March 23, 2014

On the Rise: Peter Janu, MD

From the Appleton Post-Crescent, by Nick Penzenstadler

March 23, 2014

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For more information contact: 
Michelle Yandre, Media Relations 
Affinity Health System 
(920) 250-2594 
(920) 554-0686 (pager)


Who: Dr. Peter Janu

What he does: Janu, 46, is one of only a handful of surgeons around the country that has performed hundreds of incisionless procedures to relieve gastroesophageal reflux disease, or acid reflux. The disease, an uncomfortable reality for many throughout the Fox Valley, affects everything from diet to sleep patterns. 

"People have slowly shied away from the leap of faith that comes with the big surgery to address reflux," Janu said. "This newer surgery re-establishes normal anatomy in a very safe way and is effective in about 85 percent of patients."

The procedure, transoral incisionless fundoplication, can take only 20 minutes and allows Janu to stitch the faulty valve near the stomach that causes the disease. Some patients go home the same day as the surgery.

Janu has done nearly 300 of the procedures since 2010 and welcomes patients from as far away as Tennessee to Affinity for the help. "Sometimes the heartburn pills work just fine for people, but many still have stomach content heading the wrong direction and causing problems," Janu said. "That leads to consequences like sore throats and hoarseness of the vocal cords."

The surgery uses the same gastroscope device as gastroenterologists use to examine stomachs down your throat - but with added robotic tools to make the fix.

What he says: Janu attributes years of video gaming to some of his success. That also makes it more difficult to dissuade his three sons from playing their own games.

"I grew up playing video games and am a bit of a geek. The bulk of my surgery is holding two instruments in my hands and working in this three-dimensional world in front of a screen," Janu said. "I don't have a problem with the kids playing video games; it's OK in moderation."

Janu said his work is most rewarding when he encounters former patients who say the surgery was life-changing. For many, the surgery means they can drink carbonated beverages, eat rich foods and sleep easier without triggering the reflux, Janu said.

Future plans: Janu said he's excited about the future of robotic surgery and remote solutions to internal problems. With Affinity's experience in gastroenterology, Janu said the surgeons are trending toward creating a heartburn center of excellence in coming years that would collect data and house new procedures.

"It would be great to turn this into a teaching environment and use our wide body of experience to do some investigative trials," Janu said.

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About Ministry Health Care
Ministry Health Care is an integrated healthcare delivery network serving more than 1.1 million people across Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. Ministry generates nearly $2.2 billion in annual operating revenue with 15 hospitals, 47 clinics, and more than 12,000 associates including 650 physicians and advanced practice clinicians. Ministry Health Care recently joined Ascension Health as the second healthcare ministry in Wisconsin. Ascension is the largest Catholic and not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation.

Ministry is ranked among the top 20 percent of healthcare systems in the country according to Truven Health Analytics and five Ministry hospitals are ranked in the top 10 in Medicare’s Hospital Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program in the state. Ministry’s Network Health has again received 4 ½ star recognition by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for its Medicare Advantage plans.

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