Gastrointestinal, Pancreas, and Hepatobiliary Pathology

Houston Methodist Hospital provides comprehensive medical and surgical care for numerous patients with complex gastrointestinal, pancreatobiliary and liver diseases. The Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Diseases, a multidisciplinary center of excellence has within it a Pancreatobiliary Disease Program, a Foregut Program, and the Fondren Inflammatory Bowel Program. The Sherrie and Alan Conover Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation is within the JC Walter Jr. Transplant Center, a multidisciplinary Center of Excellence. The GI/Liver section of the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine provides high quality services for these multiple centers and programs. There are two high volume endoscopy centers at Houston Methodist, including one supporting endoscopic ultrasound and interventional procedures.

In addition to providing services for patients at Houston Methodist, biopsies performed on outpatients outside of the Houston Methodist system may be sent directly to Houston Methodist Hospital for processing and interpretation. The GI/Liver section also provides a consultation service on biopsies and resections performed elsewhere. We have full service state of the art immunohistochemistry (IHC) and FISH sections in our large histology laboratory at Houston Methodist Hospital that provides services for our entire hospital system.

The members of the GI/Liver section have breadth and depth in expertise in GI, liver, and pancreatobiliary cytology. They are relatively unique in that most practice both high volume surgical pathology and cytology, bringing a special broad perspective that especially benefits patients being evaluated for and treated for pancreatic disease. The group includes several who have been consistently named to Best Doctors of America for many years. They have received numerous awards at the national and local level, including for education, scholarly achievements, and patient advocacy.

Colorectal tumor boardTumor board and multidisciplinary conference participation
Our group and other members of our department actively participate in three weekly GI –related tumor boards: colorectal, noncolorectal (encompassing upper GI and pancreatobiliary), and thoracic/esophagus; as well as a weekly multidisciplinary GI conference and monthly liver pathology conference. In addition, there is ad hoc participation in a prospective liver tumor planning conference and inflammatory bowel conference. These tumor boards and conferences provide thoughtful engaged multidisciplinary discussion, directly benefiting patients and enhancing the high quality care provided.

Other activities
In addition to providing clinical services, the section pathologists are involved in teaching at the national, regional and local level. This includes participation in medical school lectures, a Houston-wide didactic series for residents and fellows, and courses at variety of meetings.

Services provided:
  • Expertise in interpretation of biopsies, surgical resections, and cytologic specimens from the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas and liver, including transplant biopsies, endoscopic ultrasound-guided FNAs and small core biopsies, and biliary cytology
  • Outstanding communication with gastroenterologists, hepatologists, and surgeons
  • Processing and interpretation of biopsies performed in the outpatient setting outside of the Houston Methodist system with same rapid turnaround time as provided for our Houston Methodist patients (if received in the laboratory by 1800 hrs.)
  • Full service immunohistochemistry section providing hundreds of antibodies
  • Evaluation of HER2 status by immunohistochemistry and FISH if needed for evaluation of gastric and esophageal adenocarcinomas
  • Universal screening for Lynch syndrome with immunohistochemical assessment of mismatch repair protein expression and MSI status through our Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
  • Testing for KRAS, NRAS, HRAS, and BRAF for colorectal adenocarcinomas through our Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory. The intraoperative face to face interaction with surgeons also maximizes assessment of surgical margins, greatly reducing the need for later re-excision of positive or very close margins. 
  • Informal consultations at no additional charge to patients for GI, liver and pancreas biopsies and surgical resections performed at other hospitals in the Houston Methodist system
  • Formal consultations of biopsies and resections performed elsewhere, including from international patients. Slides and/or blocks may be sent, with accompanying reports. 
  • Our Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory provides a 50 gene next generation sequencing panel focused on actionable mutations. 

Our GI, Liver, and Pancreas Section Faculty:

Rose C. Anton, MD
Office: 713.441.6948

Ashok Balsaver, MD
Office: 713.441.1922

Blythe K. Gorman, MD
Office: 713.441.6409

Dina R. Mody, MD
Office: 713.441.6483

Mary R. Schwartz, MD
Office: 713.441.6482

Additional faculty with special expertise in a focused area:
Mojgan Amrikachi, MD (IHC and FISH for HER2 status)
Office: 713.441.6477

Mukul Divatia, MD (liver pathology)
Office: 713.441.1975

Lillian Gaber, MD (pancreas transplant biopsies)
Office: 713.441.1394

Additional contact information
For biopsy or resection surgical pathology reports:
Physicians and physician offices:
Ms. Rosie Benitez
HMH Anatomic Pathology Physician and Patient Services
Office: 713-441-1447
Ms. Benitez can transfer you to the pathologist of record.

For questions about sending consultations from outside the Houston Methodist system, please call:
Ms. Rachel Mata
AP Administrative Support
Ms. Carol Kempen
AP Administrative Support