Prof. Tanja Kuehbacher is a specialist in internal medicine and gastroenterology, the Senior Consultant of the Department of Gastroenterology at the Hamburg West Asklepios Hospital and a Professor of Gastroenterology at the Christian Albrecht University of Kiel.
As a specialist gastroenterologist, Prof. Kuehbacher, together with her team, cares for patients with all conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, the gall bladder and the pancreas. Prof. Kuehbacher is a renowned, internationally acknowledged specialist in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, in particular, the treatment of patients who suffer from chronic inflammatory intestinal conditions (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease). She has been internationally honoured for this and, for many successive years, she has also been entered into the Focus List as one of the Top Medical Practitioners in gastroenterology and chronic inflammatory intestinal conditions. As an intestinal specialist in Hamburg, she researchesthe causes of chronic inflammatory intestinal conditions, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, she is involved in the development and testing of innovative medications for the treatment of these debilitating conditions. Not only can Prof. Kuehbacher provide all globally established diagnostic and therapeutic concepts, but, within the context of studies, she can perform quite new treatments. Patients suffering from inflammatory and/or autoimmune conditions of the entire gastrointestinal tract, the liver and the pancreas are treated in the university out-patients’ clinic at the West Asklepios Hospital as out-patients and as in-patients using an interdisciplinary approach. Weekly interdisciplinary Grand Rounds consisting of dermatologists, rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, gastroenterologists, surgeons and pulmonologists discuss the patients and, where required, treat them jointly. As well, the close collaboration with psychosomatics, self-help groups and the department’s own team of ecotrophologists (dieticians) represents a unique characteristic.
The most advanced techniques are utilised in the diagnosis of gastroenterological conditions. With the aid of endoscopy, an insight is given into the body, specimens of suspicious areas can be taken or polyps and tumours can even be removed. Endoscopy is also used to staunch haemorrhages in the gastrointestinal tract. All conventional endoscopic techniques are performed in Prof. Kuehbacher’s department, for example stent implantation and balloon dilatation, capsule endoscopy or ERCP (inspection of the biliary tract and the pancreatic duct) and lithotripsy and TIPS introduction (a stent in the portal vein for ascites (abdominal fluid) for cirrhosis of the liver.
With the aid of sonography (ultrasound examination), the internal organs such as the intestines, the liver, the kidneys and the spleen can be examined pain-free and without exposure to radiation. The circulation of organs is frequently examined using a special ultrasound technique, colour-coded duplex sonography (CCDS). Contrast medium sonography is also utilised in differentiating between benign and malignant changes. Sometimes, it is necessary to introduce the ultrasound head into the body (e.g. into the stomach or the rectum) (endosonography), a technique using which, for example, gallstones and tumours of the liver, biliary tract and in the pancreas can be diagnosed more easily and with greater certainty.
All cancer conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, the gall bladder and the pancreas can be diagnosed and treated. Weekly tumour boards take place and an in-house oncology practice also enables continuing out-patient care.
The excellent collaboration with the Department of Surgery should also be highlighted. If surgery is pending, patients are cared for jointly and their surgery can be microinvasive, using the most minute keyhole technique.
A further emphasis at the hospital is the diagnosis and treatment of obesity. An expert team consisting of gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, surgeons, psychologists, physiotherapists and ecotrophologists is available for these patients.
Infections such as diarrhoea conditions or non-specific fever are also treated quickly and efficiently. Special isolation rooms separated from the normal wards enable rapid and safe treatment.
In order to get to the bottom of the causes of diarrhoea, flatulence, nausea and other signs of indigestion, Prof. Kuehbacher also utilises H2 breath tests (hydrogen exhalation tests). The results of this test are then also included in the dietary (ecotrophology) counselling. Thus, patients with food intolerances or nutrient uptake disorders are given valuable advice for dealing with their condition.