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SSMC launches Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), a joint-venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, has officially launched its comprehensive centre for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

As part of its set of services, the SSMC IBD Centre has onboarded a new dedicated, multidisciplinary team of experts that will be delivering surgical, endoscopic, nutritional, radiological, pharmaceutical, and eventually behavioral health services, amongst others.

Dr. Talha Malik, SSMC’s new director for the SSMC IBD Centre, commented, “Our aim is to keep our approach to IBD care patient-centric and comprehensive; creating a one-stop-shop for IBD care that caters to our patient’s specific treatment requirements.”

The SSMC IBD Centre staffs a team of specialised colorectal surgeons who offer the full gamut of surgical procedures including minimally invasive and robotic surgery. This approach has a significant impact on patient outcomes, reducing the risk of complications, pregnancy and fertility issues as well as improving future bowel function.

Dr. Faek El Jamali, division chair of Colorectal Surgery, SSMC, said, “The close cooperation between gastroentreology and colorectal surgery specialists is an essential aspect of the comprehensive and patient centreed care that we aim to provide at the newly established SSMC IBD centre. IBD is a unique and challenging disease. Patients benefit the most when they are seen and managed by a collaborative team of specialists from the outset to select the most appropriate treatment plan for every individual patient. If a decision for surgery is made, we are proud to offer the most advanced surgical procedures using minimally invasive and robotic assisted techniques to minimize surgical impact and improve outcomes.”

Dr. Michael Wallace, Gastroentreology and Hepatology consultant and division chair, SSMC, added, “The endoscopic options provided by our centre are also valuable. IBD patients are at significantly greater risk of pre-cancerous lesions of the colon which are typically difficult to see and remove. We specialize in advanced methods of detection such as chromoendscopy (both digital and blue-dye) and the removal of these through endoscopes as opposed to surgery. We have already received patients who have been referred to us for surgery, but we can offer them a non-surgical removal of those lesions.”

A rarely available procedure at other UAE facilities is chromo colonoscopy, which is an area of expertise offered by the SSMC IBD Centre. Chromo colonoscopy, or chromoendoscopy, is an adjunctive procedure which refers to the application of topical dying or digital optical filters during an endoscopy in order to identify otherwise difficult to see abnormalities.

While every avenue is investigated in order to avoid invasive procedures, if surgery is required, the team also includes three dedicated subspecialty-trained colorectal surgical specialists.

Dr. Talha Malik said, “In addition to our innovative and holistic approach, we’re actively seeking to create the first IBD consortium in Abu Dhabi. This registry will encompass every IBD patient in the emirate and will enable us to conduct robust observational research and put into place a clinical trials infrastructure that directly aims to address the needs of our local IBD patients.”

Another marked benefit for SSMC IBD patients will be their access to gender-preferred care. As part of SSMC’s ‘Where Women Take Care of Women’’ campaign that ran during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, SSMC’s female endoscopists and colorectal surgeon spearheaded the practice of colonoscopies and colorectal care for female patients, offering reassurance and ‘comfortability’ as a means to increase participation in endoscopic screening.

Dr. Michael Wallace, concluded, “With SSMC and Mayo Clinic’s collaborative, patient-centric approach, we’re in a position to draw from the strengths of our joint venture partnership, leveraging the learnings and successes we have had at our Mayo Clinic IBD centres internationally. Our doors are open. Anyone who comes to us with IBD, we’re ready to care for them.”

Source: Emirates News Agency