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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center of Excellence

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center of Excellence at Virginia Mason, directed by Michael Chiorean, MD, is a leader in the diagnosis, management and research of inflammatory bowel diseases: Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Each year, more than 1,500 patients, including more than 400 new patients from Washington and the surrounding states, such as Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii, are evaluated by a team of specialists including gastroenterologists, surgeons, radiologists, nutritionists and pathologists. A team of nurse practitioners and nurse educators round up a comprehensive program for the care of patients with these chronic conditions.

In addition to providing multidisciplinary care, special attention is dedicated to colon cancer prevention, evaluation and management of nutritional issues, women's health concerns related to the management of IBD including pregnancy and other preventive and health maintenance interventions.

Chromoendoscopy (dye spraying)
Specialists at Virginia Mason use chromoendoscopy (dye spraying) to diagnose hard to find precancerous spots in patients with IBD.

The IBD center participates in multiple international clinical trials dedicated to novel IBD treatments. Members of the IBD team are respected authorities in the field and are involved in basic and clinical research studies that help advance the understanding of the causes of IBD and may provide clues toward finding a cure. Virginia Mason has a long-standing partnership with the Benaroya Research Institute which is one of the nation's leaders in immunology and immune tolerance research.

More than 1.5 million Americans are affected by Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis and the frequency of these disorders appears to be increasing. Both are immune disorders of the intestine that can cause:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss

An accurate diagnosis is essential for optimal management and is one of the strengths of the group of specialists in the IBD center of excellence.