Month: February 2015

Benefits of Outpatient Surgical Procedure

outpatientWith improved technology and advances in anesthesia and pain management, outpatient (sometimes called ambulatory) surgery is being performed for many less-invasive procedures with overwhelming success. Of course, each case is unique, but generally for procedures including gallbladder removal and hernia repair, the benefits of outpatient surgery make it far more attractive than a stay in the hospital.

Benefits include:

  • Convenience – The convenience of recovering in your home generally makes recovery time easier than an in-hospital stay.
  • Lower cost – Since there are no hospital room charges, costs are much lower for outpatient surgery. Some insurance companies will cover certain surgical procedures only on an outpatient basis, unless your physician certifies that you require a more intensive level of post-operative care due to an underlying medical condition.
  • Reduced stress – In the majority of cases, outpatient surgery is less stressful than inpatient surgery. This is especially true for children who are afraid of being away from home. Most people prefer to recover in their homes rather than in the hospital.
  • Scheduling is more predictable – In a hospital setting, emergency surgeries and procedures that take longer than expected can delay scheduled surgeries. An outpatient setting can generally stay within a set schedule since the procedures are less complex and more routine.

The benefits don’t stop with the patient either. Recovering at home often makes things much easier for caregiving. Not having to drive to and park at the hospital, being able to provide meals for caregiver, patient, and often other family members is less expensive and more convenient, and if there are small children at home, having mommy or daddy nearby can help ease fear and confusion for them.

If you are considering surgery, contact Dr. Johnson to investigate your options.

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Appendicitis: Symptoms and Treatment

appendicitisComplaints of a pain in the side will almost always bring the suggestion, “Maybe it’s appendicitis!” It’s true that pain is one of the symptoms, but what is appendicitis, and how do you know if you really might be having an attack? If you are suffering from appendicitis, what is the treatment?

Let’s start by looking at what the organ known as the appendix does. The human appendix is a finger-shaped pouch that projects from the colon on the lower right side of the abdomen. Previously thought to have no redeeming functions, new research shows that the appendix seems to play a part in immune functions and digestion, and it is especially important during fetal development through the third decade of life.

When this small organ becomes inflamed and filled with pus, it is called appendicitis. This is thought to be caused by infection that finds its way into the organ or perhaps from a blockage containing bacteria that causes infection.

Regardless of the cause, appendicitis usually presents itself as pain near the navel, moving to the lower right side and becoming severe. The pain is often made worse by coughing or other body-jarring movements. Sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea, and abdominal bloating, appendicitis can be quite painful and serious.  If not treated promptly, the appendix can even rupture, leading to serious issues.

Typically, surgery to remove the appendix (appendectomy) along with antibiotics for infection is the preferred treatment for appendicitis. Appendectomy can be performed as open surgery requiring a relatively large incision or laparoscopically with a few very small abdominal incisions. In general, laparoscopic surgery takes less recovery time with less pain and scarring, but each case is unique.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Johnson to discuss surgical options.

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Rev up Romance: How a Healthy Lifestyle Lifts Libido

unnamedAs we near February 14th, we are inundated with advertisements, merchandise, and decorations for Valentine’s Day. All of these intending to, and often succeeding in, raising one’s expectations for a romantic day starting with exchanging cards, candy, or gifts and ending with emotional closeness and maybe even physical intimacy. Did you know that living a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise and good eating habits can increase your odds of realizing that romantic ideal?

Consider this:

♥ Exercise boosts endorphins, lifting your mood and increasing your energy.

♥ Physical fitness can increase blood flow, which men and women both need for sexual arousal.

♥ Being fit makes people feel sexier and have healthy self-images.

♥ Exercise helps relieve stress; less stress makes it easier to get in the mood for intimacy.

♥ Eating healthy helps keep arteries clear which is needed for that very important good blood circulation.

♥ Consuming the right nutrients (like iron) keeps energy levels up and helps ward off fatigue.

♥ Eating healthy helps you maintain a healthy weight; obesity can throw hormones out of balance leading to low libido.

Sex certainly isn’t everything in a romantic relationship, but it is an important aspect. Keeping yourself healthy and fit offer significant benefits to you and your partner – in and out of the bedroom.

This Valentine’s Day, invite your partner for a romantic walk, an energetic game of tennis, or some other physical activity you enjoy can together. Substitute high-fat comfort foods with healthy choices. (Many healthy options like strawberries, sweet potatoes, and almonds are said to be aphrodisiacs.)

The bottom line is that what’s good for your heart is also good for your sex life. Leading a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can lead you to a long and sexually-satisfying life.

Finally, you don’t have to take chocolate and wine off of your list this holiday. Dark chocolate and red wine both contain antioxidants which have been shown to be good for heart health when consumed in moderation. Happy Valentine’s Day from Dr. Johnson and his team!

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Robotic Surgery: Generating Successful Outcomes over the Years

robotic surgeryMedical historians disagree on which was the first robot for medical use and when the first robot-assisted surgery took place. Some say the first was the “Arthrobot”, which was developed and used for the first time in Vancouver, BC, Canada in 1983. Others say the first documented use of a robot to assist with a surgical procedure occurred in 1985 when the PUMA 560 was used with CT scan to place a needle for a neurosurgical biopsy.  They can agree on one thing about its history, though; the robotic system offered greater precision and successful outcomes. This led to the first robot-assisted laparoscopic procedure in 1987.

Experts continued to improve on these surgery-enhancing robotic machines over the next 20 years, and in 2000, the da Vinci robot became the first complete robotic surgical system to be approved by the FDA for general laparoscopic surgery.  Since then, the list of procedures performed laparoscopically with robot assistance has grown at a pace consistent with improvements in technology and the technical skill of surgeons. Now daVinci is used frequently around the world for performing bariatric and gastrointestinal surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, ear, nose and throat surgery, gynecological surgery, and even pediatric surgery, among others.

Surgeons, patients, and insurance companies agree that minimally invasive, robot-assisted surgery offers great benefits over traditional open surgery. Incisions are smaller, so procedures leave little to no scars. The risk of infection is less, hospital stays are shorter, if necessary at all, and convalescence is significantly reduced. Many studies have shown that laparoscopic procedures result in decreased hospital stays, a quicker return to the workforce, decreased pain, and better postoperative immune function.

If you think you might be a candidate for robotic surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Johnson, a Las Vegas board-certified robotic surgeon.

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