Foregut Disease Program
Specialists with the Foregut Disease Program at Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders offer exceptional care to patients with complex issues of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine.
The foregut is a portion of the body from the mouth to the top of the small intestine where food passes once ingested. When this area stops working properly, dysfunction of the tube from the mouth to the small intestine can occur. This leads to gastrointestinal (GI) issues in the stomach. The ability to detect both GI and foregut conditions is where experts in our Foregut Disease Program excel.
The team’s goal at Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Center for Digestive Disorders is to bring together a world-renowned team of gastroenterologists, foregut surgeons, esophageal motility and reflux experts, radiologists, GI pathologists and oncologists to provide subspecialty care in one place. From diagnosis to treatment and recovery, we are committed to delivering complete, personalized care.
Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 8 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery. U.S. News & World Report has also named Houston Methodist Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Texas every year since the award began and one of the nation’s best as a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.
All-Encompassing Patient Experience
We offer state-of-the-art inpatient and outpatient facilities, helping deliver the best possible outcomes. Our experts have extensive, weekly GI conferences to ensure each patient receives the most appropriate and effective recovery plan.
Underwood Center clinicians and scientists collaborate to advance discoveries of innovative and personalized therapies. We are dedicated to partnering with referring physicians to maintain their patient-physician relationship.
Groundbreaking GI Procedures
In 2013, Houston Methodist Hospital was one of the first hospitals in the U.S. to perform the peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM). This is a less-invasive method for treating swallowing ailments such as achalasia without incisions. The procedure involves fixing the problem through the mouth using a gastroscope, a thin, flexible camera designed to investigate the esophagus and stomach.
There’s less sedation, no scarring, and little or no pain — and patients can return to work in less than a week. We are the only hospital in Texas that performs POEM and one of only a handful of hospitals nationwide.
In addition to POEM, our advanced endoscopists perform cricopharyngeal myotomy, a treatment for Zenker's diverticulum and a minimally invasive technique performed during an upper endoscopy.
Exceptional Surgical Proficiency
Patients travel to the center to benefit from the research that goes into the innovative techniques we use, such as:
- Laparoscopic surgery – treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); treatments include undoplication, hiatal hernia repair, paraesophageal hernia repair, reoperation for recurrent hernia and LINX procedure
- Minimally invasive esophagectomy – removal of the esophagus
- Esophageal manometry – reflux and motility testing for proper performance of the esophagus
More Esophageal & Stomach Conditions We Treat or Evaluate
The Foregut Disease Program includes everything from standard procedures to the most advanced endoscopic and surgical technology for:
- Achalasia – damaged nerves in the esophagus make it difficult to swallow
- Barrett’s esophagus – complication of GERD causing abnormal changes in cells in the esophagus
- Complex esophageal strictures – long obstructions in the esophagus
- Dysphagia – difficulty or discomfort swallowing
- Eosinophilic esophagitis – an allergic impairment in the esophagus
- Esophageal cancer – cancer that occurs in the tube that runs from the throat to stomach
- Premalignant (precancerous) and malignant (cancerous) disorders of the esophagus and stomach
- Zenker’s diverticulum – outpouching in the pharynx treated by cutting the muscle as it enters the esophagus with cricopharyngeal myotomy
Team-Based Approach for Foregut Health Professionals
What is your patient recovery model?
In the diagnosis and treatment of GI complications of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum we concentrate on success through discharge and transition to follow-up care. To do this, we offer the following:
- Patient education
- Recovery and rehabilitation assistance
Are there any foregut clinical trials available?
8th Annual In-Person and Virtual Course on Evidence-Based Management of Digestive Disorders
On March 31, 2023, the center presented a one day for-credit course for physicians and nurses. Sessions provided continuing medical education on GI diseases, including a plenary on esophagus/foregut conditions. Learn about the course >