The field of interventional endoscopy has grown dramatically in recent years, with endoscopy becoming the procedure of choice for diagnosing and treating a wide variety of gastrointestinal conditions that were once the domain of surgery. That expansion is reflected in the growth of the interventional endoscopy service with the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases.
In 2011, the UCLA interventional endoscopy team consisted of a single physician doing advanced endoscopy procedures. Today, the team includes four faculty members, along with advanced fellows, research analysts, and contributions from numerous GI fellows, residents and medical students. "We have experienced enourmous growth," says Dr. V. Raman Muthusamy, who has built the team since being recruited to serve as director of endoscopy in 2011.
Endoscopic techniques offer advantages over surgery that include fewer complications, faster recovery times, the ability to combine and tailor diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to patients' needs, and the fact that the interventional can be reversible. Dr. Muthusamy notes that the UCLA team covers a wide range of services involving diagnostic and treatment of gastric, esophageal, colonic, and pancreaticobiliary disorders. And, while the most commonly performed procedures include endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and endoscopic resection techniques for removing cancerous and precancerous lesions, the UCLA interventional endoscopy team is moving into a number of new areas.