"What's Up, Dr. Dovec?" - Meet Michael Asike, MD, Gastroenterologist
In this episode, Dr. Dovec interviews Michael Asike, MD, a gastroenterologist with GBMC Health Partners. They talked about diagnosing acid reflux in people who’ve had bariatric surgery and how long-term acid reflux can lead to a more serious condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
“I see bariatric surgery patients both before their surgery and after,” explained Dr. Asike. “I can help them determine which approach to bariatric surgery they want to pursue and can also work with them to manage conditions like acid reflux, which can sometimes occur after surgery for a period of time.”
The first step is to check the esophagus and stomach for signs of inflammation and other issues by performing endoscopy. While the patient is under light sedation, a thin tube with a light and camera are inserted through the mouth down to the stomach. It’s a painless procedure that doesn’t require any preparation other than skipping breakfast. The procedure lets Dr. Asike see if the upper gastrointestinal tract is inflamed or if there are ulcers in the esophagus or stomach.
For many patients, a few months of treatment with medications makes the acid reflux go away. For others, additional treatment, including surgery, may be needed.
During the endoscopy, Dr. Asike also looks for signs of Barrett’s esophagus. The condition is caused by long term exposure of the esophagus to excess stomach acid via acid reflux disease. The damage causes permanent changes to the lining of the lower esophagus, which develops abnormal cells. Explained Dr. Asike, “We consider Barrett’s esophagus a pre-cancerous condition and it can increase your risk for esophageal cancer. To reduce that risk, we treat your acid reflux more aggressively or may need to do procedures to remove the abnormal tissue.”