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Saving Faces: Nerve Disorders
Pain and suffering can be quelled with the well-deployed electrode of John Tew at the UC Medical Center and Mayfield Clinic.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a seizure-like disorder affecting the cranial nerve that supplies the feeling to the face. It’s been recognized for over 2,000 years. It’s known as the “suicide disease”—people kill themselves because they can’t get relief. It’s worse than misery; the French call it tic douloureux—“painful tic.” Your face frequently turns red [and it’s] characterized by spasms.
Priming the Pump: Aortic Valve Surgery
There’s never a convenient age for heart surgery. But at Good Samaritan Hospital, J. Michael Smith is using catheter-based procedures to repair the hearts of older patients just in the nick of time.
I’ve wanted to be a heart surgeon since I was 11 years old. I really tried to find other things to like, but I couldn’t find anything I liked as much as surgery. I came to Good Samaritan in 1989 to train. Almost 10 years ago we got our first robot and I realized very quickly I’d have to travel to Europe to learn how to use the technology. That was where I first learned about the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure, and I went back to Europe to study it further. It got approved in the United States in 2011, and we did our first ones in April 2011 and about 30 since.
Heart and Soul: Cardiac Care
She’s a woman in a man’s world, but Manisha Patel—one of only two female cardiothoracic surgeons in the city—hopes to increase the standard of care when Mercy Health West Hospital opens later this year.
Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined. Thankfully, over the last decade, public knowledge about heart disease has increased dramatically. It is imperative for women to be well-informed on this subject since they are most often the decision-makers regarding health care and have the greatest impact on relatives and friends—both male and female. I’ve noticed that busy, on-the-go women often focus on others rather than themselves, so knowledge about the symptoms, which can sometimes be subtle, is important.
Tracking Cancer’s DNA: Brain Tumors
With the help of a National Institutes of Health study and patients at the UC Brain Tumor Center and Mayfield Clinic, Christopher McPherson is mapping brain cancer genomes—a visionary project that could lead to improved treatments for future generations.
As a neurosurgeon, I treat disorders of the brain, spine, and nerves that typically require surgery. There are 200,000 new brain tumors estimated to be diagnosed in 2012 nationwide—60,000 of those will be what we call primary brain tumors, which are those that start in the brain like gliomas, and the majority of those will be glioblastoma, which is the malignant form. So it’s more common than people think. We would say in some ways the gliomas are very smart cancers—they evade the immune system. They grow very fast, so they also mutate very fast; even though one therapy may work for a while, the gliomas develop resistance and change very quickly.
Learning to Inhale: Pulmonary Disease
Frank McCormack, UCHealth director of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, led a research effort that identified the first effective therapy for LAM, a rare—but life-threatening—lung disease in women.
Lymphangioleiomyoma-tosis (LAM) is very much like a slow-moving cancer. A tumor develops somewhere in the body and the cells move to the lung. They infiltrate and secrete substances that dissolve portions of the lung. Seventy percent of LAM patients will have a collapsed lung at least once. It has the potential to destroy tissues and to kill.
Lift Every Voice: Larynx Repair
Through research, Sid Khosla of the UC Health Voice & Swallowing Center explores how our voices come to be. In practice, he explores how to repair them when they leave us.
I’m a voice nerd. One reason this field fascinated me was because it was something I could apply my engineering background to; I designed a long-lasting hearing aid years ago, and was surprised to see that engineering related to the larynx in a similar way. I’m also deeply interested in the relationship between the voice and personality. People often refer to “finding their voice” in a metaphorical, internal sense, but it really is connected to our external voice as well. My patients often say, “I want to be understood.” Our ability to speak and be heard really influences who we are and how we interact with others.
Keeping It Together
Paul Favorito of Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine is using a new technique to stop shoulder dislocations and speed healing.
The shoulder’s a really cool joint, always living on the edge. It’s a fine balance of mobility and stability. Too much movement, people dislocate. Not enough, people are stiff. Athletes, for whatever reason, seem to have a lot of trouble with their shoulders. The things we ask athletes to do—throwing a baseball, serving a tennis ball—we probably weren’t designed to do. That means problems.
Best and Brightest: Treating Brain Tumors With Less Trauma
At the UC Neuroscience Institute, surgeons Lee Zimmer and Philip Theodosopoulos take a less invasive route to treat brain tumors—through your nose.
Philip Theodosopoulos: In terms of sinus surgery, even 10 years ago you couldn’t do most of what we do now. The old way involved opening the skull and sometimes breaking the jawbones to get to tumors.
Best and Brightest: Keeping Hip and Knee Replacement Patients Healthier
Good Samaritan’s Total Hip and Knee Replacement Program, directed by Mark Snyder, earns a gold seal of approval.
Hip and knee replacement is the most common major joint replacement—or resurfacing procedure—in America. There are currently approximately 300,000 total hips done and 600,000 total knees done in America each year. These numbers will increase dramatically in the next five to ten years; it’s estimated that they could go up 200 to 300 percent. We have an aging population, which is a primary driver of arthritis of the hip and knee, and [high] obesity, which greatly accelerates arthritis.
Best and Brightest: Solutions for Female Incontinence
At The Christ Hospital’s Institute for Pelvic Floor Disorders, Mickey Karram helps patients realize that the path to aging gracefully depends on good plumbing.
Pelvic floor disorders are extremely prevalent in women, almost to a point that every woman some time in her life will suffer from one. There’s a variety of different causes: The pelvic floor can be damaged by childbirth, heavy lifting, chronic disease, previous pelvic surgeries, and other causes that are not clearly understood.
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