Dr. Marcoandrea Giorgi, a bariatric surgeon at Brown Surgical Associates, has a special interest in minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery.
Giorgi, who has practiced in Providence for seven years, is a native of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy. He discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted his work, as well as his thoughts on the pandemic in hard-hit Italy.
PBN: As an Italian native, what are your thoughts on the enormity of the pandemic in that country?
GIORGI: It is definitely scary since most of my relatives are currently there. Luckily, no one has been sick at this point. People cannot go outside without a permit and police officers may fine you if they find you far from home.
Many of my friends are doctors and they are doing their very best to care for patients. It is reassuring that new transmissions are decreasing and the number of cured patients is increasing, but the battle is not over yet.
PBN: Did Rhode Island pay enough attention to Europe’s experience with the virus and react accordingly?
GIORGI: It is clear that we have been looking at the rest of the world and that we implemented rules to try to slow down new transmissions early on. My personal thought is that we cannot overdo it and we should be following the rules we have been provided to limit exposure. Everyone is responsible since we are dealing with patients’ lives.
PBN: Are you able to perform surgery now while hospitals in Rhode Island prepare for the possibility of a surge of COVID-19 patients, and are you expecting a backlog of patients in line for procedures once the crisis eases up?
GIORGI: In order to limit possible exposure, elective cases have been placed on hold. We are still providing urgent, emergent and oncologic surgery procedures since many patients have serious problems and need appropriate care. I’m very proud of the way my institutions have been handling this issue ensuring staff and patients’ safety.
I am sure there will be many patients who will need care after this situation passes. Luckily, we are the biggest surgery group in the state with very fast availability. We can’t wait to offer again our expertise to improve patients’ lives; my group and I will be able to care for everyone in a timely fashion when the time comes.
PBN: What are some considerations that patients need to keep in mind before having bariatric surgery?
GIORGI: Bariatric surgery is so much more than just weight loss. For many patients, it is the only way to cure their medical comorbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea.
But bariatric surgery is also not magic; it is a tool that patients use to go back to a healthy lifestyle with good dieting and exercise habits. At our center, we are six fellowship-trained bariatric surgeons who are leaders in the field.
PBN: Are there any new technologies out there in the fields of gastrointestinal and minimally invasive endoscopic surgeries that are particularly exciting?
GIORGI: It is a very exciting time to be a minimally invasive surgeon. We are able to perform state-of-the-art operations using new platforms and techniques in robotics and endoscopy.
We are the only program that can perform new procedures robotically to treat all kinds of hernias, from simple to the most complex ones requiring a real reconstruction with small incisions, decreasing hospital stay, pain and narcotic use, wound complications and ensuring a faster return to work.
We also now have the possibility to treat many gastrointestinal diseases of the esophagus and stomach, such as achalasia and gastroparesis for example, with endoscopy only without having to make any incisions. No one else in the state is currently offering these procedures and we are proud to be at the cutting edge.
Elizabeth Graham is a PBN staff writer. She can be reached at Graham@PBN.com.
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