The Division of Gastroenterology of the Samsung Medical Center performed 41,376 endoscopic examinations on the upper gastrointestinal tract for diagnosis in 2010. In 2010 alone, we performed 471 cases of endoscopic hemostases for upper gastrointestinal bleeding and 151 cases of endoscopic resection for benign gastric polyps.

The endoscopic submucosal dissection method was adopted at the SMC in 2004 and has become a vital tool in the treatment of early-stage gastric cancer and precancerous gastric lesions. In 2010 alone, we performed this procedure in 716 cases. When using endoscopic submucosal dissection, it is possible to excise lesions of all sizes, overcoming the limitations of previous endoscopic resection methods. Also, for indicated lesions, this method is reported to yield the same survival rate as surgery. Endoscopic submucosal dissection reduces the need for an invasive operation like laparotomy and allows patients to return to their normal routines right after the procedure, making it superior to surgery in terms of quality of life.

1. Liver

We see 50,000 outpatients and 5,000 inpatients annually for acute and chronic hepatitis, alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver, benign liver tumor, liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Among them, approximately 25,000 patients have liver cancer, and they are treated with transarterial chemoembolization, radiofrequency ablation, radiation treatment or chemotherapy. We perform transarterial chemoembolization in more than 2,500 cases a year and radiofrequency ablation in more than 700 cases a year. In April 2011, we became the first institution to have performed radiofrequency ablation for over 5,000 cases. In addition, we actively participate in domestic and international clinical trials for the antiviral treatment of hepatitis B and C and hepatocellular cancer, and publish our results in major international journals.

2. Pancreas and biliary tract

We at the part for the pancreas and biliary tract of the Division of Gastroenterology diagnose and treat diseases of the pancreas and biliary tract based on a warm heart to consider patients first, accurate diagnoses using diverse examinations, and appropriate procedures through advanced endoscopy. In addition to pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, biliary tract cancer, duodenal cancer, ampulla of Vater cancer, we accurately diagnose and treat benign diseases in the pancreas and biliary tract, including biliary calculus, biliary tract polyp, pancreatic cystic lesions, and pancreatitis. To facilitate patient-centered diagnosis and treatment, we collaborate with specialists of various areas such as surgery, radiology, radiation therapy, pathology, and oncology. Medical staff, including professors of the Division of Gastroenterology who specialize in the pancreas and biliary tract, treat 15,000 outpatients, including 2,000 cancer patients, and care for 2,000 inpatients a year. Three highly qualified and experienced professors in the field of pancreas and biliary tract endoscopy perform over 2,000 ERCP- and EUS-based endoscopic procedures, 70% of which are endoscopic treatment. These endoscopic procedures include advanced methods like endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration or biopsy, endoscopic ultrasound-guided therapy, photodynamic therapy, endoscopic biliary stenting, and endoscopic papillectomy. Also, we are continuously investigating new treatment modalities. Based on these diverse clinical experiences and research, we provide the most advanced, world-class services in pancreas and biliary tract treatment.

3. Lower gastrointestinal tract

The lower fastrointestinal tract team of the Division of Gastroenterology of the Samsung Medical Center, consisting of the best medical staff in Korea, provides optimum treatment appropriate for patients by quickly and accurately diagnosing various small/large intestinal diseases based on skilled, advanced endoscopic techniques and rich experience and knowledge.
Recently, we have minimized patients’ inconvenience and anxiety by diagnosing precancerous lesions in the large intestine and early colon cancer that require advanced endoscopic techniques on the same day and by performing prpcedures on the same day in cases where bowel preparation has been completed. Also, we have established a system to provide surgical treatment immediately in cases where surgery is necessary through organic cooperative treatment with the Department of Surgery.
In addition, we are not only providing fast diagnosis and optimum treatment of small intestinal diseases that have been felt as being difficult to be diagnosed or treated thus far through capsule endoscopy and small intestinal endoscopy but also performing therapeutic endoscopy that enables the avoidance of surgery while improving the quality of life through stent insertion or balloon dilatation in cases where the patient has colonic obstruction.
With regard to inflammatory bowel diseases that have been showing a trend of increasing recently, we not only provide treatment appropriate for patients based on extensive clinical experience and knowledge accumulated through various clinical studies but also periodically hold presentations for inflammatory bowel diseases to help patients and their protectors understand the diseases and strengthen ties between patients and doctors further so that they can overcome the diseases together.