Director of the Memorial Hermann Southeast Esophageal Disease Center
Professor of Surgery, McGovern Medical School at UT Health
Dr. Farzaneh Banki obtained her medical degree from the University of Montreal, Canada, in 1996. She subsequently completed her internship and general surgery residency at the University of Southern California (USC), including a year of clinical research in the esophageal motility laboratory. She acquired further experience in the treatment of esophageal disease during her thoracic and foregut fellowship at USC before working for a year as a clinical fellow at Response Genetics, Inc., to identify the role of plasma DNA as a diagnostic tool in the treatment of patients with esophageal cancer.
After completing her training in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2007, she served in the Department of Surgery at USC from July 2007-2009. Dr. Banki became a member of the faculty at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston in 2009.
As Professor of Surgery at McGovern and Director of the Esophageal Disease Center at Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, Dr. Banki focuses on the treatment of benign and malignant diseases of the esophagus and lungs. Her clinical interests include the diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophageal motility disorder, malignant diseases of the esophagus and stomach, as well as benign and malignant disease of the lungs and airway.
Her focus of research includes the role of plasma DNA in the screening and diagnosis of primary, metastatic and recurrent esophageal cancer, diagnosis and treatment of complex hiatal hernia, and treatment of achalasia.
Co-director of the Memorial Hermann Southeast Esophageal Disease Center
Michel I. Kafrouni, M.D., co-director of the Memorial Hermann Southeast Esophageal Disease Center, focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant diseases of the digestive organs. He has expertise in treating esophageal diseases, motility of the gastrointestinal tract, prevention and diagnosis of malignancies of the gastrointestinal tract and inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Kafrouni practices general gastroenterology and hepatology with specific interest in diseases of the esophagus, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), achalasia, Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal cancer, dysphagia and other conditions.
Dr. Kafrouni received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon. He subsequently completed his internal medicine internship and residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, a teaching hospital affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He continued his medical education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he completed a fellowship in gastroenterology in 2008.
Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine since 2005 and the American Board of Gastroenterology since 2009, Dr. Kafrouni is a member of the American Gastroenterology Association, the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American College of Gastroenterology and the Texas Medical Association. He is fluent in Arabic and French, and speaks conversational Spanish.
Robert Vasquez: Esophageal Cancer Recovery
When swallowing became difficult for Pearland resident Robert Vasquez, tests revealed cancer at the junction of his esophagus and stomach. His oncologist suggested chemotherapy to shrink the growth, surgery to remove it and more chemotherapy to kill any remaining tumor cells.
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Jimmy Fincher: Onward with an Active Life
Licensed Texas peace officer Jimmy Fincher struggled, for 15 years, with acid reflux caused by a hiatal hernia. With an aversion to taking medication, he inconsistently took the antacids prescribed to lower his stomach acid even when experiencing debilitating abdominal pain after eating large meals and when laying a certain way, hearing gurgling noises in his chest.
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Monica Stark: A Hunger for Normalcy
After emergency surgery to remove most of her esophagus, Monica Stark had no idea it would be nearly a year before she could eat solid foods. The lifesaving surgery, performed in April 2016 in San Antonio, resulted from complications caused by scleroderma, a rare connective tissue disease that affects approximately 300,000 Americans in very different ways.
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Ciaran Simon: A New Lease on Life
Ciaran Simon always discounted his heartburn as sensitivity to spicy food. It was not until his symptoms became debilitating that he sought medical attention.
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