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Maine Digestive Health Center

high performing indicator coloncancer

Maine Medical Center’s Digestive Health services provides a multidisciplinary approach to the care of patients with benign and malignant disease of the digestive system. Routine and complex digestive illnesses will be evaluated and treated with the most advanced diagnostic and testing capabilities available in Maine.

Common Procedures

What We Treat

Esophageal Disorders

We have the experience and technology to diagnose and treat patients with common problems, such as acid reflux and swallowing disorders. The diagnosis and treatment of cancer of the esophagus involves a team of specialist including, but not limited to, surgeons, gastroenterologists, oncologists and radiologists. We offer a non-surgical technique for non-cancerous changes in the esophagus.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

We coordinate the continuum of services required for effective IBD management  in the pediatric population- including gastroenterology, surgery, radiology, pathology, enterostomal therapy, nutrition services, and IV therapy.

  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn's Disease

GI Bleeding

Our team care and process streamline and improve the care of patients with non-variceal upper GI bleeding, one of the most common diagnoses treated here. By forming a "GI Bleed Team," we can offer the most advanced, comprehensive, and consistent methods for detecting and treating both acute and non-acute GI bleeding and related problems.

  • Upper/Lower Endoscopic Evaluation
  • Push Enteroscopy
  • Wireless Capsule Endoscopy
  • Treatment of Vascular Lesions with Argon Plasma Coagulation 

Pancreaticobiliary Disorders

O Pancreaticobiliary Center (PBC) has evolved into an internationally recognized center of excellence in the care of patients with complex benign and malignant diseases of the pancreas and biliary tree. It provides cutting-edge medical treatment, endoscopy, and surgical procedures, and is involved in wide-ranging research in advanced techniques.

  • Acute Pancreatitis
  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Cholecystitis
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cysts
  • Pancreatic Pseudocysts
  • Bile Duct Obstructions

Liver Disorders

Digestive Health provides access to a range of treatment and referral services for these complex disorders. These include expert care and advanced treatments for patients with acute and chronic viral liver diseases at the Maine Medical Partners Virology Treatment Center, or VTC. Multi disciplinary care is available for benign and malignant liver tumors, as is coordinated evaluation and management of pre- and post-transplant patients. Access to clinical trials through the hepatitis program at the Virology Treatment Center is also available for patients who have failed conventional therapy.

  • Hepatitis A, B, C
  • Liver Cancer
  • Cirrhosis of the Liver
  • Hepatic Tumors

Colorectal Cancer

We have multiple resources for the screening, diagnosis, prevention, and management of colorectal cancer. The state-of-the-art endoscopy unit, opened in 2005. Patients benefit from a highly skilled, experienced surgical staff employing advanced techniques including laparoscopic surgery. When needed, CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy), chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are available. Genetic counseling is available when warranted by family history. 

  • Cancer of the Large Intestine
  • Cancer of the Rectum
For patients and family members/loved ones wanting to know more about colorectal cancer, please visit the MMC’s Cancer Institute website.

Services Provided through physician referral:

  • EndoscopyAdvanced Endoscopy
  • Inpatient Gastroenterology Consultation
Contact your physician for referral appointments.

Take the MMC Colon Cancer Quiz

We have multiple resources for the screening, diagnosis, prevention, and management of colorectal cancer. Take our quiz to see how much you know. 

The Maine Digestive Health Center at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, now offers a treatment option for patients with Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition caused by chronic acid reflux disease or GERD.

Barrx™ 360 RFA Balloon Catheter Animation

An estimated 3.3 million American adults have Barrett's esophagus. Although the risk is low, if left untreated, Barrett's esophagus can lead to a dangerous type of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma, which is currently the most rapidly rising cancer in the U.S. Until now, there have been very few treatment options for this condition. Most patients receive periodical monitoring, "watchful waiting" to ensure their disease does not progressed to cancer.

Barrett's esophagus occurs when severe acid reflux, or GERD, causes the cells lining the esophagus to undergo genetic changes that can set the stage for cancer development. Barrett's has traditionally been managed with frequent endoscopic biopsy surveillance; however, many physicians believe in a more proactive treatment of Barrett's esophagus. One such proactive treatment is through the use of ablation which is the use of electrical energy to remove the diseased layer of cells from the esophagus. This option may eliminate the disease before it has the opportunity to progress to cancer.

The HALO Systems are the first among existing ablation tools to treat Barrett's esophagus in a uniformed and controlled manner. The technology can remove a thin layer of diseased tissue and allow the regrowth of normal cells without injuring healthy underlying tissue. Drs Howell, Millspaugh, Prokopiw, and Winchenbach of the Maine Digestive Health Center are able to use the HALO360 system treat patients with large segments of Barrett's tissue. The HALO90 System, which is uniquely designed for focal ablation of Barrett's and can be used independently or in conjunction with the HALO360 System. Following ablation with either the HALO360 or the HALO90 system the diseased tissue in most patients is replaced by new healthy tissue within three to four weeks time. In the largest study conducted with the HALO System, 98.4% percent of patients were Barrett's-free (at thirty-month follow up).

The ablation procedure is performed without incisions using conscious sedation in an out-patient setting. Using a catheter, the physician directs the HALO System down the throat to the diseased area of the esophagus. The HALO energy generator is activated to deliver a short burst of ablative energy, which removes a very thin layer of the diseased esophagus. The Maine Digestive Health Center was the first Maine location to offer this option for the management of Barrett's esophagus.

Now that technology is available to treat Barrett's disease before it progresses to cancer, there is an opportunity to improve the quality of life for the millions of Americans living with Barrett's esophagus.

For more information about Barrett's esophagus, the HALO360 System, the HALO90 System, or the risks associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma, please contact Portland Gastroenterology Associates at (207) 773-7964.

The Pancreaticobiliary Center, part of the Maine Digestive Health Center, fosters collaboration between gastroenterologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, radiologists and pathologists, creating a single infrastructure to coordinate services, improve access and optimize outcomes for all our patients.

Internationally recognized. Locally situated.

One of the foremost practices within MMC’s Digestive Health Center, the Pancreaticobiliary Center has evolved into an internationally recognized medical facility for patients with complex benign and malignant diseases of the pancreas and biliary tree.

The physicians of the Pancreaticobiliary Service have vast expertise in benign and malignant pancreatic and endocrine-pancreatic tumors, and our surgeons specialize in a variety of minimally invasive and organ preserving pancreatic surgeries. For a demanding range of conditions, our entire staff is highly experienced and well equipped to provide cutting-edge medical treatment, endoscopy and surgical procedures, and is involved in important research on advanced techniques.

High success rate. Low complication rate.

Since 2002, we’ve been utilizing this multi-disciplinary approach for our patients, usually suffering from complex cases and co-morbidities. The collaboration among our specialists allows us to break ground in new and innovative approaches, always using the most advanced technology available. Because of the comprehensive nature of our services, we have a consistently high rate of success and one of the lowest complication rates in the country.

We'll treat your patients like they are ours.

For your patients dealing with pancreaticobiliary diseases, consider a referral to the Pancreaticobiliary Service at Maine Medical Center. Our multi-disciplinary, patient-centered model of care provides the best outcomes in the field.