Inflammatory Bowel Disease Comprehensive Care Unit
Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are areas of special expertise at the University of Illinois Medical Center . Our physicians and scientists are working toward a cure through basic reaserch and clinical trials. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) clinic is staffed by gastroenterologists, surgeons, nurses, and nutritionists who are dedicated to helping people with these disorders.
It is estimated that more than 1 million Americans have ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These diseases are so similar that they are often mistaken for one another. Both inflame the lining of the digestive tract and cause severe bouts of watery diarrhea and abdominal pain. But Crohn's disease can occur anywhere in the digestive tract, often spreading deep into the layers of affected tissues. Ulcerative colitis usually affects only the innermost lining (mucosa) of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
IBD is especially common in older children and adolescents. Young patients are at particular risk for growth retardation, or for delay of sexual maturation. Moreover, given the length of time that these patients need treatment, they are susceptible to long-term complications from their medications. IBD patients may experience a series of complications that affect the body beyond the intestinal tract. For example, patients with ulcerative colitis can develop severe arthritis, liver disease, kidney stones, gallstones and mouth ulcers that prohibit swallowing or eating.
At the University of Illinois Medical Center, our comprehensive care unit can discuss the most appropriate approaches for care with their patients. Treatment options for IBD include dietary changes, medications and sometimes surgery. Counseling can also help combat the emotional distress of having a chronic illness.
UIMC physicians work with IBD patients to avoid or delay surgery, if feasible. They work with patients to find the best combination of anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce symptoms. However, steroids, commonly prescribed for IBD, may cause serious long-term effects such as hypertension and osteoporosis. So UIMC is researching and often treating patients with alternative approaches which have fewer side effects to manage the disease. UIMC maintains an extensive database of patient treatment results. The database allows doctors to compare treatment effectiveness from patients with similar symptoms to help guide future therapy.
We have the latest technology and most advanced practitioners of Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) supported by one of the best therapeutic radiology groups in the United States. Our physicians are expert in non-surgical and minimal-surgery approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of gallstones, biliary strictures, tumors and pancreatitis.
ERCP is an advanced procedure readily performed in the outpatient setting that allows for radiographic visualization of the pancreas, gallbladder, and bile ducts. ERCP is very helpful in the non-surgical treatment of gallstones, biliary strictures, and dysfunction of the Sphincter of Oddi. This complex and technically demanding procedure is routinely performed on a daily basis by Dr. Russell Brown, nationally and internationally acknowledged for his technical virtuosity.