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Galen Hepatology is led by Hepatologists Dr. Chirag Patel who has been in practice for over 15 years in the Chattanooga area. Dr. Patel and his staff are dedicated to providing the best quality care as well as education to all patients.
Dr. Patel offers complete liver care and treats a variety of conditions that affect the liver: Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hemochromatosis, Cirrhosis, NASH, Fatty Liver, Liver cancer, and life long conditions such as Primary Biliary Cholangitis and Auto Immune Hepatitis. He is the number one treating physician of Hepatitis C in the region and has a very successful cure rate with his quality of care and treatment path chosen specifically for each patient.
Over the past 15 years Dr. Patel has worked closely in the pre and post-transplant care surrounding transplant center and physicians which include UAB, Emory, University of Kentucky, Piedmont, Mayo, John Hopkins, and Vanderbilt, helping more than 150 patients receive their liver transplant.
A hepatologist is a specialist in the branch of medicine called Hepatology, which includes the study of body parts such as the liver, the biliary tree, the gallbladder and the pancreas. A hepatologist manages disorders in these areas. Hepatology was traditionally a subspecialty of gastroenterology, but recent advances in the understanding of this subspecialty have made it a field of its own.
Hepatologists deal most frequently with viral hepatitis and diseases related to alcohol. Hepatitis impacts millions of people worldwide and has been associated with a number of poor outcomes such as liver cancer and liver transplantation. Particularly, hepatitis B and hepatitis C frequently cause liver cancers. Alcohol consumption has been associated with cirrhosis and other complications.
A general practitioner may refer a patient to a hepatologist for a variety of reasons including drug overdose, gastrointestinal bleeding from portal hypertension, jaundice, ascites, enzyme defects or blood tests that indicate liver disease. Evidence of diseases in the biliary tree, fever indicating tropical diseases such as hydatid cyst, kala-azar or schistosomiasis may also cause a general practitioner to refer a patient to a hepatologist. These specialists also may treat hemochromatosis or pancreatitis or conduct follow-up among patients who have received a liver transplantation.
Some of the procedures performed by hepatologists include endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), transhepatic pancreato-cholangiography (TPC) or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPSS).
Hepatologists can treat adult or pediatric patients.
To become a hepatologist, an individual must complete undergraduate study, receive a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree, and then complete a 3-year residency in gastroenterology followed by a fellowship of 2 or 3 years in that field. These candidates then should receive certification in gastroenterology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Once these gastroenterologists are certified, they should devote the majority of their time to the liver and its associated complications.