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Potential Alternative For Breast Reconstruction Following A Mastectomy

Though mastectomies are often a necessary and even welcome intervention to save the lives of women suffering from breast cancer, they also may contribute to the overall physical and emotional trauma facing the patients. In order to alleviate some of these problems, surgeons have developed breast reconstruction procedures that usually entail restoring the mound by implanting a silicone sac filled with salt solution (saline) or gel under the skin and pectoral muscles. The traditional process to prepare for implantation of the sac may be long and sometimes painful because it involves weekly bolus saline injections (sometimes up to 22 weeks) in order to create a pocket of sufficient size.

A potential alternative solution is being developed by AirXpanders, a med tech start-up in Palo Alto that focuses on tissue expansion for breast reconstruction following cancer. Their system, known as AeroForm, just recently Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Improving Surgical Residents’ Bedside Manner

I was alerted to this Archives of Surgery article (full reference below) by MedPage Today:  Role Playing Boosts Surgical Residents’ Bedside Manner.

I find it intriguing.  Role playing gives you a chance for a “do-over” when you make a social or communication faux pas.

So much of medicine is communication.  Those of us who have been at it for years, deliver bad news differently (learned the hard way) now than we did previously.  You choose your words more carefully (though I still occasionally screw up).  Some words are more emotionally charged than others.  Some patients want more information than others.

The University of Connecticut Health Center conducted a prospective study  of a pilot project designed to  teach surgical residents patient-centered communication skills.

The study offered Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Preparation For Surgical Patients With A Latex Allergy

A couple of nice articles recently on latex allergy have crossed my path – one in a journal I subscribe to (Aesthetic Surgery Journal) and the other via twitter and @Allergy (Ves Dimov, M.D., blogs at Allergy Notes).  I’ve put both full references below.

Latex allergy became widely recognized in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  The increase in latex allergies cases is felt to be associated with the increase use of latex gloves and implementation of universal precautions (now known as standard precautions) in the 1980s.

Management of possible or confirmed latex allergic patients begin with history and suspicion:

All patients who present for surgical procedures or exams which require latex gloves (pelvic exam, dental exams, etc) should be questioned about possible latex allergy.

Patients at highest risk include those who Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Should Surgery Be Considered For A Persistently Hoarse Voice?

I was informed about this interesting concept on ABC news

With many aging baby boomers tapping into cosmetic surgery in order to look younger, some are taking it a step further to “sound” younger as well with a “voice lift”.

For some, it’s not right to look 10-20 years younger after a facelift but still sound like 70 years old.

A hoarse voice with aging is not unusual, but a surgical “voice-lift” is not necessarily the first step that should be taken.

First things first… Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

Should You Consider Surgery To Improve A Scar?

I have a wide scar on my leg that I got years ago. I have tried creams and stuff. When is surgery a good idea to improve a scar? Can a cream or a laser make it thinner?

Scar improvement has several phases and the condition of your body and how the wound occurred have parts to play. Early on after wounding there is the question of whether or not to have surgery to repair the wound. If the edges are clean and close together, then surgery is not always beneficial. If they are apart or the wound is dirty a proper medical evaluation and/or surgery can make things better down the line. When in doubt, get that evaluation.

Once the wound has started healing, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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