The Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Vivantes Hospital in Spandau specializes in the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of conditions of the esophagus, the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, biliary tract and the pancreas. Here, gastroenterological oncology, that is, the diagnosis and treatment of tumors in the respective organs, is particularly important. Following a thorough diagnosis, the internal medicine specialists prepare an individual treatment plan, which may include medication-based or endoscopic treatment. Endoscopy is a main pillar of the therapeutic range of services. This minimally invasive method utilizes an endoscope, i.e. a small probe with a camera optic system on a flexible tube, which is inserted through the mouth and the esophagus to the organ concerned. Thanks to the high-resolution video transmission, the specialists can now not only assess the section examined, but, at the same time, also perform various procedures and treatments using small instruments. As a result, the early treatment of cancer precursors or risk segments is also possible. Hence, BarrX ablation (radiofrequency ablation) for so-called Barrett’s esophagus at the junction of the esophagus and the stomach is among the emphases of the Department. By means of this endoscopic technique, the specialists remove the tissue changes which are potentially susceptible to degeneration into cancer cells. Thus, patients with an increased risk of esophageal cancer can be preventively treated before cancer develops. Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and the innovative endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) represent a further option for the endoscopic treatment of early-stage gastrointestinal carcinomata.
By means of ESD, the specialists can remove large tumors from a section of the intestine, the stomach or the esophagus. For the patients, this minimally invasive cancer surgery is very gentle since here, no skin tissue is damaged and thus, significantly more rapid and pain-free recovery from this procedure is possible than for open surgery. The application of innovative techniques at the cutting edge of science and technology is a matter of course at the Vivantes Hospital in Spandau. Thus, the innovative photodynamic therapy (PDT) can be applied for biliary duct carcinomata. This is based on the patient being given a medium which makes his tissues sensitive to exposure to light. Subsequently, within the context of an endoscopic procedure, a probe is employed, which emits light directly onto the tumor tissue and the growth is thus killed. With this technique, Dr. Seelhoff and his team can reduce the tumor prior to surgery, for example, and this can also be combined perfectly with conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Dr. Seelhoff also provides patients who fulfill the appropriate requirements with the opportunity to participate in studies in the fields of oncology and gastroenterology. Thus, for example, there is a study on the dosage optimization of a medication for moderate to severe active ulcerative colitis. Here, a very promising therapeutic approach is applied. Participating patients also benefit from particularly close medical supervision.