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Demand for advanced endoscopy tied to Borderland’s obesity rate

Updated: Wednesday, July 23 2014, 03:24 PM MDT
Demand for advanced endoscopy tied to Borderland’s obesity rate story image

By: Stephanie Guadian
EL PASO, Texas -- When University Medical Center opened its new advanced endoscopy center in June -- they expected to see some 200 endoscopic ultrasound cases per year. But doctors just performed their 1,000th procedure and the demand is still growing.

Dr. Mohamed Othman is the director of UMC's Center for Diagnostic and Advanced Endoscopy.

“It's like a video game. You control it from here -- up, down, right and left. And you can move it. You can take a picture,” said Dr. Othman.

It is clear Dr. Othman has a passion for his specialty. In less than one year, doctors have performed five times the number of endoscopic ultrasound cases than predicted. Othman traces the demand back to the Borderland's high obesity rate.

“What happens when your have a high fat and carb content, your gall bladder will not contract. The bile will stay there and you form more stones,” said Othman.

UMC’s team of specialists can evaluate suspected gastrointestinal cancers and pancreatic disorders -- without invasive surgery. Before the center opened, patients had to travel to places like Phoenix, Albuquerque or Dallas for the advanced procedures.

Claudia Acuna is a nurse at the center.

“Everything we are doing is cutting edge. We didn't really have any idea until we started going to conferences where big national physicians presented. And then we said oh my God we are doing this here. It was very exciting,” said Acuna.

Dr. Othman hopes the recognition he and his colleagues are garnering will help break down the stigma that patients have to leave the Borderland for advanced care.

“We are showing it nationally and people are adopting it in their practice. That's a change in the picture. Because then we hear from my colleagues who are practicing in New York or Chicago saying wow we didn't know you guys were doing that there,” said Othman.

The expanded center cost $2.5 million dollars and is 10 times the size of the previous facility.

Demand for advanced endoscopy tied to Borderland’s obesity rate
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