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      Doctor sheds light on complex nature of digestive conditions at RGA

      Dr. Tannous

      Doctor sheds light on complex nature of digestive conditions at RGA

      Dr. George Tannous brings to Rockford Gastroenterology Associates a passion for continually studying and understanding how the digestive system is an integral part of brain and overall body function.

      Dr. Tannous grew up in Cleveland and developed an interest in health care after shadowing a family friend during high school. He did a lot of volunteer work in college, which cemented his desire to help people.

      He completed his medical degree at the University of Cincinnati, followed by his residency in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology fellowship at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals of Cleveland.

      "I understood the GI system more intuitively than other things," he recalled. "I do like the fact that we follow our patients long-term and that our job has elements of procedural work and clinical work. I also like taking care of acute problems in the inpatient setting."

      Dr. Tannous was introduced to RGA as a fellow when he spent a day shadowing current RGA physician and Cleveland native, Dr. Ilche Nonevski. He joined the RGA team in 2014, drawn by the family-centric nature of the practice and its strong reputation for quality clinical care and research.

      "I work alongside well-trained colleagues every day. Everybody gets along inside and outside of the workplace," he noted. "The way this organization works, there is support from the top down. We make it a priority to always try to do what's right for our patients, while also taking care of each other's well-being. There is no place like RGA."

      During his training, Dr. Tannous developed an interest in neurogastroenterology, which studies how the brain and the gut interact with each other. He gained a deeper understanding of this subspecialty after completing a fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Tannous serves as the Director of the GI Motility Program at RGA.

      Although he has a subspecialty interest, Dr. Tannous has been broadly trained to diagnose and treat a variety of GI disorders, including liver disease, hepatitis C and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). He and Dr. Nonevski in 2016 implemented an exciting treatment for fecal incontinence called InterStim™, which helps restore bladder and bowel control by stimulating the nerves that control these functions.

      "We've had very good success for our patients with our InterStim program, and it's among the most professionally rewarding services we provide," he said. "It's exciting to see someone who has suffered so miserably for so many years improve in such a rapid fashion. We're helping people get their lives back."

      The two RGA physicians also help diagnose and treat patients with swallowing problems and other esophageal issues using a procedure called esophageal manometry. In the hospital inpatient setting, Dr. Tannous and other RGA doctors address serious issues such as GI bleeding and liver failure.

      It's these complex facets of the field that Dr. Tannous is most passionate about.

      "Gastroenterologists do more than just colonoscopies. Our training allows to us help patients survive a serious gastrointestinal bleed, cure hepatitis C, and gain a more normal quality of life by treating their Crohn's disease or Ulcerative colitis," Dr. Tannous said.

      In addition to working at RGA, Dr. Tannous teaches at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. Part of that outreach allows RGA to function like an academic medical group, he said. He also appreciates the ability to consult with other physicians on treatment plans for patients. "It's like having world experts just 10 feet away," he said. "It's a dream. I love working here."

      Away from work, Dr. Tannous lives in Rockford with his wife, Marwa, and they have two children. He enjoys rooting for Cleveland-based sports teams, reading, playing golf and playing the occasional basketball game with medical students.