. Our services are designed to support the whole patient, as well as their family members and other caregivers.

Treatment and Support in One Convenient Location

If a patient is diagnosed with gastrointestinal or colorectal cancer, we provide holistic care through a full range of wellness and support programs. Genetic testing, counseling and clinical trials are also available to our patients.

Our support and wellness services include:

  • Support groups for both newly-diagnosed and long-term cancer patients, educational sessions and access to specially trained oncology social workers
  • The Images Boutique, offering wigs and other products specially selected for our patients, and a stylist to help patients feel and look their best
  • The Cancer Resource Room with internet access, resource materials, books and journals
  • Nutritional consultations tailored to the unique needs of patients with cancer
  • Family support for patients with cancer, including those with young children
  • Complementary therapies provided by the HOPES Program and the NSMC Wellness and Integrative Medicine program, including acupuncture, reiki and massage therapy. Therapies are provided at no cost or for a reduced fee for Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center patients

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