Month: March 2015

Choosing a Surgeon: What’s Best for You?

DrJohnsonChoosing a surgeon is very important considering that in many cases, he or she will literally have your life in their hands. Making sure that you have good communication, trust in the doctor’s ability, and accessibility/availability is key to finding the right surgeon for you.

Communication

No matter how well qualified your doctor may be, you will not have a good experience if you cannot effectively communicate your concerns and get an adequate response. Most patients need a doctor willing and able to spend time discussing their concerns. Do you feel like your doctor answers all your questions? Does he/she provide information in a way that you understand? Do you feel comfortable asking all of the questions you have?

Competency

Ask your doctor how often he/she performs the surgery you are having done. Most often you will not need to find someone who just performs your procedure, but you also don’t want a surgeon who has never performed the procedure you are having. Look for a doctor who regularly performs your surgery. It is okay to ask these questions:

o Do you feel comfortable performing this procedure?

o What is the average complication rate?

o What is your complication rate?

o Can I get a second opinion? o Are you board certified?

Accessibility/Availability

Is your doctor located in a place you can easily get to? Not only will it be more convenient for you, but it can also improve your rehabilitation. Your doctor will be close by to guide you and help if you encounter any problems.

If you call your doctor’s office, do they respond in a timely manner? How are on-call duties shared among your doctor’s practice partners? Will he/she be available or will someone else? Make sure that the surgeon you choose will be available to you in case you have a complication or if the surgery needs to be revised. A busy surgeon is usually a good surgeon, but a surgeon that is too busy to see patients is not an ideal choice. Read more online at: http://www.surgery.com/article/choosing-surgeon

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Expanding the Use of the Robot in General Surgery

roboticsThe robot is widely used within urology and gynecology, with general surgery seen as the next frontier for expansion on the platform. There is considerable evidence that enthusiasm for robotics is escalating among general surgeons. According to the marketing division of Intuitive Surgical, the company that markets the da Vinci surgical system, general surgeons are among those most commonly completing the clinical pathway required for credentialing. Dr. Johnson has been using this minimally invasive method for several years now with excellent results.

Doctors agree that it is like having a second set of hands. With assistance from robotic arms, they can make micro-movements to enhance hand maneuverability. Magnified, three-dimensional images give better visibility in small confined spaces that are difficult to see and operate in, even when doing open surgery. The robotic system is able to facilitate surgery deep in the body, giving tremendous visualization and access that was previously not possible. This has enabled minimally invasive surgery for both malignant and benign diseases. These patients can now experience the benefits of less pain and shorter recovery times.

With the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, Dr. Johnson can operate through just a few small incisions. The system features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. As a result, it enables Dr. Johnson and other surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity, and control. Minimally invasive da Vinci uses the latest in surgical and robotics technologies, and is beneficial for performing both routine and complex surgeries.

As with any treatment option, robotic surgery may not be appropriate for everyone. You should discuss treatment options with Dr. Johnson to find out if you are a good candidate for robotic surgery.

Read more online at: http://bulletin.facs.org/2013/07/the-future-of-robotics/

Don’t be Mean to your Spleen

spleenYour spleen is part of your lymphatic system and is a soft, spongy organ that is located under your rib cage on the left side of your abdomen. Although you can live without one, the spleen performs several critical jobs and can be easily damaged. Among other things, your spleen:

  • Filters out and destroys old and damaged blood cells
  • Plays a key role in preventing infection by producing white blood cells called lymphocytes and acting as a first line of defense against invading pathogens
  • Stores red blood cells and platelets, the cells that help your blood clot

The spleen is relatively easily damaged and can rupture from a blow to the abdomen like in a car accident, sporting injury, or a fight, for example. Without emergency treatment, a ruptured spleen can cause life-threatening internal bleeding.  Some ruptured spleens require emergency surgery.

Signs and symptoms of a ruptured spleen include:

  • Pain in the upper left portion of the abdomen
  • Tenderness when you touch the upper left portion of the abdomen
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion

Your spleen can also become enlarged from many different causes such as viruses like mononucleosis, infections from bacteria or parasites, hypersplenism, or cancer, among other things. An enlarged spleen affects its vital functions. For instance, as your spleen grows larger, it begins to filter normal red blood cells as well as abnormal ones, reducing the number of healthy cells in your bloodstream. It also traps too many platelets. Eventually, excess red blood cells and platelets can clog your spleen, interfering with its normal functioning. An enlarged spleen may even outgrow its own blood supply, which can damage or destroy sections of the organ.

If you have any of the symptoms above or have been diagnosed with a spleen disorder, contact Dr. Johnson for a consultation.

Read more online at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/spleendiseases.html

The Pancreas: Functions and Diseases

pancreasBecause the pancreas isn’t seen or felt in our day-to-day lives, most people don’t know as much about it as they do about other parts of their bodies. It is one of those organs that we don’t think about unless there is something wrong with it. Unfortunately there are many serious, life-threatening ailments associated with this important organ. Perhaps the first to come to mind is diabetes – type 1 and type 2. We also hear about pancreatic cancer – all too often resulting in the death of someone. Learning about this organ and its maladies could prove to be a life-saving lesson.

The pancreas is a long (about 6 inches) flattened gland located deep in the abdomen, with part of it sandwiched between the stomach and the spine. The other part is nestled in the curve of the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). It’s really two glands mixed together into one organ. The bulk of the pancreas is composed of “exocrine” cells that produce enzymes to help with the digestion of food. The second functional component of the pancreas is the “endocrine” pancreas. The endocrine pancreas is composed of endocrine cells that release their secretions such as insulin and glucagon into the blood stream helping to control blood sugar levels.

There are several serious conditions associated with the pancreas, but perhaps the three we hear about most are:

  • Type 1 diabetes – the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Lifelong insulin injections are required to control blood sugar.
  • Type 2 diabetes – the pancreas loses the ability to appropriately produce and release insulin. The body also becomes resistant to insulin, and blood sugar rises.
  • Pancreatic cancer – the most common type arises from the cells that line the pancreatic duct. Because there are usually few or no early symptoms, pancreatic cancer is often advanced by the time it’s discovered.

To learn more about the pancreas and conditions, symptoms, and treatments go to: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pancreaticdiseases.html

Begin to Learn about Benign Tumors and Surgical Methods

tumorsThe cause of tumors is virtually unknown, but while there are different types of tumors, basically they are abnormal growths caused by uncontrolled cell division. Some theories suggest genetics play a part, others think trauma could be involved. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that the thought of having a tumor can be frightening. Sometimes a tumor can be quite serious and even life-threatening, especially if malignant or cancerous; however, many tumors are benign or non-cancerous. Usually a sample of the affected tissue or sometimes even the whole tumor has to be studied under a microscope (biopsied) to determine if it is benign or malignant.

Benign tumors grow only in one place. They cannot spread or invade other parts of your body. Even so, they can be dangerous if they press on vital organs, such as your brain. Treatment often involves surgical removal because these tumors may be causing pain or affecting functionality of the organs involved.

Of course all cases are unique, but whenever possible, Dr. Johnson recommends less invasive robotic surgery for tumor removal. These surgeries have substantial benefits such as:

  • Faster recovery
  • Less pain
  • Smaller incisions
  • Quicker return to normal activities
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Decreased risk of infection
  • Less blood loss

Robotic assisted surgery provides Dr. Johnson with a groundbreaking alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy. It enables him to perform even the most complex and delicate procedures through very small incisions with unmatched precision.

All surgeries have risks associated with them, but using minimally-invasive robotic surgery reduces many of the complications seen in open and even laparoscopic procedures.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a tumor, whether benign or malignant, or you have symptoms often associated with tumors, contact Dr. Johnson for a consultation.

Read about symptoms and treatments of tumors here: http://www.medicinenet.com/tumor_grade/article.htm