Digestive Disease Associates, P.A. (DDA) was formed in 1996 and is now the largest single specialty gastroenterology group in Howard and Baltimore counties.  We currently staff 16 gastroenterologists and two nurse practitioners.




Richard Andorsky, M.D.

Thomas Abernathy, M.D.

Biju Alex, M.D.

Allen Banegura, M.D.

Kester Crosse, M.D

Grishma Joy, M.D.

Preston Kim, M.D.

Vijay Narayen, M.D.

Jeffery van den Broek, D.O.

Thomas Abernathy, M.D.

Allen Banegura, M.D.

Christopher Kim, M.D.

Natarajan Ravendhran, M.D.

Louis Salas, M.D.

Neeraj Sardana, M.D.

Missale Solomon, M.D.

Hossein Tavassolie, M.D.

Alana Harris, CRNP

Digestive Disease Associates services Howard County, Anne Arundel County, southwest Baltimore County, and Baltimore City.  In addition to our office locations, we operate two state-of-the-art outpatient endoscopy centers where patients can have their endoscopic procedures done in a safe, comfortable, and friendly environment.  DDA physicians hold privileges at Howard County General Hospital and Saint Agnes Hospital.  DDA also operates a research division participating in clinical studies in the areas of ulcer disease, Hepatitis C, Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


DDA offers a full range of services specializing in diseases of the digestive tract and liver:

      • Screening Colonoscopy
      • Direct Access Screening ColonoscopyColumbia Gastroenterology, Anne Arundel Gastroenterologists
      • Upper GI Endoscopy (Gastroscopy)
      • Band ligation of esophageal varices
      • Colon Polypectomy
      • Esophageal Dilation
      • Esophageal Manometry
      • Feeding tube placement
      • H Pylori Breath Test
      • Hemorrhoid Banding
      • Incontinence Therapy
      • Infusion Services (Remade, Entyvio, Cimzia, Stelara, Simponi Aria and Injectafer (Iron))
      • Liver Biopsy
      • Liver Fibroscan
      • Video Capsule Endoscopy
      • Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)
      • Therapeutic Endoscopy
      • 48 Hour Esophageal pH Monitoring


For more information about our physicians and services, call Digestive Disease Associates at 410-715-4655 or visit our website at




Question: What is a gastroenterologist?

Answer:  A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system.


Questions: What is colon/colorectal cancer and what causes it?

Answer: Colon cancer forms in the tissues of the colon, which is the largest part of the intestine. Most colon cancers begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids to aid in digestion and the elimination of waste products. Rectal cancer forms in the tissues of the rectum, the last several inches of the large intestine before the anus. Either of these cancers is called colorectal cancer.  Though scientists are unsure of the exact causes of colon and colorectal cancer, some risk factors have been identified, including being over age 50, presence of polyps, a high-fat diet, family or personal history of colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases, a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, obesity, smoking and alcohol, growth hormone disorder and radiation therapy for cancer.


Question: What is an endoscopy?

Answer: An endoscopy is a procedure where the doctor uses an endoscope, which is a long, flexible lighted tube to examine the inside of your gastrointestinal tract.


Question: What is a colonoscopy?

Answer: Colonoscopy is a procedure which enables a physician (usually a gastroenterologist) to directly view and examine the entire colon. It is effective in the diagnosis and/or evaluation of various GI disorders (e.g. colon polyps, colon cancer, diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease, bleeding, change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, obstruction and abnormal x-rays or CT scans) as well as in providing therapy (for example, removal of polyps or control of bleeding). It is also used for screening for colon cancer. A key advantage of this technique is that it allows both imaging of abnormal findings and also therapy or removal of these lesions during the same examination. This procedure is particularly helpful for identification and removal of precancerous polyps.


Questions: How long does a colonoscopy take?

Answer: The procedure itself typically lasts approximately 30 minutes. When complete, your nurse will take you into a recovery area, where the sedation quickly wears off.


Question: Is a colonoscopy painful?  Will I be sedated?

Answer: No, colonoscopy is usually not painful! Almost all colonoscopies can be performed using “intravenous sedation” in which you are very drowsy, but comfortable and still breathing on your own. The most common type of sedation also has a mild amnesiac effect, so most patients do not even remember the procedure. Your doctor can discuss with you the best form of sedation to suit your needs.


Question: What is the “prep” for colonoscopy like?

Answer: This is an important obstacle in the eyes of many patients to getting a colonoscopy, but it need not be! There are a variety of preparation methods for colonoscopy ranging from liquids (of varying quantity) with or without enemas, to pills, which rid your colon of feces. A clean colon is essential to allow for a careful examination for polyps or other abnormalities. Your doctor can discuss and prescribe the most appropriate preparation method for you, taking into account various factors such as your age, personal preferences, kidney function and physical stamina.

      • The most popular preparation used for colonoscopy involves drinking a volume of solution of polyethylene glycol (PEG). This solution causes a diarrhea that effectively rids the colon of its contents. Various fruit flavors are available and patients have several hours to drink it. Usually a patient will have clear liquids the day of the preparation (day before the colonoscopy) and then take half of the prep in the late afternoon or that evening. The other half is done approximately 5 hours before coming in for the test the following day. Patients are encouraged to drink a lot of fluids and to continue clear liquids up until 2 hours before their scheduled procedure.

      • Smaller volumes of solution or pill preparations are also available with similarly good outcomes to PEG for people who dread the thought of large volumes of liquid.


Question: What is a colon polyp?

Answer: Anyone can develop colon polyps, a small clump of cells that forms on the colon lining. Colon polyps can be raised or flat. Many middle-aged and older adults have one or more colon polyps, though you’re at a higher risk if you are 50 or older, are overweight or a smoker, eat a high-fat, low-fiber diet, or have a personal or family history of polyps or colon cancer. It’s important to remember that the great majority of colon polyps are harmless, but some can become cancerous over time. Screening is especially important because most polyps don’t cause symptoms. In most cases, the doctor removes colon polyps during flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy and then tests them for cancer.


Question: Who is at risk for colon/colorectal cancer?


      • Everyone age 50 and older

      • The average age to develop colorectal cancer is 70 years, and 93% of cases occur in persons 50 years of age or older. Current recommendations are to begin screening (colonoscopy) at age 50 if there are no risk factors other than age for colorectal cancers. A person whose only risk factor is their age is said to be at average risk.

      • Men and women

      • Men tend to get colorectal cancer at an earlier age than women, but women live longer so they ‘catch up’ with men and thus the total number of cases in men and women is equal

      • Anyone with a family history of colorectal cancer

      • If a person has a history of two or more first-degree relatives (parent, sibling, or child) with colorectal cancer, or any first-degree relatives diagnosed under age 60, the overall colorectal cancer risk is three to six times higher than that of the general population. For those with one first-degree relative diagnosed with colorectal cancer at age 60 or older, there is an approximate two times greater risk of colon cancer than that observed in the general population. Special screening programs are used for those with a family history of colorectal cancer. A well-documented family history of adenomas is also an important risk factor.

      • Anyone with a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomas at any age, or cancer of endometrium (uterus) or ovary diagnosed before age 50


Persons who have had colorectal cancer or adenomas removed are at increased risk of developing additional adenomas or cancers. Women diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer before age 50 are at increased risk of colorectal cancer. These groups should be checked by colonoscopy at regular intervals, usually every 3 to 5 years. Women with a personal history of breast cancer have only a very slight increase in risk of colorectal cancer.

For more information about our physicians and services, call Digestive Disease Associates at 410-715-4655 or visit our website at

Directory Of Services

Breast Surgery

Breast Surgery

The board certified surgeons at Maryland Surgeons specialize in breast surgery and the treatment of breast disease, both benign and malignant. We believe a close doctor-patient relationship is key to the success of your individual treatment.



Cardiovascular Specialists of Maryland is the largest cardiology practice in Howard County. Our cardiologists are the best in their field. We are at the forefront of cardiology, and have a full-time clinical research department.

Claudia Mayer Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center

The Claudia Mayer / Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center

offers hope and support to patients diagnosed with cancer. Services include counseling, cancer support groups, wellness classes, educational resources, wig and prosthesis consultations, massage and more.



The doctors at Maryland Endocrine, PA specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic disorders, including thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, pituitary disorders and more.



Digestive Disease Associates is the largest gastroenterology group in the area. We offer a full range of services including colonoscopy, endoscopy, Remicade infusion and more.

General Dentistry

General Dentistry

Thomas England, DMD is an experienced dentist you can trust for all of your dental work. Dental services include preventative dentistry (cleanings, fillings, etc.), crowns and bridges, veneers, teeth whitening and more.

General Surgery

General Surgery

The Board Certified surgeons at Maryland Surgeons perform general surgery including abdominal surgery, hernia repair, gallbladder surgery, oncologic surgery endocrine surgery and more. We pioneered the use of minimally invasive surgery at Howard County General Hospital.

HCGH Wellness Center

The HCGH Wellness Center

provides wellness programs, health screenings, senior exercise programs and more to the public, with an emphasis on prevention and early detection of health issues.

Hematology / Medical Oncology

Maryland Oncology Hematology

offers expert care for patients with cancer and blood disorders. Our physicians are nationally recognized as Top Doctors by U.S. News & World Report.

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Signature OB / GYN

has a diverse group of doctors specializing in obstetrics and gynecology to serve women throughout their lives. We offer both routine and specialized gynecology and obstetrics care, and have the largest and most active midwifery practice in Howard County.

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral & Maxillofacial

Central Maryland Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery offers a full range of oral and maxillofacial surgical services including wisdom teeth surgery, dental implants, grafting, facial trauma treatment, obstructive sleep apnea surgery and more.

Orthopedics & Physical Therapy

Orthopedics & Physical Therapy

Orthopedic Associates of Central Maryland has fifteen orthopedic surgeons to serve you. We are skilled in back surgery, hand surgery, foot and ankle surgery, shoulder surgery, joint replacement surgery, sports medicine, physical therapy, pain management and more.

Outpatient Lab

Outpatient Lab

443-718-3102 Our normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:00am-7:00pm. No appointment is needed; we operate on a walk-in basis. We are also open Saturday and Sunday from 7:00am-7:00pm for STAT (needed immediately) testing..

Pain Management

Pain Management

The Comprehensive Pain Management Center works with you to treat and manage your acute and chronic pain. This includes pain from migraines, arthritis, back pain, cancer and a variety of other causes of pain.



The Johns Hopkins Outpatient Pharmacy located on the first floor of the Howard County Medical Pavilion values the patronage of both patients and employees. We strive to exceed all service expectations through the accurate, timely and professional provision of prescription services..

Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgery

Maryland Plastic Surgeons are board certified professionals who perform a range of cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. These can include breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, liposuction, face lift, rhinoplasty, as well as a number of non-surgical skin care options.

Radiation Oncology

Radiation Oncology

Central Maryland Radiation Oncology offers the latest options in radiation treatment, including medical trials. Our radiation oncologists and the rest of your radiation oncology team put your care first and foremost.

Thoracic Surgery

General Surgery

The Board Certified surgeons at Maryland Surgeons perform general surgery including abdominal surgery, hernia repair, gallbladder surgery, oncologic surgery endocrine surgery and more. We pioneered the use of minimally invasive surgery at Howard County General Hospital.



Central Maryland Urology Associates has seven board-certified urologists to serve you. We provide expert diagnosis and treatment of male and female incontinence, bladder and kidney disorders, kidney stone evaluations, vasectomy, male infertility evaluation, prostate treatment and more.