Epworth Gastroenterologist Mr Gary Crosthwaite took talkback questions on 3AW’s Talking Health segment on Sunday 18 October 2015 with radio host Dr Sally Cockburn encouraging people to talk all things oesophagus.
With vastly improved medicines becoming available since these doctors first started practising, people can manage reflux and swallowing problems much more easily these days without surgery.
Symptoms that people should report to their GPs include chronic reflux, problems with swallowing, ulceration, chest pains (this could be a heart attack!).
Achalasia, a rare swallowing difficulty which affects one in every 100,000 people, is due to the failure of distal esophageal inhibitory neurons and needs to be treated as the patients will suffer weight loss and malnourishment.
Mr Crosthwaite who is the director of Epworth Clinical Institute for Gastroenterology and General Surgery, was the first doctor in Australia to perform the minimally invasive POEM procedure – to treat Achalasia in 2014.
POEM – Per-Oral endoscopic myotomy – is an incisionless procedure to treat oesophageal athanasia, totally performed by endoscopy, without cutting the surface of the body.
Dr Crosthwaite marvels at how Dr Google does sometimes help people resolve their health issues. He has recently operated on patients at Epworth Melbourne from Canada, Japan and New Zealand, because they sought his expertise after researching their own.
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Photo: Dr Sally Cockburn and Mr Gary Crosthwaite at 3AW.