Posts Tagged ‘seminars’

New Application for an Old Technique

Dr. Gail Peters talks about a non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids

Many women who have uterine fibroids go through their days with no noticeable symptoms. They may even be unaware they have fibroids at all. However, for a small percentage who have symptoms, daily life can be interrupted continually by pain.

Uterine fibroids can cause a host of disruptive symptoms: unusually heavy or long menstrual periods, pain during sexual intercourse, pressure on the bladder leading to frequent trips to the bathroom, bloating, and pain in the pelvis, legs, or lower back. They affect 20% to 40% of women 20 years or older and occur in half of African American women. So far, doctors are unable to pinpoint why fibroids are more common in African Americans or why women develop them at all. But they do know that heredity and obesity are factors.

Women with problematic uterine fibroids traditionally have had only two options—a hysterectomy or a myomectomy (surgical removal of the fibroids). In fact, unwanted fibroid symptoms trigger approximately 150,000 hysterectomies each year.

Over the past decade, an old technique is providing women who suffer with uterine fibroids with a nonsurgical alternative. Physicians have used embolization for more than two decades to treat pelvic bleeding or trauma, and now they are using the procedure to shrink uterine fibroids too.

“If a gynecologist has offered a hysterectomy, a women should look into uterine fibroid embolization,” says Emory interventional radiologist Gail Peters. “The procedure is less invasive, better tolerated, and requires less time for recuperation.”

Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes embolization as a viable treatment for uterine fibroids, Peters says that some doctors are failing to talk to women about the option. “Most women come to me on their own and are looking for an alternative to surgery,” she says

What she tells them is that embolization offers fewer complications and a quicker recovery than surgical options. It has an 85% to 92% success rate compared with myomectomy, after which 10% to 30% of patients develop fibroids again. And women who experience embolization can fore-go the three- to four-day hospital stays and four to six weeks of recovery that accompany hysterectomies.

An embolization is performed through a small puncture in a groin artery. Dye is injected into the artery to identify which blood vessels supply the uterus and fibroids. The radiologist then guides a wire and catheter into the identified vessels and injects small particles that block the blood supply to the fibroids. The fibroids and the uterus shrink approximately 60% in the first year. Heavy periods usually take a few cycles to lessen. The procedure takes approximately an hour followed by a day’s stay in the hospital for intravenous pain medication. Patients usually can resume normal activity after a week.

“Most of the women I’ve treated report a significant improvement in their symptoms at their first-month check-up,” Peters says.

Learn more in person at a free seminar on Thursday, February 3rd. Call 404-778-7777 or go online to register. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 404-712-7033.

Mary Brookhart – From Breast Cancer Patient to Survivor and Advocate

Twenty years ago, Mary Brookhart began feeling weak and fatigued. On top of that, she received a set of abnormal blood test results that at the time could not be explained by the countless local physicians she visited in Rochester, MN. Mary then went in for a baseline mammogram screening and it was discovered that she had intraductal calcifications, or small bits of calcium within her mammary glands. In other words, Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Although it was suggested that Mary remain in Minnesota and seek treatment locally, Rochester was more than 1,000 miles away from her hometown of Conyers, Georgia. Mary chose instead to return home to Georgia and sought treatment at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, which is only 33 miles away from Conyers.

While at Winship, Mary was treated by Doctor Toncred Styblo and Doctor David Lawson, both of whom she refers to as her “angels.” When asked about her opinion on her cancer treatment and care specialists with Emory, Mary remarked that she felt she was “always in the best of hands.” “It was the best decision I ever made. My care here was the best I could have had, and I loved that…as much as you can love being treated for cancer, of course!”

Aside from the comfort of expert care, Mary also kept thoughts of her mother’s past and strength close to her heart. When Mary was a teenager, her mother too was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now a happy and healthy 80-year-old woman, Mary looked to her as a source of strength in fighting her own battle with cancer.

The combination of early detection, rigorous treatment and supportive physicians and family allowed Mary to beat her cancer. She was so moved by her experience that two years ago, Mary returned to Winship. This time, not as a patient, but as a supervisor of business operations for the Emory Breast Center. As an employee of the Breast Center, she is able to serve as an advocate not only for cancer patients, but for screening mammograms and Emory’s Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Seminar.

Now, those signing up for the seminar call 404-778-PINK and often times find Mary at the other end of the line. Having been a survivor herself, there she is able to catch patients at their entry point and make an immediate connection with newly diagnosed cancer patients in a time when the need it most. Her advice to patients embarking on their cancer treatment journey? “It’s OK to be afraid and mad, and for your emotions to go up and down. Just take it one day at a time.”

Mary is a truly exemplary and commendable breast cancer survivor and we admire her strength and desire to help others experiencing what she went through continue to fight the fight for survivorship.

Laser Treatment of Varicose Veins Eliminates the Need for Surgery

Varicose Vein Laser TreatmentLeg pain, trouble with blood flow, ulcers, and undesirable appearance are just a few of the consequences of varicose veins in the leg, which affect between 15 and 25 percent of all adults. Commonly, varicose veins have been treated with a procedure known as vein stripping, which involves multiple incisions (and often scarring), general anesthesia, and a fairly long recovery process. However, an innovative procedure involving lasers is being offered at Emory to treat varicose veins without surgery.

A laser fiber is threaded through the troubled vein and emits a highly concentrated beam of light, which collapses and obliterates the varicose vein. Using laser treatment, blood flow to the troublesome varicose veins is instantly shut off and the body reroutes the blood flow to other healthy functioning veins. Unlike surgical treatment of varicose veins, with laser treatment the troubled varicose vein does not need to be removed from the body and does not require stitches. And because the laser delivers energy to the vein with such precision, surrounding tissue is not affected or damaged.

This laser treatment for varicose veins results in very little post procedure discomfort and in clinical trials has proven to be 97 percent effective. Laser treatment is covered by most major insurance providers and Medicare. To learn more about Emory’s laser treatment of varicose veins, please attend our upcoming varicose veins seminar (choose “varicose veins” from drop-down) on Thursday, July 15 at 6:30PM. The seminar will be held at Emory University Hospital.