Author Archive

Reverse Osteoporosis

Once-a-week, 15-minute workouts increase bone density.

From the beehive of the ’60s to the long waves that are popular with many women today, Linda Evans has fashioned dozens of hairstyles across her 55-year career as a hairdresser. If she has her way, she’ll fashion dozens more before she’s done.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Linda’s bone density scans have improved markedly since she began OsteoStrong workouts.

“I’m seventy-six years old, and I have a hard time thinking about quitting because I love my customers and absolutely love what I do,” says Linda, an Ohio native who got into hairdressing because she no longer wanted to work in a factory.

“I worked in a Rubbermaid® plant making all the containers and decided I wanted something better,” she says. “In my off time, friends were always asking me to do their hair, so I decided to become a professional hairdresser.”

Linda’s dedication to her profession is so great that, a few years ago, she began a specialized exercise routine designed in part to give her the physical strength to stay on her feet through her long days at work.

“I started it after I learned I had osteopenia and was close to getting osteoporosis,” Linda reveals. “I was trying to figure out what to do, and one of the ladies at the salon showed me an article in Florida Health Care News about OsteoStrong, so I decided to try it.”

Revolutionary Program

OsteoStrong is a revolutionary program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the negative effects of osteoporosis and its precursor osteopenia, two potentially severe conditions that can greatly increase the risk of bone breaks throughout the body.

Found most often in post-menopausal women, osteopenia and osteoporosis develop when new bone growth fails to keep pace with natural bone degeneration to the point where bone mineral density becomes dangerously low.

About 54 million Americans have osteopenia, osteoporosis or low bone mass, the latter of which also places them at increased risk for the hip, spine, wrist and other bone breaks that are most commonly associated with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis can even cause some to lose height, as it can affect the bones in the spine and lead to a stooped posture. Considered a silent disease by many physicians, osteoporosis often goes undetected until a bone fracture occurs, and it’s not exclusive to women.

“I’m such a fan of OsteoStrong that I’ve recommended it to some friends and to some of my customers.” – Linda

Statistics show that while one in two women will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point in her life, one in four men will suffer from a similar incident. Those odds are what prompted Linda to check out OsteoStrong.

“I was actually thinking about having stem cell therapy for a problem I was having with my left hip,” Linda says. “But after I read the article about OsteoStrong in the paper, I decided to try that instead. I’m really glad I did.”

The OsteoStrong program is designed to help people such as Linda rebuild bone through once-a-week, 15-minute workout sessions that utilize specialized strengthening equipment.
The equipment includes four bio-mechanical machines that allow users to perform resistance-based pushing and pulling exercises with their arms and/or legs. During these sessions, the user can safely exert pressure four to 12 times their body weight.

“The difference between our exercise equipment and that used at a traditional gym is that our equipment is isometric, which means tension is developed without contraction of the muscle,” states Mark Brady, president of OsteoStrong in South Pasadena.

“There is no force pushing against you, which means you create the force. On the leg press, for example, I’ve had ladies in their eighties weighing one hundred pounds who can press a thousand pounds. That’s because it’s isometric.

“For a person who weighs one hundred pounds to develop new bone working out on traditional equipment, they would need to create a resistance of well over four hundred pounds,” Mark continues.

“That simply can’t be done for ninety-nine percent of all people in a gym environment because it involves weights that they couldn’t physically move. Or, if they could move them, they’d be at high risk of injury.”

Resistance Yields Results

To understand the difference, Mark invites people to come in and try the equipment, noting that his facility offers two free sessions that allow newcomers to experience the OsteoStrong workout.

“This is an amazing concept that is the culmination of twelve years of research that looked into the body’s own adaptive response to growing new bone and muscle structure and improving the density of the bones we have,” Mark says.

“As a result of that research, it is now a known medical fact that when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing new bone tissue. And the results of these short workouts are absolutely amazing.

“On average, our studies have found that OsteoStrong improves people’s bone density from three to seven percent a year.” – Mark

“On average, our studies have found that OsteoStrong improves people’s bone density from three to seven percent a year. Also, people will increase their strength by an average of seventy-three percent over their first year at OsteoStrong.”

Mark also points out that similar studies show that doing an OsteoStrong session more than once a week does not promote any additional benefit. As a result, the workouts are not only impactful, but time efficient.

Mark encourages men and women of all ages to accept his invitation to try out the OsteoStrong equipment. He further notes it’s important to know that osteoporosis is not a disorder that is exclusive to a specific age group or gender.

“Osteoporosis is not something that only happens to old people,” he explains. “We have clients from young to old and everything in between. And men are not immune. When they start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid.

“In addition to helping them recover from it, OsteoStrong wants to help educate people about bone loss. The skeletal framework is the most important part of the body, and you need to take care of it and be aware of changes to it.”

Routinely Recommended

Linda, who visits Mark’s South Pasadena location every Monday morning, has been doing the 15-minute OsteoStrong workouts for nearly three years. She says the workouts have had a major impact on her health and well-being.

OsteoStrong improves bone density from three to seven percent a year.

“I remember that my hip started feeling better right away, after just two or three workouts,” Linda reports. “I decided that since I was feeling that much better that fast, I might as well go ahead and stick with the workouts.

“Now, my hip never hurts me at all, and the workout is such a part of my normal routine that I really miss it if I can’t get there for some reason. But I always make sure to get there during the week because it’s done so many good things for me.

“That first bone scan I had a few years ago showed I had osteopenia and was close to getting osteoporosis, but on the one I got last year, it showed that my bone density had increased significantly, and I don’t have osteopenia anymore.

“I really enjoy the workouts because it gets your body going, and I always feel great afterward. I’m such a fan of OsteoStrong that I’ve recommended it to some friends and to some of my customers. It’s great. I love it, and I love what it’s done for me.”

All in a Day’s Work

Full mouth reconstruction completed in a single visit.

A weekend trip to New England is just about all that Phoebe Dometrius needs to complete her goal of visiting all 50 states, and thanks to a newfound passion, she will likely take that trip before the new year runs out.

Photos courtesy of Bayway Dental.

Phoebe Dometrius & Dr. Sherberg

“My husband and I have done quite a bit of cruising the past couple years, not to Europe or anything like that, but to places here in North America,” says Phoebe, a 71-year-old retired nursing instructor. “That’s kind of our newfound thing.

“We really enjoy it, and one of our favorite places to visit is Canada and New England. It’s really beautiful, and I’ve got just three more states – Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut – to cross off my list, and I will have seen all fifty states.”

Residents of Texas previously, Phoebe and her husband moved to Florida in part to be closer to the cruise ports. Their move came five years ago, but it wasn’t until last year that Phoebe began trusting her teeth to a dentist here in the Sunshine State.

“I had a crown on my upper left front tooth that for years kept falling out,” Phoebe says. “My old dentist back in Texas tried to repair it, but it eventually got to a point where there was nothing left for the crown to hold on to.

“I was concerned that thing might fall out again, so I started looking for a dentist here. But I’d also lost some upper teeth over the years and had some others that were broken and aging, and it was very hard to eat with them.

“Mostly because of that front tooth, I was afraid to really bite into anything, so I was always breaking off pieces of my food and eating it that way. I knew all that needed to be fixed, and that’s why I eventually went to Bayway Dental in St. Petersburg.”

Bayway Dental is the practice of David Sherberg, DMD, FAGD. Dr. Sherberg is experienced in sedation dentistry and can perform most any dental procedure a patient requires. Upon first seeing Phoebe, he discovered she had even more trouble than she thought.

“She had the problem with the crown, and most of her upper back teeth were either missing, decayed or broken,” Dr. Sherberg reports. “But she also had a bite issue – a deep overbite – that was contributing to her teeth breaking.

“The good news was that she wasn’t in any pain at the time, but she knew she had to do something about her upper arch. She really wanted to improve her smile overall, so, from my perspective, the treatment option was obvious.

“If she wanted to be able to chew normally again, the way she did before she lost all of those teeth, the only option would be to do what we call an All-on-Four Protocol, where we give her a full, new upper arch secured by dental implants.”

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Once the implant is in the jawbone, new bone naturally grows around it to form the foundation for replacement teeth.

Replacement teeth can be a single crown that is either cemented to or screwed onto an abutment, a partial bridge that can be affixed to one or more implants, or a fixed upper or lower denture that can be fastened to a series of implants.

At Bayway Dental, the latter option calls for the removal of all remaining teeth and the placement of between four and six implants that are used to secure a temporary fixed denture that is later replaced by a permanent fixed denture.

“We call that the All-on-Four, All-on-Five or All-on-Six Protocol, and what’s great about it is that someone can literally have all their teeth taken out and then have their implants and temporary teeth placed that very same day,” Dr. Sherberg affirms.

“It has literally been fifty years since I bit into an apple, but now, I can do that again!” – Phoebe

“This is a far more convenient approach to replacement than what we had fifteen or twenty years ago, when we had to put eight to ten implants in each arch and then give the patient a regular bridge to go across it.

“That system worked well, but it took over a year to accomplish because you had to have multiple surgeries, including bone grafting, where you use patient bone or an artificial bone material to add volume to the jawbone so that it could properly support the implants.”

Depending on the amount of bone loss, which occurs naturally when teeth have been missing for a long period of time, patients needing bone grafting often had to wait up to four months for the graft to take to a point where the new bone could support an implant.

“But the All-on protocols usually do not require bone grafting, and that saves the patient time and money,” Dr. Sherberg adds. “And with this procedure, we do prosthetic planning where we analyze the patient’s jaw in 3-D and map the case out digitally.

“From the digital plan, we then make guides that we use during the surgery to make sure we’re placing the implants precisely where they need to be. Less than five percent of all dental implants are placed this way, but it’s an important step, so we do it at no additional cost.”

A Perfect Fit

Dr. Sherberg made use of all those tools in treating Phoebe, who was fit with implants and a temporary upper arch late last summer. She has since received her permanent prosthetic arch and says she couldn’t be happier with it.

“The upper arch I received is made of zirconia, and it’s really great,” Phoebe exudes. “For the first time in years – and I do mean years – I have really strong teeth. And I can bite into anything and eat anything. That is so nice.

“It has literally been fifty years since I bit into an apple but now, I can do that again. It’s so nice to have that confidence and not be afraid your tooth is going to break. And the fit is amazing.

Dr. Sherberg was so exact in fitting my arch that it fits perfectly.

“It’s stunning to me how great the fit is. It’s so much better than I ever assumed was even possible. But that’s because he uses the 3-D x-ray in the placement and because he really takes his time to make sure he does the best job he can for you.

“The other thing that’s great about this permanent arch is that the teeth are very smooth, like real teeth. Even the hygiene care is easier than I thought it would be. I use a water flosser, and because the teeth don’t come out, they’re very easy to clean.

“I’m so happy with the work Dr. Sherberg did with my upper teeth that I’m going to have the bottom teeth done, too. That’s how happy I am, and I couldn’t be happier with Dr. Sherberg’s staff. They’re all just wonderful.

“I was visiting family in Texas a while back and got an abscess on the bottom arch. When I called about it, the staff at Dr. Sherberg’s office made sure I got the antibiotics I needed right there in Texas, so I didn’t have to wait until I got home to take care of it.

“Honestly, his staff is as much a reason for going to Bayway Dental as Dr. Sherberg is. I’m impressed with every single one of them. They’re all so pleasant and professional, but they treat you like family. You can’t say that about too many places.”

Three in One

Revolutionary cataract replacement lens brings distance, intermediate and near vision into focus.

As his career as a commercial airline pilot moved into its third decade, Kenneth Ernst began to get some of the most sought-after route assignments in the industry, including one that took him halfway around the world.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

An avid trap shooter, Kenneth is seeing clay birds and real birds better than ever.

“It was the Los Angeles-to-Bangkok route,” Kenneth explains. “You go from LA to Honolulu and then to Tokyo, with overnight stays in each city. Then you fly from Tokyo to Seoul, South Korea, down to Manila and finally to Bangkok.

“You come home through Tokyo and Honolulu, and it’s a ten-day trip, but you get the rest of the month off. When you’ve been around a while, you not only get to fly those prime routes, you get to fly the biggest planes, and it’s a lot of fun.”

For Kenneth, that fun came to an end when he turned 60. Forced into retirement at that age by federal mandates, Kenneth grudgingly moved into a life of leisure, but it wasn’t long before he realized why those mandates are in place.

About ten years after retiring, Kenneth learned he had cataracts in both eyes. As cataracts do with most people, Kenneth’s developed slowly from a breakdown of the lens fibers, a clumping of their proteins or both, and caused a clouding of his natural lenses.

“When I was first diagnosed with cataracts, I was told by my eye doctor that I needed to have them taken out right away,” says Kenneth, 82. “But I didn’t feel as if my vision was all that bad at the time, so I just left it alone.

“Eventually, another eye doctor gave me what I thought was a good bit of advice. He said, When you get to the point where you’re struggling to read the paper in a brightly lit room, let me know. That’s when you’ll know it’s time to get the cataracts out.

“I thought that was a good guide to follow, and it took a while, but I finally got to that point late last summer. Just like the doctor said, I suddenly started having trouble reading the paper, even with my glasses. But I was having some other problems, too.

“I trap shoot at a sporting club down in Sarasota, and I started to have some trouble seeing the clay birds. Once that started, and with the trouble I was having reading the paper, I figured it was finally time to get my eyes fixed.”

Something New

The doctor who told Kenneth his cataracts would need to come out when he began struggling to read the paper is David E. Hall, MD, of Pasadena Eye Center in St. Petersburg. When those struggles began, Kenneth did what he’d long planned and returned to Dr. Hall.

“Kenneth is very farsighted, and with no glasses on, he could just barely see the top letter on the eye chart,” Dr. Hall reports. “He was better with his glasses on, of course, but because of the cataracts, he was struggling more than usual when he came back to me.

“The cataracts were causing a lot of glare, and especially at night, he was having trouble seeing. It was definitely time for those cataracts to come out, so we went ahead and planned out the surgery.”

With more than four million performed each year in the United States alone, cataract surgery has become one of the more common procedures in all of medicine. Typically completed in less than 15 minutes, it is also one of medicine’s quickest procedures.

With a break of a week or two in between, ophthalmologists typically correct one eye at a time and start by breaking up and removing the cloudy, natural lens using an ultrasonic device. Once that lens is removed, an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL, is implanted in its place.

IOLs permanently correct the vision, and they come in various forms. Standard IOLs correct vision primarily for distance, but patients can have one eye fixed for distance and the other corrected for reading, an option called monovision.

“It’s like someone has turned a light on for me, because I see everything in much sharper, greater detail than I did before.” – Kenneth

A third option is multifocal IOLs, which act like bifocals and correct vision for distance and either reading or intermediate tasks.

Also available is a revolutionary third multifocal option that works like a trifocal lens by correcting distance, reading and intermediate vision.

The new trifocal IOL is called the PanOptix® lens. It’s been available to patients in Europe for four years and to patients in Canada for two years but just recently received FDA approval for use in the United States. Dr. Hall says it’s a game-changer.

“Until now, we would fit a patient with a multifocal lens, and most patients could see perfectly at a distance and up close, but that level in between was just okay,” Dr. Hall says. “It was clear, but the focus wasn’t great, although it did get better after a year or two.

“With the new PanOptix lens, patients can see clearly at all three distances right from the very beginning. We’ve implanted this new lens in several of our patients wishing for multifocal lenses, and the results have been incredible.”

Dr. Hall notes that the PanOptix lens may not work well for every patient. He said patients suffering from macular degeneration, a corneal condition or diplopia, which is better known as double vision, are not good candidates for the PanOptix lens.

But for patients such as Kenneth, or anyone who may be nearsighted but does not have another lingering vision issue, the PanOptix lens is fast becoming the gold standard for replacement lenses during cataract surgery.

“It truly is one of the most exciting things happening in cataract surgery right now,” Dr. Hall adds. “And I’m so happy with the results we’re getting with it that I’m now making the PanOptix lens my lens of choice for all my patients who want multifocal IOLs.”

In keeping with that stand, Dr. Hall suggested the PanOptix lens for Kenneth, who has been wearing glasses since he was 61. Kenneth says the new PanOptix lenses have given him better vision than he ever had with glasses and that the change was immediate.

“I used to wear progressive lenses, where there’s no bifocal line, and when I started that, it took me about six weeks to get used to them,” Kenneth says. “With these new lenses, there was no adjustment. It was like I got brand new eyes.

“I’m measuring 20/25 in both eyes and not wearing glasses at all for anything. It’s like someone has turned a light on for me, because I see everything in much sharper, greater detail than I did before.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Christine is no longer struggling to read street signs.

No U-Turn

A former preschool and kindergarten teacher, Christine Kendall now assesses preschool teachers and the way they interact with children as an independent contractor for the Children’s Forum in Pinellas and Manatee counties.

“The Children’s Forum is a non-profit organization contracted by the state,” Christine explains. “I started doing this after I retired and moved to Florida, and I really enjoy it. I think it’s important that we do all we can for our young children.”

In between her stints in education, Christine worked as the executive director of a large chain of businesses in Boston. She and her husband moved to Florida in 2005 to escape the cold winters and because Christine, 74, loves the beach.

A little more than a year ago, while renewing her driver’s license, Christine was suddenly made aware of a problem with her vision. Because she could not tell for sure whether one of the letters in a line on an eye chart was an O or a C, she nearly failed the eye exam.

“I said O the first time I read that line on the chart, and the girl at the DMV office was very nice, because she just said, You might want to try that again,” Christine remembers. “So the second time, I said C, and she said, You got it.

Not long after her visit to the DMV, Christine began to experience similar problems while driving. In particular, she was having trouble clearly reading street signs as she searched for the schools where she was to evaluate teachers.

“I didn’t notice the problem while I was driving around locally because I know all the streets and what the speed limit is,” Christine says. “Because you know them, you don’t really pay much attention to the fact you’re not seeing them as well.

“But when I got out of town and was in another city looking for a school or whatever, I couldn’t read the signs clearly. The navigation program on my phone was telling me to turn right on Washington Street, but I couldn’t read whether it was Washington Street or not.

“It was happening a lot where I was going past the street and then the navigation system would tell me to do a U-turn and go back. For no other reason than just procrastination, I did that for almost a year before I finally decided to do something about my eyes.”

When she finally decided to address her vision problems, Christine visited the ophthalmologist she’s been visiting for eye care for several years, Nathan R. Emery, MD, at Pasadena Eye Center.

“It was last fall when Christine came to me again, and her complaints were typical of patients with cataracts,” Dr. Emery says. “Over time she began to need more light in order to see things, and driving at night was becoming difficult for her.

“She told me about the problems she was having reading street signs, even during the day. That and some of the other symptoms she was experiencing were really starting to impact her ability to do things the way she was comfortable doing them.”

All In

During a thorough examination, Dr. Emery confirmed his belief regarding the cause of Christine’s vision problems. The issue was cataracts in both eyes, and they were mature enough that surgery was the best option to alleviate the symptoms.

The only question that remained was how best to improve Christine’s vision. As Dr. Hall did with Kenneth, Dr. Emery introduced Christine to the new PanOptix lens and suggested she get them. With the hope of never having to wear glasses again, Christine agreed.

“When Dr. Emery told me I wouldn’t need to wear glasses again and that I would be able to see far away, up close and anywhere in between perfectly, I said, Okay, I’m going for that,” Christine remembers.

“It’s incredible how they can do this surgery and give someone back the eyesight they had as a child.” – Christine

Like Kenneth and most patients, Christine had surgery on one eye and came back a week later for surgery on the second eye. When she returned a week after the second surgery for a follow-up visit, the habit of wearing glasses to read had already been broken.

“I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting for my appointment and looking through a magazine, and it wasn’t until I went in to see the doctor and he asked me how my vision was that I realized I’d been reading that magazine without glasses,” Christine remembers.

“I said to him, You know, I just realized that I was reading that magazine without glasses, so I’d say my vision is excellent. And as for my distance vision, well, I have a rather funny story to tell you about that.

“I was thinking my distance vision would be just what it always was, but one day, not long after I had the second surgery, I was standing in my kitchen looking out the window, and I could see two condos away that the man there was watching the same TV show we were.

“Before I had the surgery, I didn’t even know someone was there. Now, here I am, looking all the way into his condo and seeing what he’s watching on TV. After that, I figured I’d better go introduce myself and say hello because I didn’t even know he was there before.”

Highly Recommended

With her vastly improved vision, Christine is no longer struggling to see the street signs as she looks for new schools. For that, she says, she can thank Dr. Emery and the staff at Pasadena Eye Center.

“They’re all just wonderful people,” Christine raves. “I tell anyone who needs to have cataract surgery to go to Pasadena Eye Center and see Dr. Emery, because the care and expertise he and his staff provide are superb.

“It’s incredible how they can do this surgery and give someone back the eyesight they had as a child. It’s great, and the doctors and staff are all so caring. I love everybody there for what they’ve done for me.”

Like Christine with Dr. Emery, Kenneth has long been a patient of Dr. Hall’s. But he’s not the only member of his family to be a patient of Pasadena Eye Center. Because of its exceptional care, several family members have been visiting the clinic for years.

“I’m what you might refer to as a legacy patient,” Kenneth says with a chuckle. “My wife went to see Dr. Hall, and both of my in-laws went to Pasadena Eye Center before that. And now, I’m recommending it to friends of mine.

“Some of the fellows I shoot with have been there and have had positive results as well. Everyone there is so professional and so good at what they do. They have their own surgery center, and other ophthalmologists use it because it’s so sophisticated.

“And as far as the surgery itself goes, it was an absolute non-event. As operations go, it was almost pleasant, if you can say that about an operation. It was so easy, and the outcome was great, so I have and will continue to recommend Pasadena Eye Center.”

Back in Action

Pain-free spinal decompression therapy relieves lower back, neck pain.

 Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

In his late 50s, Ted joined the Peace Corps and became the country director for Lesotho and Uganda

Most people join the Peace Corps when they’re young, when their uncertainty regarding which path to follow in life meshes with their desire to see the world and make an impact on a small, needy community someplace far, far away.

Not Ted Mooney.

Ted, now 67, joined the Peace Corps when he was in his late 50s, long after he’d built and sold a scientific instrument sales company, retired for the first time and rejoined the workforce as a consultant for a group of small tech companies.

“I tend to re-invent myself every six to eight years,” says Ted, a mechanical engineer who also holds a master’s degree in Business Administration. “My job with the Peace Corps was country director of Lesotho, a small country inside South Africa.

“I then became the country director for Uganda. In both places, I was primarily responsible for the health and safety of the volunteers and for working with the local ministries to find the productive things that would help us make a difference in the community.”

Ted moved on from the Peace Corps in 2011 and retired for good last October. At the time of his retirement, he was still quite active, swimming, kayaking and bird-watching on a regular basis. That is until back problems crept up on him.

“I’ve had back problems throughout the course of my life, ever since I was in my teens, but I never paid much attention to them,” Ted says. “Then one morning a few months back, shortly after I’d retired, I woke up and could barely get out of bed.

“I thought at first that it would be just as it always had been before, that it would eventually clear up, but this time, it just kept getting worse. After a couple of weeks, I could barely even get out of the house.

I tried taking a walk with my wife one day, and I couldn’t even get one-hundred meters down the road. I couldn’t go outside and do any of the bird-watching I love to do because it hurt just to bring the binoculars up to my eyes.

“This program really works. . . . The bottom line is, I feel great again, and I thank Dr. Albrecht for that.” – Ted

“It was bizarre how much pain I was in, and after a third week of that, I thought my life, as I understood it, was going away because of this back pain. That’s when I decided I needed to get it taken care of.”

Ted’s fear of spending his second retirement as a shut-in prompted an internet search for a physician to treat his agonizing back pain. The search led him to Tyler Albrecht, DC, at
St. Augustine Spine Center.

The goal of the staff at St. Augustine Spine Center is to help patients suffering from severe and chronic back pain, neck pain and peripheral neuropathy return to a pain-free, active lifestyle using the most advanced nonsurgical, drug-free procedures available.

Their work always begins with a thorough examination of the patient, and in the case of Ted, Dr. Albrecht’s initial examination revealed that the constant stabbing pain he felt in his back was radiating into his right hip and leg.

“In addition to Ted’s back pain, he was also having some tingling and itching along his right thigh, and the pain would get worse when he would do any walking or standing,”
Dr. Albrecht reports. “It was making him limp and was interfering with his activities around the house.

“He could no longer go to the gym, which he had been doing three or four times a week. He was even having trouble sleeping. He had tried ice and heat treatments and taken some anti-inflammatories and even used a TENS device, but he found no relief.

Based on his findings, Dr. Albrecht ordered an MRI of Ted’s back. The MRI showed Ted was suffering from degenerative disc disease and that the primary cause of his pain was four bulging lumbar discs that resulted in irritation of the nerves in that area.

The severity of his problem came as a bit of a shock to Ted, who agreed immediately to follow Dr. Albrecht’s recommended course for recovery, which called for him to receive a full series of spinal

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Ted Mooney

Spinal decompression is a pain-free, FDA-cleared treatment that works to restore herniated or bulging discs to a healthier state, thus relieving pain. The decompression procedure works by reversing the pressure on the injured discs, allowing them to heal, rather than just trying to cover up the pain with injections or medications.

“The treatment is performed while the patient lies on a specialized table that gently pulls on the two vertebrae on either side of the affected disc, producing a vacuum effect,” Dr. Albrecht informs. “This allows bulging material and nutrients to be drawn back into the disc over time, which allows it to rehydrate and heal naturally.

“Advanced technology and computerized load sensors combine to create a gentle, pain-free treatment that avoids the muscle spasm or guarding reflex that is commonly triggered with rudimentary traction or inversion devices.”

Patients in a spinal decompression program are treated three times a week for about seven weeks. Each decompression treatment lasts about 30 minutes, after which most patients are treated with a combination of other modalities.

Those modalities include manual therapy, rehabilitative exercises, chiropractic care, ice, electrical stimulation and laser therapy, all of which help to speed up the healing process and are part of the typical disc rehabilitation program at St. Augustine Spine Center.

“One of the things that I really appreciate about Dr. Albrecht was how informative he was,” Ted says. “He told me everything about the treatment before we got started – how it was developed and everything – and that was really helpful.

“He even told me how it was important to make sure that I drink sixty ounces of water every day because hydrating the discs and the area around the spine is one of the keys to the spinal regeneration process.

“It made me feel very confident going into the treatment, which lasts for about thirty minutes on the table. Then, when you’re done, they do some manual therapy on you and have you do some additional stretches and things like that.”

At first, Ted couldn’t do many of the post-treatment stretching exercises. Over time, though, he was able to incorporate those stretches into his routine, the results of which have led to what Dr. Albrecht describes as a full resolution of his symptoms.

“When Ted started treatment, his average pain level was seven on a scale of zero to ten, and occasionally, it would go up to a nine,” Dr. Albrecht says. “But by the time we completed his treatment, his average pain was down to zero.

“He is no longer limping, and he has gone back to the gym and is working out again. His sleep is no longer being interrupted, and he is back to doing all the normal activities he was doing before. He’s had really good success with his treatment.”

Ted concurs, saying his treatment has made him “a very happy camper.” He’s a lighter camper, too, adding that his return to the gym has resulted in a loss of at least ten pounds of weight gained during the time he was inactive.

“This program really works, because I am able to do all the things I like to do again,” Ted enthuses. “The bottom line is, I feel great again, and I thank Dr. Albrecht for that.

“I say this all the time, but he saved my life. He really did, and that’s why I’ve already recommended him to some friends. I know of one who has already gone to see him and raves about him the same way that I do.”

Worth a Try

Unlike Ted, Allison* hasn’t reached retirement age just yet, but at 63, she says she “can see the other side, and it looks pretty good.” Unfortunately, Allison’s view of what lay ahead in retirement didn’t look all that promising a year ago.

“I had been dealing with some serious neck problems for about two years, and nothing I was doing was making it any better,” she says. “At first, I was going to a chiropractor and doing some physical therapy, which helped for a while, but it never lasted.

“Then about a year and a half ago, I went to an orthopedic surgeon. He was telling me we could try doing some cortisone shots, but if they didn’t work, I was looking at having surgery. That just frightened the heck out of me.

“I had disc surgery a long time ago on my back, and going through that was frightening enough. But of all the surgeries you can have, neck surgery to me is the most frightening. That was my ultimate last resort.”

Allison never had to seriously consider her ultimate last resort, thanks in part to her husband, who started looking through a copy of Florida Health Care News while he and Allison were waiting to be seated for dinner one night.

“He was reading this article about spinal decompression and told me to take a look at it,” Allison remembers. “The article was all about spinal decompression and St. Augustine Spine Center, and we thought, Why not give this a try? What have we got to lose?

“When Allison came in, she was having not just constant neck pain but constant upper back pain as well. She was also getting about ten headaches a month,” Dr. Albrecht reports. “As you might expect, those problems were really affecting her lifestyle.

“Allison is a very active person. She likes to play tennis and golf, does some weightlifting to stay in shape, rides a bicycle and walks her dog. All those things were being limited by her neck and upper back pain.”

“It’s unbelievable what the decompression therapy has done for me.” – Allison

After reviewing an MRI and learning of Allison’s previous attempts to rid herself of her neck and back pain, which included receiving massage therapy and taking muscle relaxers, Dr. Albrecht suggested she try spinal decompression as an alternative to surgery.

“The MRI showed degenerative disc disease and disc bulging at three levels in the mid-to-lower part of her neck,” Dr. Albrecht reports. “In that area of the spine, the normal diameter of the spinal canal should be twelve to fourteen millimeters. Hers was narrowed to seven, resulting in spinal stenosis. That made her a great candidate for spinal decompression.”

Proof Positive

Anxious to get off the muscle relaxers and resume her active lifestyle, Allison took Dr. Albrecht up on his recommendation and began the same spinal decompression program that Ted did in July of last year. The results, she says, have been miraculous.

“It’s unbelievable what the decompression therapy has done for me,” Allison exudes. “Through that and some stretching exercises that I’ve incorporated into my workout, I feel two-hundred-percent better than I did this time a year ago. Even the headaches are gone.”

Allison initially thought her headaches were the result of some severe sinus and asthma issues, but Dr. Albrecht believes their disappearance is proof they were actually being caused by Allison’s neck and upper back problems.

“By the time Allison completed the spinal decompression therapy, she had gone a month without a headache,” Dr. Albrecht says. “That told us they were actually coming from her neck, because we didn’t treat her for allergies or sinus issues at all.

“Which makes sense, because pressure on the neck and the spinal cord in that area so close to the back of the head can easily cause inflammation and the muscles in that area to tighten, which can irritate the head and lead to those headaches.”

It’s not just because of the spinal decompression treatments that Allison is feeling so much better. Allison says Dr. Albrecht also gave her some good advice regarding proper posture that has helped her keep the pain at bay as well.

“I work as a category manager for a food broker, and I sit at a computer all day analyzing data,” she says. “It turns out that I’ve been sitting at my computer the wrong way, and that has probably contributed to my neck problems.

“Dr. Albrecht suggested I have a co-worker take a random picture of me at my desk, and in the picture, I’m sitting on my legs all hunched over and turning my neck the wrong way. When I saw that, I thought, No wonder. I’m really not helping myself here.

“Dr. Albrecht gave me a diagram that shows me exactly how I should be sitting at my desk, and that has helped me, too. I also bought a posture pump like the one Dr. Albrecht has in his office, and I use that twice a day. That’s done a lot for me as well.

“Dr. Albrecht even told me that just getting up from my desk and walking around the office once every hour will make a difference, and I try to do that now, too. It’s why I highly recommend them and the spinal decompression for anyone who is facing neck or back surgery and thinks that’s their last resort. It’s not. There’s more you can do for yourself that will get you feeling right again, and I’m proof of it.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request. 

Fabulous First Impression

Newcomer earns seal of approval with same-day crown treatment.

Photo courtesy of Susan Tremblay.

Susan Tremblay

Before she even made it to high school, Susan Tremblay had found the love of her life. His name is Tony. She met him when she was 13, and after attending junior high and high school together in their hometown of Nashua, New Hampshire, they were married.

In 2021, Susan and Tony will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, and to say that Susan, 58, has always been ahead of the curve may be a bit of an understatement. After all, she not only fell in love and married at an early age, she also retired early.

A former nurse, Susan recently hung up her scrubs, and after eight years of flying south for the winter, she and her husband decided last May to sell their home in New Hampshire and make the permanent move to Palm Coast.

“Now, we’ve got a super busy, active, fun life here with lots of friends and relatives who visit or have bought their own homes and moved here full time as well,” Susan says. “We see those people on an almost daily basis, and we’re just loving it.”

Shortly after making the move south, Susan set out to establish a new medical and dental home for her and her husband. Based on recommendations from some of her friends in the area, she chose Palm Coast Family Dentistry as the couple’s new dental home.

Full Spectrum of Services

Palm Coast Family Dentistry is the practice of Sandra Trejos, DDS. She recently purchased the practice from Jayraj J. Patel, and she will offer patients the same full spectrum of treatments Dr. Patel provided.

“Just as it has been in the past, Palm Coast Family Dentistry will continue to provide patients with all the dental care they need in one office,” Dr. Trejos explains. “Whatever it is that a patient requires, we will be able to do it for them here.

“We do all types of general and restorative work, such as fillings, crowns and root canals. We also do dental implants, gum procedures and Invisalign® clear braces. We gladly welcome emergency patients because we don’t want anyone to be in pain.”

“I’m really impressed with her work and with her honesty, and I definitely recommend her.” Susan

Susan is among the patients Dr. Trejos inherited upon taking over the practice. Prior to the change, Susan received two dental implants and had a bridge reconstructed by Dr. Patel. Her case wasn’t complete when Dr. Patel left the practice, though.

“One of the things we still hadn’t gotten to was a filling on one of my top teeth,” Susan says. “I had an old amalgam filling there that needed to be replaced. There was also a crack on the edge of that tooth that was making it a bit unstable.”

Because they are not bonded to the tooth structure, fillings made of amalgam, or liquid mercury, eventually allow saliva, food and bacteria to seep below the filling and into the tooth, where further decay can develop.

That’s why dentists prefer to change out old amalgam fillings with tooth-colored composite fillings. That’s what was initially planned for Susan, but the crack in the tooth forced Dr. Trejos to take a different approach.

To save the tooth from further deterioration, she opted to fit it with a crown. As it has with dental fillings, the technology used for creating dental crowns has improved markedly as well, and Dr. Trejos took advantage of those improvements in treating Susan.

“A lot of dentists still do lab-fabricated crowns, where they send the impressions or a digital scan of the tooth out to a lab and the lab makes the crown,” Dr. Trejos explains. “And most of the time, those crowns come back perfect.

“But even then, you still have to wait two weeks to get them, and the patient needs to wear a temporary and come back for the final fitting. And if there are any complications or the fit isn’t quite right, you have to numb them up again to make those changes.

“That’s why we have a CEREC® machine, because CEREC allows us to create a permanent crown right in our office in just minutes. That eliminates the need for a second visit, and there’s no worrying about a temporary falling off because there is no temporary.

“The other thing the CEREC allows us to do is stain the crown so that it perfectly matches the patient’s teeth. That’s important, especially if the tooth receiving the crown is in the patient’s smile line, so it’s a big advantage having the CEREC.”

Time-Saving Machine

Photo courtesy of Susan Tremblay.

Susan Tremblay

Dr. Trejos used the CEREC machine to fashion Susan’s crown. Susan says that crown came out “perfect” the first time, just as she hoped it would, and she greatly appreciates the fact it saved her from having to make another visit.

“I’m a big fan of the CEREC machine,” Susan elaborates. “It’s a great option, because I travel a lot and I’m always busy going places. And I like that with Dr. Trejos, I only need to set aside time once to get that kind of work done.

“I’m a big fan of Dr. Trejos as well. I really enjoy my visits with her. She’s very friendly and open and honest and very transparent. She went out of her way to make sure that I completely understood what she was going to be doing and why she was doing it.

“As far as her work goes, she was extraordinarily gentle. I’ve had a lot of dental work done, and she was one of the best when it came to giving me the Novocain® shot. I also like that she was very concerned about my comfort all throughout our visit.

“She kept me in the loop as to where we were in the process, what she would be doing next, and she was always making sure that I wasn’t experiencing any pain or sensitivity. I really appreciated that. I also appreciated that she only does the work that has to be done.

“I have a three-tooth bridge that was done back when I was twentynine or thirty, and I had some decay under one of the last teeth behind the bridge. Dr. Patel did a very thorough cleaning of it and then added a filling to avoid doing a root canal.

“That tooth has been a little sensitive to hot and cold of late, and I was concerned that I needed the root canal. But instead of jumping right into that, Dr. Trejos suggested I first try using a toothpaste that might help to relieve that sensitivity.

“A lot of dentists might have just said, Yeah, we’re probably going to have to do a root canal there, but I feel like she was looking out for my best interest in exhausting all possibilities before we took that step.

“I know that if this option doesn’t work out and we need to do the root canal, we’ll make that decision together. I’m really impressed with her work and with her honesty, and I definitely recommend her.

“I’ve worked with doctors for a long time, and when you do that, you develop a sixth sense of who they are and what you can expect from them. I find Dr. Trejos to be very calm and gentle, and again, I happily recommend her to anyone.”

For Good Measure

Photo courtesy of James Plesz.

James Plesz

Astigmatism corrected, vision cleared via cataract surgery.

The grandson of Polish immigrants who first found work in the US building Pullman train cars at that company’s “workers’ community” on the South Side of Chicago, James Plesz eventually made his own way in the Windy City area as an electrician.

“I actually worked out of the Gary, Indiana local, but I worked in Chicago for eighteen of the forty-two years I was an electrician,” James says. “I worked on some of the smaller skyscrapers in Chicago as well as a lot of the steel mills.”

Now 74, James has long since retired, but he still has ties to Chicago. He owns land in the area and spends the warmer months there. He and his wife spend the fall and winter here in Florida, where golf, fishing and football fill his days.

This past fall, while watching a football game at home, James suddenly noticed he was having trouble with his eyesight. In particular, he found it difficult to read the scores of other games as they ran across the bottom of the TV screen.

“It was driving me crazy, so I went to the place in the mall where I get my eyeglasses and got an eyeglass exam,” James remembers. “That’s when I was told I had cataracts and that the one in my right eye was worse than the one in my left eye.

“They told me my vision was probably going to deteriorate pretty rapidly, and it did. We don’t go out that much at night, but it got to a point rather quickly where I didn’t feel comfortable driving at night because I couldn’t see clearly.”

James is no stranger to cataracts. A clouding of the eye’s natural lens that develops from a breakdown of the eye’s lens fibers or a clumping of their proteins, cataracts had recently robbed his wife of her clear vision as well.

“I feel like I was lucky that my wife had already gone through this because when I learned I had cataracts, I knew exactly where to go,” James says. “I immediately went to see Dr. Kostick at Atlantic Eye Center because she did such a good job with my wife.”

Dr. Kostick is board-certified ophthalmologist Alexandra Kostick, MD. With more than 20 years of experience treating complex cataract cases, Dr. Kostick is recognized throughout the ophthalmologic field as one of its most accomplished surgeons.

Cause and Effect

Dr. Kostick began treating James in November 2019, and during her first visit with him, she confirmed the diagnosis of cataracts. She also discovered in James’ eyes what she referred to as a “significant astigmatism.”

Astigmatism is a common eye condition in which an irregularly shaped cornea – that clear front cover of the eye – causes blurred vision. Astigmatism can sometimes be corrected during cataract surgery, but James’ astigmatism was so severe, it required special attention.

“The ability to see at the age of seventy-four the way you did when you were in your twenties is phenomenal . . .” James

“For patients such as James, we do extra measurements to see how much astigmatism they really have,” Dr. Kostick says. “If it’s minimal, we don’t have to worry about treating it. If it’s moderate to severe, then there are a couple of different ways we can treat it.

“And it’s very important that we do treat it, because a lot of people think their cataracts are the only things responsible for their blurry vision. They don’t understand that there are other structures of the eye that can cause blurry vision as well.

“Whatever astigmatism is there before cataract surgery will be there after surgery if it’s not treated. And that residual astigmatism will cause blurry vision, which will then require the person to continue wearing glasses. We don’t want that.”

One astigmatism treatment calls for a series of small incisions to be made around the edge of the cornea. These incisions relax and round out the cornea, which improves focus, but they typically work best for patients with mild to moderate astigmatism.

For James, Dr. Kostick chose to replace his clouded natural lenses during surgery with toric lenses. Toric lenses are specially designed artificial intraocular lenses, or IOLs, that have two focusing powers, one for distance vision and one for the astigmatism.

They are implanted during the same surgery where the cataracts are removed, which is usually performed on one eye at a time in an outpatient setting, with a break of a week or two between the two surgeries to allow the first eye to heal.

During James’ surgery, Dr. Kostick also used a special machine called the ORA™, which stands for Optiwave Refractive Analysis, to obtain the most accurate measurements possible of the shape of his eyes during the surgery.

“The ORA fine-tunes the power, and therefore narrows down the selection of the intraocular lens implant,” Dr. Kostick notes. “There’s no way our pre-op measurements can compete with it, so it makes the patient’s end result much, much better.”

A good end result from cataract surgery is a patient who can literally see better than they have in decades. That was the end result for James, who says he now sees as well as he did 50 years ago, and without glasses.

All in the Family

“First of all, the surgery is a piece of cake,” James exudes. “And one of the amazing things about it is, you can see perfectly again as soon as the surgery is done. It’s unbelievable how much better I see now. My vision is perfect.

“The ability to see at the age of seventy-four the way you did when you were in your twenties is phenomenal, so I recommend this surgery to anyone who needs it, and I definitely recommend seeing Dr. Kostick for it.

“After seeing how well she took care of my wife when she had to have her cataract surgery, there was no one else I was going to for my surgery. I think the world of
Dr. Kostick and her staff. They treat you like family.”

A family-like atmosphere is a big part of what Dr. Kostick strives for at Atlantic Eye Center. She is proud to be treating not just her patients’ husbands and wives but their sons, daughters and grandchildren.

“Our patients become part of our extended family,” Dr. Kostick asserts. “We strive to make them comfortable by creating a very caring environment. They know they are going to be treated with a personal touch whenever they come here.”

A strong reputation in the community is also something the staff at Atlantic Eye Center strives to maintain.

“I think word of mouth is very important for doctors, and we pride ourselves on the referrals we get,” Dr. Kostick adds. “I can honestly say that my staff members go out of their way to ensure that people are cared for to our utmost capability.”

Relief from Debilitating Back Pain

Innovative treatment works after multiple surgeries did not.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

John finally found relief for his spine pain at Alpha Wave Health Centers.

The ornate, hand-painted ceiling of the Grand Colonnade at The Venetian® Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada is just one of the many Renaissance-like finishes that make the Italian-inspired hotel and casino the showcase that it is.

John Hicks is among the skilled craftsmen who helped give that resort and many of the others along the Vegas strip their charm.

“I was the supervisor of a crew of what are known as high-end finish carpenters,” John relates. “We didn’t do baseboards. We did things like five- and six-step crown moldings and things like that that we called fufu stuff.

“We worked on all the big hotels and casinos there in Las Vegas – Mandalay Bay, the Luxor®, the Bellagio®, the Mirage®, Paris®. We worked in a lot of the suites, some of the gambling areas and on a lot of the ceilings in those places.”

John, 73, retired from his job in 2000 but not voluntarily. He was forced into retirement after he and two co-workers were hit while walking across a Las Vegas street by a car driven by a drunk driver.

Since then, John has undergone four back surgeries, more than a dozen spinal procedures and tried a variety of treatments in an effort to erase the debilitating back pain that ensued from the accident, but to no avail.

“The pain was so bad that I had difficulty sitting for any length of time,” John laments. “That was bad enough, but what made it worse is that I couldn’t stand for any length of time either. I eventually got to a point where I had to walk with a cane.”

John, who recently moved to Florida to “get out of the desert,” has feared for years that he would forever be disabled by his pain, but he learned differently after reading an article in Florida Health Care News about Alpha Wave Health Centers.

With offices in Leesburg and St. Augustine, Alpha Wave Health Centers specializes in the treatment of pain and other issues through the use of an acoustic wave therapy called AcuteWave™.

John made an appointment.

Advanced and Highly Effective

After conducting a thorough examination, Scott Hollington, MD, of Alpha Wave Health Centers, determined that John’s pain was largely a result of a massive buildup of scar tissue, a byproduct of all the invasive treatments he’d had done on his back previously.

“I have looked for many, many solutions for my spine pain. . . . AcuteWave treatment is the only thing that’s worked for me.” – John

That made him a good candidate for AcuteWave therapy, and as he often does, Dr. Hollington recommended a full regimen of six treatments.

Known clinically as extracorporeal pulse activation technology, or EPAT®, Alpha Wave Health Centers’ AcuteWave therapy is the most advanced and highly-effective noninvasive, drug-free treatment method cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.

AcuteWave treatments are performed during an in-office procedure that stimulates the metabolism, enhances blood circulation and accelerates the healing process, which allows damaged tissue to gradually regenerate and eventually heal.

The AcuteWave procedure has proven effective in the treatment of a broad range of musculoskeletal conditions in the neck, shoulder, back, chest, feet and ankles. It has also proven effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction using the GAINSWave® protocols.

“The AcuteWave machine has been around for about forty years, and it generates sound waves that go in and affect the deep soft tissues in the body,” says Dr. Hollington.

“These waves penetrate the skin about three inches deep. That’s far deeper than chiropractic therapy, massage therapy or any other modality can get. And by affecting tissue at that level, you can get what we call scar reorganization.

“That’s important because scar tissue can get rock hard and impinge on the nerves and muscles in a way that prohibits them from moving naturally. But this machine gets in there and loosens that scar tissue up to a point where we can actually remodel it.”

Another great benefit of AcuteWave therapy, Dr. Hollington emphasizes, is that it helps eliminate the root cause of pain. That makes it far more effective than the medications or injections that are often prescribed for such issues.

“There are a lot of causes of musculoskeletal pain,” Dr. Hollington states. “It can come from a pinched nerve or damaged muscles, tendons or joints. These problems are often treated with opiates. But opiates just hide the symptoms. They don’t cure anything.

“Another pain management tool is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory treatments. These treatments reduce inflammation, which exacerbates pain, but it’s not clear if eliminating the inflammation actually cures the underlying defect causing the pain.

“Our wave machine actually affects the tissue of the body. It regenerates old vessels and helps form new vessels, which further reduces pain. It produces those waves in broad spectrums, which allows us to treat the entire problem area.”

AcuteWave treatments are administered through a small, handheld device that emits the acoustical waves in short, painless pulsations. It eliminates pain and restores full mobility in more than 80 percent of all patients treated.

“The numbers for people who use this treatment for pain relief are very good,” Dr. Hollington expounds. “Everyone gets some pain relief from it, and some get a lot of pain relief from it very quickly, after just one or two sessions.”

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

John & Olga Hicks

Rapid Results

As it is with many patients, John experienced relief after just a few of those 30-minute treatments.

“I will tell you that I have looked for many, many solutions for my spine pain,” John relates. “Doctors have tried everything from shots and medications to spinal cord stimulators, but this AcuteWave treatment is the only thing that’s worked for me.

“I went to Alpha Wave Health Centers because the article I read said they can effectively treat your pain without shots or medications, and they were right. This treatment works really, really well. I’m no longer in pain or taking any pain medication of any kind.

“I don’t need a cane to walk anymore, and I’m even working out in the yard, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do again. I used to have trouble sleeping at night because of my pain, but now I sleep just fine, the way I’m supposed to.”

John has received a total of nine AcuteWave treatments since he first visited Alpha Wave Health Centers a little more than a year ago. He now visits the clinic only on occasion to make sure his pain remains in check.

“When you’ve been in pain as long as I was, it’s hard to believe anything will work for you, but this does,” John adds. “That’s why I definitely recommend Alpha Wave Health Centers and AcuteWave therapy. They’re both outstanding.”

Morpheus8 Results Visible in Days

Revolutionary anti-aging treatment restores youthful appearance.

In part because she builds a decorative wreath out of those that she receives in return, Angela* has long maintained the seemingly fading tradition of sending out Christmas cards to family and friends each holiday season.

A true traditionalist, she typically sends out cards displaying classic wintery images. For the first time this past year, however, she sent out a personalized card with a family portrait on it. She then spent a good part of the holidays wishing she hadn’t.

“I absolutely hated the picture,” Angela laments. “I feel like I looked very old in it. I mean, I’m not a kid anymore; I’m fifty-two. But I’m very active, and I don’t feel like I’m fifty-two. In that picture, though, I looked like I was older than fifty-two, and I didn’t like it.”

Angela’s disappointment with the family photo prompted her to make a New Year’s resolution to improve her appearance. She was unsure of the treatment she needed or where to get it, though, so she asked a close friend for some advice.

Without hesitation, her friend suggested she visit the Institute of Health & Wellness in Stuart, where the practice’s founder and director, board-certified surgeon Deborah A. DeMarta, MD, specializes in integrative and anti-aging medicine.

“She was absolutely adamant about me going to see Dr. DeMarta,” Angela says of her friend. “She told me she’d been there a few times herself and that they have a lot of great anti-aging treatments. So, I made an appointment for one day in early January.”

A Deeper Dive

During her initial consultation with Dr. DeMarta, Angela expressed her desire to erase some of the wrinkles around her eyes, upper lip and forehead as well as some crepiness that was beginning to develop around her neck area.

“If done in a series, the results can often be like a mid-face lift. And there’s almost no downtime associated with this treatment.” – Dr. DeMarta

The treatment Dr. Marta suggested is called Morpheus8. It is a safe, noninvasive, technologically advanced approach to fractional skin resurfacing that stimulates collagen and elastin production by targeting the deeper layers of the skin.

It is in those deeper layers where the skin’s building blocks exist, and by reaching those deeper layers, Morpheus8 reorganizes the building blocks through a combination of microneedling and radiofrequency heat waves that spark a natural anti-aging process.

A completely customizable treatment, Morpheus8 treatments are applied through the use of a small, FDA-approved, handheld device that helps brighten, tighten, sculpt and smooth out skin anywhere on the body.

“The device is attached to a generator, and on its surface is a matrix of twenty-four gold-coated micropins,” Dr. DeMarta explains. “Those pins penetrate the skin more easily than pins in other devices.

“It’s from those pins that the radiofrequency heat waves come, and that heat revitalizes the collagen, which helps to improve the complexion and texture of the skin that gives us that more youthful, more radiant appearance.

“During a typical treatment, we do three passes to the area we’re treating. We start at the deepest level, which is about four millimeters deep, and depending on the body part, we go three and then two millimeters deep with different amounts of energy.

“In those last two passes, when we’re treating an area more superficially, we use a different attachment on the device, and the result is a lot like what you would get from a fractional treatment using a fractional laser. It’s resurfacing.

“But it’s that ability to go deeper into the skin that allows us to get the remarkable results we get with collagen production for fine lines and wrinkles and the contraction of fat pads that we get when we’re tightening areas elsewhere on the body.

“Those results are one of the reasons I offer this treatment. I want to offer something that can truly improve the crepiness of skin and that works on all the extremities, because areas on our arms and legs can become a big problem as we get older.

“For women especially, we can get those bat wings, and many of us tend to have trouble with our inner thighs or the entire thigh and gluteal area. This treatment works extremely well in those areas.”

“Colorblind” Treatment

Dr. DeMarta notes that Morpheus8 is what she refers to as a “colorblind” treatment, which means it can be used to treat any type of skin, regardless of color, head to toe. It can also be used to repair acne scarring.

“Acne scars are very deep, so regular microneedling techniques are not going to provide someone with the vast improvement they want,” she says. “You used to use a full fractional laser to get those results, but we can get them with Morpheus8.

“Another great advantage associated with Morpheus8 is that you can see results in a few days. And as time goes on, more collagen is produced and there’s even more contraction of the tissue, so those results keep improving.

“If done in a series, the results can often be like a mid-face lift. And there’s almost no downtime associated with this treatment. It’s really amazing, and I can honestly say, I’ve never seen anything that gets results like this. It’s absolutely phenomenal.”

Angela doesn’t disagree. As intended, she had Morpheus8 treatment done on the problem areas on her face as well as her neck. She says the results make her wish she had waited a year before making a family photo the main image of a Christmas card.

“I would say that the Morpheus8 treatment has painlessly taken almost ten years off my appearance,” she raves. “And what really amazed me is how quickly I noticed an improvement. Within a week of the treatment, I could already see a difference.

“And just as Dr. DeMarta said it would, I have continued to see improvement in the texture of my skin. It’s so much softer now, and the area around my neck that I was concerned about is no longer a worry.”

Angela was so impressed with the results that three weeks after receiving her first facial and neck treatment with Morpheus8, she had a treatment done on her knees, where the crepiness of her skin made her hesitant to wear shorts.

“My knees were looking very wrinkly, and Dr. DeMarta said she could treat that area as well, so I said, Why not?” Angela remembers. “And now my knees look fine. I won’t be so hesitant to go to the beach this year or just wear shorts at any time.

“I really could not be happier that my friend recommended I visit Dr. DeMarta. She really does have all the latest treatments, and I highly recommend her for anyone who’s looking to take a few years off their appearance. It sure worked for me.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.

At Great Length

Corrective gum procedure brings smile to teen’s face.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Emma is happy to show off her new smile.

Who says playing video games is a waste of time? Emma Subin certainly doesn’t. In fact, this 17-year-old high school senior, currently prepping for her first year of college, is on a path to turn her passion for video games into a paycheck.

“When I was really young, I played a lot of video games, like Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros.® and Pokémon, and when I got a little older, my dad and I would play Guitar Hero® together, and it was always something that made me happy,” Emma explains.

“I decided I’d like to make video games in a way that will make other people happy, too, so I’m going to study video-game design in college. Video-game design is a profession that can be very profitable, so I’m really excited about it.”

Emma’s excitement is evident in her smile. It’s bright and wide, and she’s so proud of it that she shows it off quite often these days. It wasn’t that long ago, though, that Emma was very hesitant to smile, even when she had good reason to.

“For so long, I was very insecure about my smile, and that was because of my teeth,” Emma says. “I had small, short, kind of square teeth that looked almost like what a little child’s teeth look like when they’re first getting their teeth in.

“I was very self-conscious of it, so I didn’t smile very much. You can see why in my senior pictures. When I look at them, all I can see are my gums, and that was very upsetting for me. I couldn’t even stand to look at them sometimes.

“For so long, I thought there was nothing I could do about it, that it was something I was going to have to learn to live with. Then about two years ago, I stumbled across an Instagram post someone put up about their gummy smile transformation.

“At first, I thought, Wow, I didn’t even know this was a thing. Then, I asked my dentist about it and told her that I was really unhappy with my teeth and gums, and she was the one who recommended Dr. DeTure to me.”

Dr. DeTure is C. Nicholas DeTure, DMD, of Stuart Periodontics. He specializes in repairing damaged gums and repairing smiles through a procedure known clinically as anatomical crown exposure, or anatomical crown lengthening.

Overlap Reduction

When Emma first visited him this past December, Dr. DeTure explained that her smile had been negatively affected by altered passive eruption, a condition where the gums greatly overlap the teeth and make them look short, like a child’s teeth.

Some medical professionals believe the condition is hereditary, but Dr. DeTure explains that in many cases, including Emma’s, it also develops as a result of wearing braces that keep the teeth in place for an extended period during their development.

The condition is considered to be a common one, and Dr. DeTure recommended anatomical crown lengthening to correct it. Emma and her parents agreed to the procedure after learning it can be completed during a single, 90-minute visit.

“We call it a gummy smile reduction,” Dr. DeTure says of the treatment. “That’s far less clinical and easier to understand, and the idea behind it is to further expose the natural crowns of the teeth so that the right amount of tooth shows when someone smiles.

“It’s something that instantly makes people more confident because they like their smile better. And a lot of times, if friends don’t know about it, they’ll ask you, Did you get your hair cut or something? because the patient looks better, but they don’t know why.”

The treatment can be performed on any tooth in either arch, upper or lower, and while some periodontists limit it to the teeth in a patient’s smile zone, Dr. DeTure prefers to go back to the patient’s first molars on either side to create a wide beautiful smile.

“We have found that if we only correct the teeth in what some people lovingly call the social six, meaning your six front teeth, then there’s a step down of the gum of the teeth behind those front six teeth, which looks awkward.

“The results of the treatment totally exceeded my expectations. Even now, I sometimes look at my teeth and think, Wow, I had no idea that much tooth was under those gums.” – Emma

“You have all those gummy teeth behind the front six, and that can be unappealing. So we tend to always blend it back to the first molar so that there is a nice, harmonious appearance that looks natural, the way it’s supposed to.”

Patients receiving the treatment, which requires cutting away a few millimeters of gum tissue, reshaping the bone supporting the teeth and suturing the gums, are usually given a local anesthetic. But Dr. DeTure says it is a relatively painless treatment.

“What typically hurts in dentistry is when something is exposed that’s not supposed to be exposed,” Dr. DeTure educates. “In this treatment, we’re not exposing anything that’s not supposed to be exposed.

“We’re exposing the enamel, or the clinical crown, of the tooth. When we remove the gum, all that’s exposed is enamel, and enamel is supposed to be exposed. If we exposed root surface, that would be sensitive afterward, but we don’t do that.

“We typically use a scalpel for the gum removal, but most of the time is spent reshaping the bone supporting the teeth and taking the precise measurements to make sure the teeth are ideally sized.

“Some patients will feel a little bit of discomfort the day we perform the procedure after the anesthetic wears off, but most heal very quickly, and the stitches we use dissolve over a short period of time.”

Merry Christmas

Emma had her surgery on December 23. She considered it an early Christmas present, and that present brought tears of joy to her eyes when her new smile was revealed to her a few minutes after the procedure was completed.

“I took a video of myself when I first saw my teeth, and I just cried happy tears because I was so thrilled,” Emma says. “I cried the whole way home, and I just couldn’t stop looking at my teeth, even though my gums were still a bit battered up.”

Emma says she needed a little more than a week to heal completely from the procedure, in part because it took a little longer than usual for her stitches to dissolve. By the time she returned to school, though, she was healed and smiling more widely than ever.

“My teeth look amazing now,” Emma exudes. “For so long, I smiled with my mouth closed, and I didn’t even want to smile in pictures. Now, I smile all the time, and I’m smiling big and showing my teeth in all my pictures.

“I am ecstatic that I had the procedure done, so if anyone is upset with their teeth or how they look or if they’re uncomfortable smiling, I definitely recommend they get this done. It has really changed the view of how I see myself.

“And I want to say that Dr. DeTure did a great job. I was a little nervous about the surgery at first, but he made me feel very comfortable beforehand because he answered all my questions and took care of all my worries. That was super helpful.

“The results of the treatment totally exceeded my expectations. Even now, I sometimes look at my teeth and think, Wow, I had no idea that much tooth was under those gums. I couldn’t be happier.”


Superb patient care sparks rapid recovery from spine surgery.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Robert Long

The quest began just after the turn of the century with a trip to Boston’s legendary Fenway Park. It ended last September with a Texas two-stop in which Robert Long and his wife visited Globe Life Park in Arlington and Minute Maid Park in Houston.

With the homes of the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros scratched off their list, Robert and his wife had completed what baseball fans consider the ultimate road trip – a visit to each of the ballparks that are home to Major League Baseball’s 30 teams.

“It was a great tour, so much fun,” Robert exudes. “We really enjoyed it and liked most all the parks. They all have their own certain charm to them. San Diego was probably my favorite, I guess. It’s beautiful and in such a beautiful setting.

“Oh, and Yankee Stadium is special, of course, and so is Wrigley Field in Chicago. Another one that I really liked is in Kansas City. I felt like I was in a Norman Rockwell painting watching a game in that stadium.

“Now we have do-overs to do because a couple of the teams have moved into new stadiums since we started this. We have to go to the new one in Minnesota and the new one in Miami, and there’s a new one in Arlington now, too, so we’re looking forward to that.”

When he’s not traveling to baseball parks, Robert likes to stay up on the latest movies and play golf, but this retired school superintendent recently had to put his golf clubs away for a while due to some serious back pain.

The pain first flared up while Robert was out golfing one morning this past November. The pain was initially so great, he says, that he had to kneel down to place his ball on the tee. Soon thereafter, he sought medical help for the problem.

After being informed at an urgent care clinic that he was suffering from sciatica, a condition caused by problems with the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back and down the back of each leg, Robert decided to trudge on.

He did, at least, until the pain intensified. Then, and largely because he had a weeklong cruise to the Mexican Riviera coming up, Robert visited orthopedic surgeon Patrick G. Dermarkarian, MD.

“Dr. Dermarkarian didn’t say I couldn’t go on the cruise, but I probably shouldn’t have,” Robert says. “I was in so much pain that I had to go to the emergency room the night before we got on the boat, and then, during the cruise, it was really tough.

“It was while I was on the cruise that I got my first cane because the pain was like nothing I’d ever felt before. It ran through my left buttock and all the way down my leg, so as soon as we got back from the cruise, I went back to see Dr. Dermarkarian.”

Time to Decompress

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Robert points to a
display of all the
major league ballparks he’s visited.

During his previous visit with Dr. Dermarkarian, Robert learned that the root cause of his pain was a severe case of stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that results in a pinching of the nerves in the spine.

Dr. Dermarkarian initially suggested treating the problem with physical therapy or epidural injections, but upon seeing Robert in the condition he was in following the cruise, Dr. Dermarkarian suggested a more aggressive fix.

“We had talked about watching this and seeing if it got any better, but at that point, Robert’s gait was changing,” Dr. Dermarkarian reports. “He was barely able to walk because of the pain, so I recommended surgery, and Robert agreed.”

For patients such as Robert, there are two forms of spine surgery that can alleviate their pain. One is a decompression procedure where the objective is to alleviate the pain by removing any bone or tissue that may be compressing the nerves. The other is a fusion-type procedure which may be needed in order to realign or reconstruct the spine in order to adequately alleviate the pressure on the nerves. The decision between the two is dependent on what is seen on x-rays and advanced imaging, such as MRI and/or CT.

For Robert, Dr. Dermarkarian performed the decompression procedure, and he chose to perform that procedure at Manatee Memorial Hospital, which offers a comprehensive range of surgical services for joints and the spine.

“Manatee Memorial Hospital has a great staff that is well-versed in spine surgery,” Dr. Dermarkarian observes. “They have both orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons and a dedicated nursing staff that understands the procedures surgeons perform.

“The whole process of getting the patient prepped and to the operating room is very seamless there, and when it comes to postoperative care, Manatee Memorial’s Nurse Navigator, Andrew Stritzl, RN, BSN, is a huge asset.

“He looks after all the orthopedic-type patients and spine patients and knows exactly what the best process for taking care of them postoperatively is. He’s an incredible resource for us.”

Clean Sweep

Robert had his surgery on December 17. The procedure, which begins with the physician making an incision about five centimeters long in the patient’s lower back, takes about 90 minutes to complete.

“Through that incision, I gently elevate the musculature off the spinous process [a bony projection on each vertebra],” Dr. Dermarkarian explains. “The spinous process connects to the lamina, and you take out part of that bone and the ligament in between on both sides.

“That decompresses the canal, and then an instrument is used to sweep around in there and make sure the nerve is completely free of anything that might be pushing on it or any large disc herniations that could result in impingement.

“I typically do this as an outpatient procedure where the patient goes home later that day, but with Robert, I wanted to keep a close eye on his respiratory and cardiac status, so we had him stay overnight, and he went home the next day.”

Robert’s stay wound up lasting less than 24 hours, but he was pain free shortly after coming out of surgery. He has remained that way since and says his activity level is increasing all the time now.

“They have you follow the BLT order, which is no bending, lifting or twisting, for a while, but I was back walking right away, and by January, I was driving again, which is something I hadn’t done since I first hurt my back in November,” Robert says.

“So the recovery went very well for me, and the surgery was wonderful. In fact, the whole experience was topnotch. I could not be happier with Dr. Dermarkarian and the folks at Manatee Memorial Hospital.

“Dr. Dermarkarian did a great job explaining everything, and the Manatee Memorial Hospital staff was really top-of-the-line. If you’re assigning a number grade to them, with ten being the highest, they get a ten from me, for sure.”

Page 1 of 19
1 2 3 4 5 6 19