Our digestive disorders and diseases experts are national and international leaders in gastrointestinal disease treatment.
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Why choose UCLA Health for gastroenterology and hepatology?
Since its inception in 1953, the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases has been recognized as one of the world’s foremost clinical and research institutions.
We provide care for both common and rare digestive system diseases and conditions. When you choose our team, you benefit from:
- Multidisciplinary approach: Our skilled practitioners use a multidisciplinary approach to develop customized care plans that best fit individualized patient needs. We also provide a variety of programs that offer specialized, niche care.
- Holistic care: Beyond our medical expertise, we provide patients with a holistic approach by collaborating with GI dietitians, integrative health nurse practitioners and GI health psychologists.
- Access to clinical trials and research: We have the resources of a major medical center and teaching hospital behind us. Scientists in research laboratories work closely with our physicians to bring new and improved diagnostics, treatments and prevention strategies to you.
- Training and teaching: We train the future leaders in academic and clinical gastroenterology and hepatology. UCLA is among the largest GI fellowship programs in the country and has trained many of the top clinical and research gastroenterologists across the globe.
Our areas of care
We offer gastrointestinal disease services in the Melvin and Bren Simon Digestive Disease Center at UCLA Health. We offer a range of programs that address digestive problems and GI nutritional concerns, including:
Celiac Disease Program: Our experts provide accurate diagnosis and medical management including individualized nutrition and wellness plans to optimize your health and quality of life. We use a team approach to care for patients with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. We work closely with subspecialists such as dermatology, endocrinology, neurology and rheumatology to address conditions that are associated with celiac disease.
Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD): At the UCLA Health Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, we understand that IBD, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, can cause significant, unpredictable disruptions to your life. We use a comprehensive treatment approach with medications, diet changes and stress management and collaborate with colorectal surgeons, hepatologists, registered dietitians and more.
Center for Obesity and METabolic Health (COMET): COMET is one of the few centers in the United States where we actively research how to conquer the obesity epidemic. Our goal is to better understand obesity and metabolic syndrome, as well as find new treatment approaches. Our experts offer comprehensive surgical and non-surgical treatments including medical weight loss, education, counseling, bariatric surgery and endoscopic treatments for obesity.
Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) Clinic: FMF is a genetic disorder characterized by sporadic bouts of fever and severe pain associated with inflammation of all the linings and surfaces of the body. The FMF Clinic was founded in the early 1960s and its multidisciplinary team of specialists include gastroenterologists, medical geneticists, rheumatologists, neurologists and immunologists and has been a national and international resource as the only program of its kind in the United States.
General gastroenterology: Millions suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms. Through the Melvin and Bren Simon Digestive Diseases Center at UCLA, our board-certified, highly trained experts use proven clinical data, advanced technology and minimally invasive procedures to offer expert evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.
GI Motility Program: Motility disorders can affect any part of the GI tract, making it difficult for food to move through the body. Symptoms of these disorders include difficulty swallowing or a feeling of food being stuck in the throat or chest. They can also cause nausea, vomiting, cramping, constipation and diarrhea. We offer a variety of treatments and therapies including medications, biofeedback, nutritional guidance, relaxation techniques, minimally invasive endoscopic procedures and surgery.
GI Nutrition Program: Food is more than just fuel. It is also about enjoyment, social connection and culture. When you receive a digestive disorder diagnosis, you may feel anxious or worried about limited food options. Our specialized GI dietitians will create personalized diet and supplement recommendations based on your symptoms and diagnosis. Our team also understands the role environmental factors, emotions, sleep and stress play on digestive well-being and take a holistic approach that encourages better symptom management by incorporating lifestyle strategies into your nutrition care plan.
Hepatology Program: Our hepatology and transplant hepatology specialists care for adults with a wide spectrum of liver disease and are an essential part of the Pfleger Liver Institute and Asian Liver Center. We collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to diagnose and treat common and rare liver disorders. Our expert team utilizes a customized care plan that may include diet and lifestyle support, medications, minimally invasive techniques, liver transplant or surgery.
IBS and other disorders of the gut-brain interaction: We are recognized as leaders across the nation in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gut-brain interaction. In addition to the latest clinical treatments, we collaborate with the Integrative Digestive Health and Wellness Program to provide nutritional guidance, behavioral therapy and stress management techniques that can improve GI symptoms. This holistic approach benefits patients with chronic disorders such as nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, cyclic vomiting syndrome, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Integrative Digestive Health and Wellness Program: We take a holistic approach to your health and well-being. We use a range of dietary, behavioral and integrative health practices to help patients manage gastrointestinal disorders. Through our comprehensive services, a team of gastroenterologists, GI nurse practitioners, mindfulness experts, registered GI dietitians and GI health psychologists care for you.
Interventional endoscopy: Interventional endoscopy is a branch of gastroenterology where specialists use a thin, flexible scope (endoscope) to diagnose and treat a range of GI disorders including bile duct, colon, esophageal, gallbladder, gastric and pancreatic diseases. These state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures avoid external incisions and promote faster recovery times. Interventional endoscopists also use these procedures to perform non-surgical treatments for weight loss and for those who have regained weight after gastric bypass surgery.
Pancreaticobiliary diseases: We work closely with the UCLA Agi Hirschberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases to treat patients with pancreaticobiliary diseases (diseases that affect the pancreas, gall bladder or bile ducts.) In particular, we have a national reputation for excellence in treating pancreatic cancer. We use the latest technology and minimally invasive procedures to provide patients with gold-standard care.
Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health: Patients from all over the world come to our center for diagnosis and treatment of esophageal diseases, including rare and complex conditions. We use a patient-centered approach that incorporates the collaboration between multiple specialists including gastroenterologists, surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologists. Beyond medical management, our team also draws on the expertise of registered GI dietitians, GI health psychologists, integrative health practitioners and speech pathologists.
Conditions we treat
The spectrum of gastrointestinal and liver disorders is vast. At UCLA Health, our specialists can help you manage your symptoms and treat these illnesses. Some of the most common include:
- General GI disorders: Abdominal pain, bloating, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hemorrhoids, ulcer, colitis, GI bleeding, bowel obstruction, diverticulitis, lactose intolerance, colon polyps, cyclic vomiting syndrome
- Celiac disease and other gluten-associated disorders: Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, microscopic colitis, dermatitis herpetiformis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, gluten neuropathy, gluten ataxia
- Esophageal and motility disorders: GERD, acid reflux, achalasia, belching, Barrett’s esophagus, difficulty swallowing, esophageal cancer, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), fecal incontinence, gastroparesis, hiatal hernia, Jackhammer esophagus, laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD): Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
- Liver disorders: Hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver, cholestatic liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis, liver fibrosis, Wilson’s disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), liver cancer
- Pancreatic disorders: Gallstones, pancreatitis, bile duct disorders, pancreatic cyst
Diagnostic tests and procedures we offer
Our team uses diagnostic tests and procedures to diagnose and treat a variety of GI and liver disorders. These can range from invasive to non-invasive, simple to more complex. Some of the most common include:
General GI and liver disorders
- Colonoscopy: This examination of the large intestine (colon) and rectum checks for abnormalities or changes such as growths in your intestinal lining (polyps). It helps physicians detect and remove colon and rectal polyps before they become cancer.
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT): This colorectal cancer screening tests a stool sample for blood not visible to the human eye. The FIT test can be done in your own home and does not require a bowel prep beforehand. It must be completed annually to be effective.
- Fecal microbial transplant (FMT): FMT is an alternative treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections. C. diff is a germ that causes severe colitis and diarrhea. Patients who have repeat infections often struggle to find a treatment that works. FMT is a new and innovative procedure that places processed stool from a healthy donor into a patient’s GI tract.
- FibroScan®: Using transient elastography, which is non-invasive and similar to ultrasound, this testing helps diagnose fibrosis (scar tissue on the liver) and fatty liver disease. It also allows us to evaluate the liver and determine the extent of damage.
- Sigmoidoscopy: This test is an examination of the rectum and the lower portion of the large intestine (sigmoid colon). It helps your provider check for polyps, ulcers or other irregular cells.
- Upper GI endoscopy: This procedure evaluates the stomach, esophagus and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum). We may use this test to diagnose the cause of abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing or gastrointestinal bleeding.
GI motility disorders
We use the latest, most advanced technology to detect and diagnose motility disorders. Tests include:
- Anorectal and esophageal manometry: This test evaluates the nerves in your rectum and anal sphincters. We might use it to diagnose causes of constipation, incontinence or intestinal blockages.
- Anorectal biofeedback
- pH testing including wireless (Bravo™) and wire-based
- Wireless capsule (SmartPill™): During this test, you swallow a safe, pill-sized device that measures temperature, pressure and pH in your GI tract. We may use this option to diagnose when your stomach doesn’t empty food as soon as it should, constipation or small bowel motor dysfunction.
Advanced endoscopic procedures
- Capsule endoscopy (PillCam™)
- Colon polyp and cancer removal
- Dilation of strictures
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
- Enteral/intestinal stenting
- Gastric peroral endoscopic myotomy (G-POEM)
- Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM)
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- Stone removal
- Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF)
Our expert team
Our GI and liver specialists are national and international leaders in clinical care, research and education. We consistently rank top in the nation for GI and GI surgery services.