Liver and Pancreas Diseases at UnityPoint Health | Des Moines

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Advanced Liver and Pancreas Diseases

Diseases of the liver, gallbladder, biliary tract and pancreas (HPB) are becoming increasingly common and their management is complex. Patients with these conditions are continually faced with critical decisions. To help support our patients throughout their journey and ensure they receive the best care possible, providers at John Stoddard, The Iowa Clinic, Iowa Radiology and UnityPoint Health - Des Moines has come together to form the Center for Advanced Liver and Pancreas Diseases.

The Center for Advanced Liver and Pancreas Diseases is comprised of a comprehensive, multi-specialty team of physician experts providing the highest standard of treatment available right here in our community. The experienced team is the longest-standing of its kind in Central Iowa, consisting of specialists in the areas of hepatology, surgery, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, gastroenterology, medical oncology and support services provided by social workers, dieticians, cancer care coordinators, genetic counselors and specialty-trained staff.


Our facilities feature state-of-the-art equipment with the latest technology for the diagnosis and treatment of complex bile ducts, liver, pancreas and gallbladder diseases. This multidisciplinary team treats benign and malignant diseases of the liver, pancreas, duodenum, gallbladder and bile ducts.


Board certified gastroenterologists offer advanced endoscopic techniques, including:

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) - endoscopic views with diagnostic and therapeutic approaches of biliary and pancreatic systems
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) - Ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of lesions
  • EGD and colonoscopy - diagnostic and therapeutic


Center for Liver Disease located at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines is a multidisciplinary treatment center offering:

  • Management of liver diseases, including complex referral cases 
  • Management of end-stage liver disease
  • Pre and post-transplantation evaluation

Liver: Non-Malignant Conditions

  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Complex liver diseases
  • Liver cysts and polycystic disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver echinococcosis
  • Benign liver tumors (hemangioma)
  • Focal nodular hyperplasia
  • Adenoma
  • Budd-Chiari syndrome
  • Portal vein thrombosis
  • Liver abscess

More a more comprehensive listing of liver services, please visit our Liver Disease page.

Interventional Radiology

Our interventional radiologists use minimally invasive, image-guided techniques to treat tumors or obstructions, including:

  • Arterial embolization to reduce tumor size radioactive microspheres (sir-spheres) and chemoembolization (drug-eluting beads)
  • Balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (BRTO)
  • Biopsies (transjugular liver with pressure)
  • Denver shunts
  • Paracentesis
  • Percutaneous ablation using microwave/RFA/Cryo
  • Portal vein embolization (PVE)
  • Complex biliary drainage: PTC
  • Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) placement to create alternate pathways to bypass blood flow through a diseased liver

Medical Oncology

Our medical oncologists specialize in:

  • Chemotherapy, including patient enrollment in clinical trials of new cytotoxic and biologic agents
  • Palliative, symptomatic care
  • Diagnosis, cancer staging and planning of multimodality treatment in collaboration with  our surgeons, interventional radiologists and radiation oncologists

Radiation Oncology

Our radiation oncologists use the latest technologies to treat cancer, leading to less damage of healthy tissue and fewer side effects for patients. Techniques include:

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to better spare normal tissues
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) for greater accuracy
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to precisely target and destroy small tumors within the liver with five fractions of pinpointed radiation
  • Gating techniques to treat moving organs with more precision


Our surgeons have fellowship training in advanced techniques involving pancreatic, liver, and biliary surgery. Our specialists focus on the operative removal of tumors of the liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and other parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Surgical interventions include:

  • Benign and malignant diseases of the bile ducts, gallbladder, liver and pancreas
  • Liver resection, open and laparoscopic
  • Intraoperative ultrasound, open and laparoscopic
  • Radiofrequency  or microwave ablation, open and laparoscopic
  • Pancreas resection, open and laparoscopic
  • Gallbladder and biliary cancer surgery