Dr. IL Joon Paik is a neuro-gastroenterologist and motility specialist at University of Miami Health System. To find out more about UHealth’s GI Motility Lab, call 305-243-2910 or visit the UHealth news blog
For as long as he can remember, Howard Gitlow, 72, has suffered from debilitating heartburn. Myriad over-the-counter and prescription medications including diagnostic endoscopies never fixed the problem.
Finally, Howard came to UHealth for advanced diagnostic testing that revealed his condition was not acid reflux after all. “He underwent esophageal manometry that looks at the pressure of the esophagus, and we were able to diagnose dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter,” says Dr IL Joon Paik, the UHealth neuro-gastroenterologist and motility specialist who treated Howard.
Using advanced technologies, GI Motility specialists at UHealth can precisely identify the root causes of common conditions such as acid reflux and heartburn. “In terms of the technology, we’re able to pinpoint the problem and recommend a targeted treatment,” says Dr. Paik.
“Each patient is different. Some patients have esophageal sensitivity and they feel each acid reflux episode. Some patients will not feel problems in the esophagus like heartburn or regurgitation, but they feel irritation in their throat. Some patients will have chronic voice issues.”
Dr. Paik referred Howard for endoscopic surgery to repair his esophagus. “After we're able to provide the adequate treatment, many of our patients will have a dramatic change in lifestyle,” Dr. Paik says.
“It was actually life changing. For the first time in 20 years I could drink a beer,” says Howard. “To find Dr. Paik to me was like getting a new lease on life.”
With the expansion of UHealth’s GI Motility Program including an additional lab, new diagnostic tools and minimally invasive treatment procedures will now be available in Miami and Coral Gables at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center.
In addition, the UHealth GI Motility Lab will now provide transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF), a minimally-invasive endoscopic procedure used to fix small hiatal hernias that contribute to GERD symptoms. The outpatient procedure takes about an hour to complete, resulting in a faster recovery and fewer complications for patients.
UHealth GI motility providers are uniquely qualified to provide minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment for a range of conditions, says Dr. Paik. “We partner other UHealth surgeons, ENT and pulmonary doctors to provide a multidisciplinary approach.”
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