Author Archive

Don’t Play the Waiting Game

Removing cataracts early is your best bet.

Now that he’s retired, Kevin Reeves has more time to do the things he loves most. For this Dunedin resident, that means attending Clearwater-Countryside High School football games in the fall and either Dunedin Blue Jays or Tampa Bay Rays baseball games in the spring and summer.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Kevin says he can’t believe how clear his vision is since having cataract surgery.

“I’m a huge sports fan,” enthuses the former entrepreneur, who was part owner of a local car-wash business for 21 years and later had a stake in an embroidery business. “I’m one of the few who still show up at the Countryside games; I live only a few miles from where the Blue Jays play, so I go see them a lot; and I really enjoy watching the Rays.”
It was while taking in a Rays game at Tropicana Field a few years ago that Kevin realized he had a serious vision problem in his right eye. Though he was sitting less than 200 feet away from it in the left-field stands, Kevin couldn’t see the dugout or much of what was happening at home plate out of that eye.
“I couldn’t make out anything,” says Kevin, now 62. “Around that same time, I also started to have trouble seeing while driving at night. I eventually had to give up driving by myself at night. Or if I did drive anywhere by myself at night, it would only be to the grocery store, which is less than a mile away. My way of life became very limited.”
Despite the limitations, Kevin put off seeking help for his vision problem, opting instead to simply “deal with it’’ for several years. It wasn’t until last August, after he had “basically become blind” in his right eye, that Kevin finally sought help and then only at the behest of his daughter and primary care physician.
“My daughter and my primary care doctor could both see that there was something wrong with my eye,” Kevin explains. “My daughter had told me that I needed to have something done about it, and then my primary care doctor said the same thing and recommended I go to see Dr. Weinstock.”
Robert J. Weinstock, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained cataract and refractive surgeon who has been practicing at The Eye Institute of West Florida since 2001. Dr. Weinstock is now the director of cataract and refractive services at the
center, where Kevin presented with a case more challenging than most.

Whiteout Condition

“Kevin had what we call a white cataract, which is a cataract that is so bad, it is totally whited out,” Dr. Weinstock informs. “When a cataract gets to that point, it’s very dense and cloudy and thick. That type of cataract is harder to get out than a cataract that is younger and softer, and that’s an important factor in the visual outcome and healing process.
“When I’m performing cataract surgery, I want there to be the least amount of risk for the patient as possible. I want the surgery to go as smoothly as possible. I want the patient to heal quickly, and a softer, younger cataract puts the odds of that happening in our favor. That’s why I believe it’s best to have cataracts removed sooner rather than later.”
Cataracts can be removed easily through an outpatient procedure during which the cloudy, natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. Surgeons typically use ultrasound and a laser to break up the cloudy, natural lens. Once that old lens is removed, the intraocular lens is implanted, permanently correcting the vision.
Dr. Weinstock says there was a time when it was standard procedure for eye surgeons to wait until cataracts had matured before trying to remove them. In the past 30 years, however, advancements in technology have made it easier and safer for surgeons to remove cataracts shortly after they develop.
Dr. Weinstock adds that it is in the best interest of most patients to have their cataracts removed early in their development. The reason is that as cataracts develop, they become thicker and cloudier. As Kevin learned, a thicker, cloudier cataract can eventually rob someone of their desired lifestyle. It can also put them in danger.
“When you’ve got a thick, dense cataract, your vision gets significantly worse, and sometimes, it can become so bad that you become a danger to yourself and others because you simply can’t see well,” Dr. Weinstock emphasizes. “Despite that, most people are still waiting too long to have the surgery.
“They’re waiting until their cataracts get so dense and hard that they literally cannot see, particularly when they’re driving at night. That not only makes them dangerous on the road, but when those individuals finally decide to have their cataracts taken out, it makes for a longer, more traumatic surgery.”

The Danger in Waiting

Eleanor*, 75, is an example of just how much danger people can put themselves in when they decide to wait to have cataract surgery. Eleanor’s eyesight had been fading for years, but she put off doing anything about it. It wasn’t until her poor eyesight put her in harm’s way that she finally acted.Photo of woman with glasses courtesy of kisspng.
“I was coming home from a friend’s house one night, and they were doing some construction on one of the roads I had to turn onto,” Eleanor relates. “It was very dark, and there were cones laid out everywhere. I couldn’t see the road very well and wound up going the wrong way. I was heading into the traffic.
“As soon as I realized the mistake I’d made, I swerved over to the other lane, and thankfully, I was okay. After that I decided I better go get some new glasses, but when the eye doctor had me look at the eye chart, I couldn’t read a thing. That’s when I was told I had cataracts and needed surgery.”
Eleanor, who still works part-time as a cashier at a nearby grocery store, chose to have her cataract surgery done at The Eye Institute of West Florida. It was during her initial examination that she met Dr. Weinstock and learned that he would perform her surgery.
“The situation with Eleanor was much like it was with Kevin,” Dr. Weinstock informs. “Her cataracts were very dense, so hers was another case in which we wished we had gotten to her sooner. Fortunately, I have the technology to handle those tough cataracts, and because other doctors send me tough cases all the time, I’ve done a lot of them.
“But why make it more tough if you don’t have to? And I’m not just talking about it being tougher on the doctor. It can be tougher on the patient when they wait. As the human body gets older, it heals slower, which is another reason not to wait, and why it is better to get cataract surgery done sooner rather than later.”

Better Than Ever

Eleanor’s decision to wait so long to have her eyes examined was born partially out of fear. A glasses-wearer most of her life, she says she has never worn contacts because she doesn’t like putting anything in her eyes and has a fear of anyone else, even a trained physician, touching her eyes.
She carried those fears as well as a few others into her cataract surgery, but soon learned she had no reason to be anxious. During two operations, one for her right eye and one for her left, Dr. Weinstock removed her cataracts and implanted the IOLs so effortlessly that Eleanor barely even noticed she’d had the procedures done.
“They made me feel very comfortable and told me it would be nothing, and the surgery went just like they said it would,” she says. “They said I would be in and out of there in a few minutes, and I was. I don’t think I was in there for any more than about twenty minutes, and I never felt a thing.”
Kevin had a similar experience, but his surgery was a little different. Because he’d waited so long to address his problem, his surgery required the use of a femtosecond laser to make the incision in the eye and break up the cataract. That laser had to be used, Dr. Weinstock explains, because the advanced stage of Kevin’s cataract created an unusual amount of tension and pressure on the eye.
“That tension and pressure can cause a type of complication where the capsule that’s supposed to hold the new implant lens can tear,” Dr. Weinstock explains. “The femtosecond laser helps to keep that from happening and makes the surgery easier and safer.”
And quite successful.
Though he needed a few more days than typical cataract patients do to heal to the point where he noticed a difference in his vision, Kevin says he began to see better out of his right eye after a week. Now, he sees better than ever out of that eye.
“After a month, I went to get my eyes checked again, and the doctor told me, You really don’t need glasses,” Kevin recounts. “He said I had 20/25 vision in the eye that I had the cataract in and that I had 20/18 vision in the other. The thing I can’t believe is how colorful and clear everything is now.
“Before I had the surgery, if I went out during the day, my eyes would water and burn because they were so sensitive to the light. It got to a point where I decided to just stay inside. But the first time I went outside after I had my surgery, there was no burning or anything, and I literally cried right there in the driveway because everything was so clear.”
Eleanor had a similar reaction to her surgery, which was performed in two stages. Because she had cataracts in both eyes, Dr. Weinstock removed the cataract and replaced the clouded, natural lens with an IOL in her right eye first. He performed the second surgery on the left eye a week later.
“When I came out of the surgery on my right eye, I could not believe how bright and clear everything was,” Eleanor relates. “I covered my left eye and everything I looked at out of my right eye was vivid and colorful. Then I covered my right eye, and everything I could see out of my left eye was dull and yellow.
“That’s how I was seeing all the time, so the surgery made a remarkable difference. Now that I’ve had the surgery done on both eyes, I just can’t believe how well I’m seeing. When I’m at work now, I can read the little numbers on the bar code on the groceries. Before, I had to have someone read them for me if I needed to key them in by hand.”
It’s not only at work where having cataract surgery has impacted Eleanor’s life. Cross-stitching is one of her favorite pastimes, and while she never gave it up as a result of her impaired vision, she had reached a point where she could only do it under bright light and while wearing highly magnified reading glasses.
“Now, I can do my cross-stitching, and I don’t need readers,” she says. “My vision is just perfect now. Compared to how I was seeing before, it’s really amazing. That’s why I definitely recommend Dr. Weinstock and The Eye Institute of West Florida. Everyone there is so professional and courteous, and I’m proof that they do a great job.”
So is Kevin.
“I’m really fortunate to have found Dr. Weinstock,” Kevin exudes. “If anybody asks me about my eyesight now, I tell them to go see Dr. Weinstock and not to wait. I’m a bit of white-knuckle guy when it comes to seeing doctors and dentists but seeing
Dr. Weinstock is something I wish I had done a long time ago. It’s changed my life.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.

Test-Case Scenario

Accurate testing, validation prove critical in properly correcting hearing loss.

Mary Dawson is a Disney-holic. So are most of her closest friends. From the rides at the theme parks to the special events that are held there throughout the year, there is nothing that Walt Disney World® offers that Mary and her friends don’t enjoy.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

A self-proclaimed Disney-holic, Mary’s improved hearing is allowing her to enjoy her favorite pastime again.

“We spend almost our entire social lives at Disney,” Mary enthuses. “We especially love the Flower and Garden Festival and the Food and Wine Festival. The wine-pairing dinners they do there are just amazing.”
Mary and her friends are among those who believe Disney World is indeed the happiest place on earth. It wasn’t all that long ago, however, that all the joy she usually derives from a Disney visit disappeared.
“It all started on Thanksgiving Day, 2016,” Mary explains. “I woke up that morning virtually deaf in my left ear with full-blown tinnitus, which for me sounded like someone was running a vacuum cleaner or a leaf blower right by my ear. It was just terrible.”
After the Thanksgiving Day holiday passed, Mary visited an audiologist associated with a local ear, nose and throat specialist. The audiologist diagnosed her with sudden hearing loss, which has many causes, and the physician prescribed prednisone to alleviate inflammation.
A few months later, after the audiologist said her hearing had stabilized, Mary was fit with a hearing aid. However, the hearing aid did little to improve Mary’s hearing. A few months later, she suffered the first of several similar hearing losses in her right ear.
“From November 7, 2017 until May 31 of 2018, it was one hit after another,” Mary says. “It was a gradual deterioration, and once again, after being told to wait for my hearing to stabilize, I was fit with a hearing aid for my right ear. But it didn’t do me any good.
“I honestly couldn’t hear a thing. At Disney, for example, I couldn’t hear the chefs or the winemakers talking about their food and wine. I couldn’t hear the people at the table with whom I was sitting. I couldn’t hear anything, and it was awful – for everyone.
“I had my hand up to my ear, saying, Excuse me, what did you say? Can you repeat that? We don’t do summers at Disney, and I was so upset thinking this is how it’s going to be for me from now on that I told everyone that come fall, I wouldn’t be rejoining the group.”
Mary was in tears that day. Within a month, however, she was shedding tears of joy, and all because she read an article in Brevard Health Care News about EarCare. Ironically, she read that article while waiting to have her ears checked yet again by her local ENT.
“I was thinking even before I read that article that I really needed to go somewhere else,” Mary remembers. “Then I read that article and said to myself, That’s it, that’s the place I’m going to, and I made the appointment for June 19.”

A Sound Decision

During her initial appointment at EarCare, Mary first met with owner Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD, a board-certified doctor of audiology. Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck gave Mary a thorough hearing evaluation, then asked her to meet with her husband, Glenn A. Oberbeck, BC-HIS, a board-certified hearing instrument specialist.
“When Mary first came to us, she was extremely frustrated,” Glenn reports. “She had been wearing hearing aids that she purchased from a big box store, and she was extremely frustrated with the way they were working.
“So, we tested everything, and the diagnostic tests we did showed us that there was potential for her to have much better hearing. In fact, that potential was significant, so we offered her the opportunity to try some new technology.”
Glenn says proper testing is absolutely critical in correcting someone’s hearing, and that it was especially critical for Mary, who had been told by her original audiologist that her left ear was “a dead ear,” meaning her hearing could not be restored in that ear.
“We’ve seen that many times where someone has been told that they have a dead ear and that they’re not going to get a viable result by wearing hearing aids,” Glenn says. “That’s why it’s our philosophy to do validation as part of the testing process.”

“It’s really a remarkable thing what the Oberbecks have done for me. I can’t thank them enough. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I not found them.” – Mary

Validation is the part of the evaluation process where after a patient has been fit with a hearing device, their hearing is tested electronically with the device in place in their ears to determine their efficiency. Depending on the results, the device can be adjusted or changed out to fit the patient’s needs.
“The validation is critical because our goal is to give our patients directionality and bilateral input, meaning they can hear out of both ears,” Glenn explains. “So, if our testing tells us it is in fact a viable ear, we’ll fit the patient and test that ear with the instrument in place.
“Sometimes we find that there is no benefit or that their hearing is actually worse, or the worse ear is negatively impacting the better ear, in which case we would take the hearing aid back since it was providing marginal or no benefit.
“With Mary, however, the results were very good. She was getting bilateral input and bilateral clarity, and by providing that, we opened a door for her to once again participate in the things that are important to her, and she’s very excited about that.”

Tears of Joy

“Elated” might be a better way to describe Mary’s state. Since being fit with new hearing aids from EarCare earlier this summer, she has already made her reservations for her fall excursions to Disney and told her friends she will once again be a part of their outings.
“I can’t tell you how elated I am about how this has all turned out,” Mary enthuses. “I told Glenn and everyone at EarCare, You didn’t just give me back my hearing, you gave me back my life. Even now, I get choked up talking about it because I’m so fortunate.
“I mean, I really didn’t know just how bad my hearing had become until I went home the first day with my new hearing aids, and that was on June 27. My birthday just happens to be June 28, so it was a very happy birthday to me
a very emotional birthday.
“I was so happy that day that I cried. I just sobbed tears of joy because it’s really a remarkable thing what the Oberbecks and EarCare have done for me. I can’t thank them enough. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I not found them.”

Built-In Benefactor

Longstanding employee brightens residents’ days.

Nancy Cann is considered one of the pillars of the Hibiscus Court Assisted Living Community. The fact that she’s been a part of that community since shortly after its pillars went up some 20 years ago is one of the reasons.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Nancy has been a part of the Hibiscus Court family for nearly 20 years.

“I think she came with the building,” jokes Hibiscus Court Executive Director Heidi Kuchenbacker-Robbins. “They built it, and Nancy was just in it. She really is the face of Hibiscus Court and has been for many years.”
That face first arrived at Hibiscus Court about ten months after it opened its doors. Nancy starting working at the community, making the move from across the street, where she worked at Holmes Regional Medical Center.
“I actually watched them build the Hibiscus Court campus,” Nancy says of the senior living community. “When I first got here, I started out as a housekeeper and did that about two-and-a-half years. Then I started driving the van, transporting residents to their various appointments and outings and things like that. Now, I do a little bit of everything.”
That’s no exaggeration. At Hibiscus Court, which offers an assisted living program, senior day-care services, short-term respite stays for seniors recovering from illness or surgery and a secure memory-support community called The Garden, Nancy wears a lot of hats.
There are times when she can be found working the front desk and others when she can be found helping in the dining room, caring for the plants or coordinating one of the many activities the residents are able to engage in.
“No two days are the same for me, and that’s one of the things that I love about what I do here,” Nancy says. “For example, today we are going to the Foosaner Art Museum, and when we come back, I’ll be holding a Roaring Twenties trivia contest in celebration of a 20th anniversary celebration.
“We throw big parties where it’s all hands on deck. We love to Luau, and senior prom is probably my favorite day of the year. Everyone – residents, families and our team – really enjoy celebrating and partying with each other. It’s probably why we have a disco ball hung up all throughout the year.
“I also chauffeur residents to their doctor’s appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I call bingo, play cards and dominoes, and if I have an idea for an activity or something like that, I’ll pitch it and become a part of that process as well.”

Woman About Town

“There is a rich array of things that Nancy is interested in, and we have managed to parlay that into her job, which falls under our resident programming department,” Heidi adds. “Wherever there is a need, we just kind of plug her in.
“So, if we’re taking our residents to a baseball game, a concert at the Melbourne Auditorium or on a museum tour, Nancy is the person who is there. And at a lot of those places, they would notice if Nancy wasn’t there.
“Another thing that Nancy always does is keep flyers about Hibiscus Court in the van with her. That way, when people ask about us, she can give them more information. In addition to all that she does, she’s a great ambassador for us as well.”

“We wouldn’t be the same place without her. She’s just amazing.” – Heidi

Nancy wouldn’t have it any other way. She says Hibiscus Court has become like a second home to her and that the residents are like family members. She says the relationships she’s built with many of those residents have enhanced her life tremendously.
“I really love interacting with the residents,” Nancy says. “It’s probably the thing I love the most about working here. There are so many who have had such interesting lives, and I love it when they share their experiences. Moments like that really brighten my day.”
In return, Nancy brightens others’ days as well.
“We wouldn’t be the same place without her,” Heidi states. “She’s just amazing. She’s the one who keeps us all going around here.”

Walk On

Minimally invasive vein treatment relieves chronic leg fatigue.

Retired school teacher Marlene Burke and her husband, Tom, love to travel. They’ve toured most of Europe and the Caribbean together and once combined a trip through the Canadian Rockies with their other favorite pastime – camping.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Vein treatment allowed Marlene to enjoy every stop on her Rhone River cruise.

This past Christmas, Tom surprised Marlene and a friend of hers with a mid-July trip to the south of France, where they would spend eight days sailing down the Rhône River on a cruise that included walking tours of six towns between Avignon and Lyon.
There was just one problem: For years, Marlene, 74, found it difficult to walk more than a couple hundred yards before chronic cramping, tightening and fatigue forced her to stop and rest. It’s a problem that can put a bit of a damper on a dream vacation.
“It’s one thing to be with your husband and kind of go at your own pace, but when you’re with a tour group, you don’t want to hold everyone up and slow the group down,” Marlene states. “I was determined to go on the trip, though.
“I decided that I was just going to have to be extra careful this time around and be as smart as I could about it. I figured I would just have to stop and rest and catch my breath and then go on, but I was willing to do that to make the trip.”
Marlene has long associated her leg problems with a back injury she suffered as a teenager during a bad fall. Just weeks before leaving for her trip, she learned that the true cause of her leg discomfort was something much different.
“I had gone to see my doctor for my six-month check-up, and a nurse practitioner who I don’t always see there put a stethoscope on my carotid artery,” Marlene remembers. “She then told me she wanted me to get an ultrasound done.
“Once I got the ultrasound done, I went back to the doctor, and she told me she wanted me to see this one particular doctor because there was a procedure she wanted him to do for me. I assumed this was all related to my back, but I was wrong.”

Surprising Diagnosis

The doctor Marlene was advised to see is not a back specialist. He is board certified and fellowship trained vascular surgeon Pranay T. Ramdev, MD, the founder and president of Vascular Interventional & Vein Associates.
“Marlene first came to me with a question of a possible carotid artery blockage in her neck,” Dr. Ramdev reports. “While she was here, however, she complained of significant discomfort in her calves when walking even short distances.
“We then evaluated her in our office and found that she had pulses in her groin but no pulses in her feet. After that, we performed a formal ultrasound on her that showed she had fairly significant disease in both her lower extremities.”
The disease Marlene was diagnosed with is peripheral artery disease, or PAD. It is a common circulatory problem in which the narrowing of an artery due to plaque build-up inside the artery limits blood flow to the legs and feet.
As was the case with Marlene, symptoms usually begin to present themselves in middle age and worsen over time. For years, surgery was required to remove the plaque, but there are now some outpatient plaque-clearing options that
Dr. Ramdev specializes in.
“The technology is so far advanced now that we can perform some of these minimally invasive procedures in a surgical suite right in our office using local anesthetic and a sedative, so the patient doesn’t have to go to the hospital,” Dr. Ramdev educates. “I recommended this procedure for Marlene and she agreed.”
The minimally invasive procedure takes about an hour to complete and begins with the doctor entering the inverted-Y-shaped iliac artery through a half-centimeter incision in the groin. The doctor then runs a device down through the artery that cuts, collects and removes the plaque.

Like Playing PAC-MAN

“There are different devices that can be used for this procedure, including one that spins at about twenty thousand rotations a minute that is very good for calcified plaque,” Dr. Ramdev notes. “For Marlene, I used a device that works like the little guy in the old PAC-MAN games.
“It’s called a Medtronic HawkOne, and it has a very sharp blade on the lower jaw portion of it that cuts and compacts the plaque so you can make several passes with it.
“After the plaque is sufficiently cleaned out of the artery, a balloon is placed inside the artery to open up the blood flow. With Marlene, we found that she had a complete blockage at the right groin, so we cleaned that out and reestablished blood flow down her right leg.”
Marlene was scheduled to have her procedure done just 12 days before she was planning to leave for France, which left her concerned that she might need to cancel her trip to allow for time to recover.
Dr. Ramdev assured her that was not necessary.
“As far as recovery goes, all you need to do once the procedure is over is lie flat on your back for about six hours in this special room they have,” Marlene relates “After that, you’re good to go, and let me tell you, they take great care of you while you’re there.
“They have TVs, and a nurse is right there with you the whole time. They even have assistants checking on you all the time to make sure everything is okay. I give them all an A-plus grade for their care and the same for Dr. Ramdev because he did a great job.

“That procedure was like a miracle. For me, it was nothing short of life-changing.” – Marlene

“I went home that night, and my legs were still a little sore the next morning, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. And the best thing is that the cramping and pain were gone. Those were eliminated immediately, and boy, what a difference that made on the trip.
“My husband had signed me up for just about every tour on that trip, and I went on all of them and I kept up with everybody. And let me tell you, we walked miles and miles and miles on cobblestones through villages and towns everywhere.
“It was just a great trip, and I know that I would not have had as great a time as I did had I not had that procedure done by Dr. Ramdev. That procedure was like a miracle. For me, it was nothing short of life-changing.”

Clean-Up Duty

Comprehensive treatment plan restores aesthetically pleasing, functional smile.

New York City native Louis Rodriguez finished his career as a laundry manager in style. After serving two hospitals in that capacity, he spent his last 18 years in the industry running the laundry service at the famous Fontainebleau® Hotel on Miami Beach.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

The result of Louis’ dental restoration was a dream smile.

“It’s a special place,” the 75-year-old Palm Bay resident says of the Fontainebleau. “I especially like the beach there. It’s beautiful.”
For years, Louis wished he could have said the same about his smile. Unfortunately, the loss of several back teeth and some extensive wear on many of his remaining teeth left Louis with a smile he was not eager to show off.
Those same issues were also causing Louis a lot of pain. When he ate, for example, his upper front teeth would become very sore. He was also experiencing a lot of pain in the gums behind his upper front teeth.
It was that pain that recently sent Louis in search of a dentist who could help him with the problem. The search ended one day late last year while Louis was waiting to be seen for a checkup by his primary care physician.
“I was in the waiting room reading a newspaper, Brevard Health Care News, and I saw this article about a dentist that was nearby,” Louis recounts. “I knew I had to do something about this problem I was having, so I decided to go see him.”
The dentist Louis read about is Richard Leong, Jr., DDS, a general and implant dentist who practices comprehensive, full-treatment dentistry, including full mouth reconstructions. Upon first examining Louis, Dr. Leong immediately discovered the cause of his discomfort.
“It was a bite problem,” Dr. Leong reveals. “Because he was missing a lot of back teeth, when he bit down, his upper front teeth were coming down over his lower front teeth, and that was causing a scissoring-like action on the gums behind his front teeth.
“That’s why he was experiencing so much pain with his gums and his teeth. He came in thinking there was something wrong with his teeth and that he needed them taken out, but I told him that wasn’t necessary, that what we needed to do was fix his bite.”
Pleased to hear that he didn’t need to have his front teeth removed, Louis agreed to have Dr. Leong correct his bite. That work began with Dr. Leong doing a comprehensive evaluation of Louis’ mouth, after which Dr. Leong came up with a treatment plan.
The treatment plan was extensive. It included some standard dental work to fill several cavities and periodontal treatments to correct some advanced gum disease. When that work was completed, Dr. Leong began the difficult task of correcting Louis’ bite.
The problem with Louis’ bite stemmed from the absence of several teeth in the back on both the lower left and right sides of his mouth. That had caused his jaw and some remaining teeth to shift, which resulted in some bone loss in the jaw area where teeth were missing.
“The jaw bone is meant to have roots in it, and when those roots are there, they stimulate bone growth,” Dr. Leong educates. “When there are no roots, the opposite happens, and the jaw bone slowly shrinks away.
“That was part of the problem Louis was having, so I told him, We first have to determine where the upper and lower jaws should meet so that we have a goal of where to put all the new teeth. Then we can talk about how we’re going to replace the missing teeth.

Case Study

To determine where the upper and lower jaws should meet, Dr. Leong studied photographs, x-rays and a CT scan of Louis’ jaw and ran several computerized tests to help create a temporary, plastic denture that included wax teeth.
“The teeth are in wax so we can move them,” Dr. Leong informs. “That’s how we set up the bite to see if the patient can tolerate it the way it should be and likes the way it looks and feels. We do that using special instruments called articulators.
“With the articulators, we can simulate the bite. It allows me to show the patient how the new teeth will feel in the mouth. Through that, we determine whether the jaw joints and the muscles associated with the jaw joints can tolerate the new bite.
“The reason we do that is because over the years, the jaw joints and muscles have become used to a different position. All we’re doing is moving the bite back to where it used to be, but we have to make sure it can handle being there.
“It’s a big step and after we took that step with Louis, he was no longer hitting his upper teeth with his lower teeth and biting into his gums. We could see right away that he was pleased because he said, Wow, this is like having new teeth. I’m going to like this.
Once Dr. Leong determined exactly what physical changes needed to be made to correct Louis’ bite, he next had to discuss with Louis how best to replace the teeth that were missing so that he could properly execute the plan.
Louis went into the process thinking he would replace his teeth with partial dentures, but he eventually settled on implant-secured bridges in the areas where he was missing multiple teeth, and implants capped with crowns in the areas where he was missing single teeth.
Implants are screw-like posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as the foundation for replacement teeth such as crowns or dentures. When secured by implants, dentures don’t slip or move; they stay in place when patients speak and eat.
In making his decision to go with implants, Louis agreed to become the patient in a teaching video for Dr. Leong, who is also an adjunct professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he teaches the dental aspect of biomedical engineering.
Louis’ reward included being fit with three dental implants – one in the upper left, where he was missing a couple of teeth and needed a bridge, and two in the lower right, where he was also missing several teeth and needed a bridge.
Because he still had existing teeth strong enough to support the implant-secured bridge in the upper left, Dr. Leong placed an implant there and fit the bridge on the same day. The other bridge required a wait for the implant to fuse to the jawbone.
“It takes up to six months for implants to become secure in the jaw, so we usually can’t fit a patient with a bridge right away,” Dr. Leong notes. “But if there are adjacent teeth that can support the implant and make it steady, we can fit the bridge right away.
“In Louis’ case, he was able to use that bridge on the upper left right away because it was going to be supported by the teeth adjacent to the bridge. He did, however, have to wait a few months before we could fit the bridge on the lower right side.”
That wait was predicated on the fact that Louis had no adjacent teeth to support a bridge in that area. The time Louis spent waiting for the bridge was not wasted, however, because Dr. Leong used that time to repair all of Louis’ remaining damaged teeth.
By the time the restoration project was completed, Louis had received two implant-supported bridges and had more than a dozen other teeth repaired and crowned. The result was a smile and comfort level Louis had previously only dreamed of.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything has turned out,” Louis enthuses. “I don’t have any more pain in my teeth or gums when I eat, and my new teeth all look beautiful. Now, I just go for regular cleanings and checkups.”

Lasting Impression

It was more than 30 years ago, while still living in her native New England, that Jeanne Miller lost five good teeth as part of the process required to have a cyst removed from her mouth. In time, Jeanne received a partial denture to take the place of the teeth that were removed.
That partial never really sat well with Jeanne, however. The fit was off ever so slightly, and over the years, it caused the roof of her mouth to become inflamed from irritation. The irritation resulted in a lot of pain and discomfort, which prompted Jeanne to begin looking for an alternative to the partial.
“My search eventually led me to dental implants, and I was immediately intrigued by everything I read about them,” Jeanne says. “Finally, after my husband and I moved to Florida in 1986, I started looking for a dentist who could place implants. That’s how I found Dr. Leong.”
When he first examined Jeanne, Dr. Leong discovered more than just an ill-fitting partial. He also discovered that over the years, Jeanne had developed some gum disease, had several crooked teeth that needed to be straightened and was suffering from temporomandibular joint disease, or TMJ.
“TMJ occurs where the joints connect to the jaw,” Dr. Leong explains. “There was clicking where her upper and lower jaws met. Correcting the problem with her jaw and correcting the crooked teeth became my first priority because her teeth needed to be in the correct position for the implants to work properly.”
Dr. Leong attacked the problem by first treating Jeanne with dental splints to correct her TMJ and braces to straighten and properly position her teeth. In addition, he treated her gum disease with laser therapy in preparation for the implants.
“The objective was to give her a bite that was stable and more functional,” Dr. Leong reports. “Once we achieved that objective and had the teeth in the proper position with healthy gums, I was able to move forward to determine the probability of her receiving dental implants.”

Implant Options

Dental implants come in two sizes: standard and mini, the latter of which is a smaller-in-diameter implant that can sometimes be used when a patient no longer has enough bone left to support standard implants.
“If all a patient needs is to get the denture to stay in place, smaller implants are ideal,” Dr. Leong continues. “They are typically for patients who do not need bone grafting done.”
The smaller implants can support single crowns as well as a small bridge or partial denture. There are a lot of uses for these smaller implants if used correctly and if there is a sufficient amount of bone intact.
“When the process is completed with precision, people can retain the denture immediately,” Dr. Leong educates. “They can walk out of an appointment, and the denture is securely in place. It’s really amazing.
“But there needs to be adequate bone, healthy gums and a proper bite first. Patients need to have a proper overall environment in their mouth in order for implants to be successful.”
Once Jeanne’s teeth were properly aligned and the implants were secure in the jawbone, Dr. Leong placed implant-
supported bridges on both the top and bottom of her mouth. Dr. Leong says he also had to repair some of the prior work Jeanne had done over the years.
“It’s common to have to do some repair work over time,” Dr. Leong says. “Nothing lasts forever. Jeanne later developed acid reflux, which damaged some of her teeth. Because of that, I had to redo her lower right bridge.
“Since I first saw her many years ago, Jeanne has been a real trooper and a loyal patient. She’s had substantial work done to her smile, and she’s really come a long way. You name it, she’s had it done.”

Patient and Doctor Loyalty

For more than three decades now, Jeanne has driven 40 miles each way from her home in Titusville to the office of Dr. Leong in Melbourne. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Her dedication to Dr. Leong and his practice stems from his commitment to provide top-notch care to his patients.
“I’ve had a lot of dental work done over the years, from bridges to crowns and everything in between,” Jeanne says. “Dr. Leong is like a good friend. He’s reliable, and I can talk to him about anything. We’ve developed that trusting relationship over the years. He’s the best there is, hands down,” she says. “He’s not just a dentist, he is a true friend.”

Give It a Shot

Minimally invasive therapy alleviates erectile dysfunction.

It’s rare that Jordan* has his feet on the ground. He is a pilot, after all, and when he’s not sweeping someone away on a short business trip or an island vacation as part of his work for a private charter company, he’s teaching the craft.
“I joined the US Air Force after I got out of college and learned to fly there,” Jordan explains. “After I got out of the Air Force, I went to work for one of the big airlines, but after a couple of years, I joined the charter company and became a flight instructor.”
One of the regular runs Jordan makes for the charter company is to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Upon his return from one such run a couple years ago, Jordan remembers feeling quite sluggish. It was a feeling that for weeks on end he couldn’t shake.
“I just wasn’t feeling right, so I went to the doctor,” Jordan, 58, recounts. “The doctor checked me out and ordered some blood work, and when the blood work came back, it showed I had low testosterone. That was the reason for the fatigue.”
The diagnosis prompted Jordan to begin searching for someone to treat his condition. His internet search eventually took him to Dean Wellness Institute, where Melissa Dean, MD, and her staff have been offering a holistic approach to wellness for more than 15 years.
While meeting with Dr. Dean for the first time, Jordan explained that his problem went beyond fatigue, noting that he was also having difficulty maintaining an erection and was suffering a loss of sensation during intercourse.

Short, Simple Procedure

“When you have a situation like that, the first thing you need to do is make sure there aren’t any basic medical problems, such as vascular disease or heart disease, that are causing the erectile dysfunction,” Dr. Dean informs.
“The reason we do that is because if someone has a problem with their blood vessels elsewhere, they may be having the same problem in the penis. So, we always check for those issues first and then look to make sure the patient’s hormones are optimized.”
Dr. Dean’s extensive evaluation did not discover any vascular issues or disease, but it did uncover a
hormonal imbalance. She treated that through a short, painless, in-office procedure in which she implanted
testosterone pellets into his hip area.
Jordan responded well to the testosterone pellet therapy. After a few weeks, he reported feeling more energized and said he was sleeping better. Several months later, however, his problems maintaining an erection remained.
“In cases like this, where we’ve optimized the hormones and the patient is still having problems with erectile dysfunction, we have to resort to more invasive options, and the best available is the Priapus Shot®, or P-Shot®,” Dr. Dean educates.
The P-Shot is a simple, in-office procedure that can be completed in about 15 minutes. During that time, the patient’s penis is injected with a byproduct of his own blood that stimulates new tissue growth and results in larger, firmer, longer-lasting erections.
“We start the process by drawing blood from the patient and spinning it in a special machine that separates the red blood cells from the platelet-rich plasma, which is where all the body’s growth factors are,” Dr. Dean explains.
“What we’re left with is what we call liquid gold because it has so many great benefits and growth factors in it. What we do once we have that is inject that platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, into several areas along the penis.
“When that PRP with all those natural growth factors gets into the organ, it regenerates the nerves and the damaged tissue, and the result is a stronger, longer-lasting erection and increased sensitivity during sexual activity.”
There are no known side effects associated with the P-Shot, and no downtime is required to recover from it. In fact, says Dr. Dean, patients receiving the P-Shot treatment can have intercourse immediately following the procedure.

Confidence Booster

Though he’d done some research on it prior to agreeing to have it done, Jordan says he went into the procedure a little nervous about receiving the injections. He soon learned he had no reason for hesitation or concern.
“First off, Dr. Dean did a great job of explaining everything I needed to know about the procedure,” Jordan reports. “And the procedure, which is done in no time, went just the way Dr. Dean said it would.
“The first thing they did was apply a numbing cream. That took effect pretty quickly, and they gave me about three or four injections, which gave me a warming sensation. They then told me I should start to see the results in three to four weeks.”
Jordan says he noticed a difference in the quality of his erections after about a month. As expected, his erections are now stronger and longer-lasting, and one of the results of that, he adds, has been a boost in confidence.
“I reached a point where I was hesitant to even engage in any kind of sexual activity out of fear I wouldn’t be able to perform properly and that I’d disappoint my wife,” Jordan admits. “But after the P-Shot, I’m much more sure of myself.
“Before I found out about the P-Shot, the confidence level I had about my ability to sustain an erection was about seventy percent. Since I received the P-Shot therapy, my confidence level is up to one hundred percent.”
Dr. Dean says a single P-Shot procedure typically provides the desired results for at least a year and sometimes longer. She says many patients are so pleased with the results, they come back for a booster P-Shot after a year or so, even if they don’t think they need it.
Jordan has yet to return for a second P-shot, but he says he will have no hesitation to do so should he feel the need. He knows exactly where he’ll go to get it and from whom.
“The idea of getting an injection in that area of the body can be a little intimidating,” Jordan says. “But
Dr. Dean is such a professional and does such a great job of explaining everything and making you feel at ease about it that I wouldn’t let anybody else do it.
“I definitely recommend the P-Shot for anyone who is having a problem such as mine. And I recommend they go to the Dean Wellness Institute and see Dr. Dean. Thanks to her, I’ve got a lot more energy and a lot more sexual confidence.”

* Patient’s name withheld at his request

 

Getting to Know You

Longstanding patient-doctor relationship helps improve health, quality of life.

Peter Victoria proudly calls himself a car guy. The owner of Zen Auto Concepts, which uses advanced technologies to keep automobiles looking like new, Peter details cars for a living, and when he’s not detailing cars, he’s often out racing them.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Peter Victoria

“I have a lot of cars that I like to run,” Peter says. “I don’t abuse them. I just like to run ’em – fast. I’ve also done the Richard Petty Racing Experience, been to the Skip Barber Racing School and I’m going to the Ron Fellows Corvette School of Racing in October.”
Even on a track designed for it, racing a car at 140 miles per hour or more can be quite dangerous. Peter, 60, can tell you from experience that driving a car at any speed is even more dangerous when your vision is impaired.
“I’ve had issues with my eyes since the 1990s, when it was discovered that the pressure in my eyes was a bit elevated,” Peter says. “For about the last five years, I’ve controlled it with drops and these implants that are like drain tubes that were put in my eyes.
“These tubes reduce the eye pressure, and they’re so small, you don’t even notice them, but when they were put in, the doctor noticed I was developing cataracts. She told me then that when the cataracts start causing my vision to get cloudy, they’d have to come out.
“Well, not long ago, that’s what began to happen. My left eye started acting up, and my vision in that eye started getting cloudy. It soon got to a point where I could only see clearly out of about half of my left eye.”
The doctor who implanted the drainage tubes, or tube shunts, in Peter’s eyes is Sarah Khodadadeh, MD, a Yale-trained glaucoma specialist and cataract surgeon who joined the Center for Advanced Eye Care in Vero Beach five years ago.
Peter was, in fact, the first patient Dr. Khodadadeh performed glaucoma surgery on after joining the Center for Advanced Eye Care team. Peter has been a patient of Dr. Khodadadeh ever since, seeing her regularly for checkups and even some emergency care.
“There was one time when I thought the tube in my right eye was blocked because I’d rubbed it, and she actually let me come in on a Sunday to make sure everything was okay,” Peter raves. “She’s one of the best doctors I’ve ever had.”
Peter’s faith in Dr. Khodadadeh is so strong that when his vision became cloudy, he immediately turned to her again for help. It was the right choice because Dr. Khodadadeh’s unique skill set allowed her to not only remove Peter’s cataracts but further treat his glaucoma, all at the same time.

Combined Correction

“When we talk about glaucoma, we’re talking about a buildup of fluid in the front of the eye,” Dr. Khodadadeh educates. “It’s that buildup that increases the pressure, which can damage the optic nerve.
“The shunts we gave Peter years ago improved the flow of that fluid, which relieves the pressure in the eye. By taking the cataract out of the eye of someone who has glaucoma, the pressure in the eye is automatically lowered.
“But we can lower that pressure even more now, because for people who have glaucoma and cataracts, there are now some extra procedures that can be done at the same time we perform the cataract surgery that can help control their glaucoma.”
Cataract surgery, which includes the removal of the cloudy, natural lens and the implantation of a new, synthetic intraocular lens (IOL), usually takes about ten minutes per eye. The extra glaucoma procedure adds only a minute or two to that time.
“She’s one of the best doctors I’ve ever had. . . If more doctors were like her, everyone would be a lot healthier.” - PeterDr. Khodadadeh is qualified to perform half a dozen such microinvasive procedures, and because Peter has been a patient of hers for so long, she knew precisely which procedure would serve him best for his lifestyle and line of work.
The procedure she performed is called an endocyclophotocoagulation, or ECP, which she describes as a laser procedure that helps to decrease the amount of fluid that’s made in the eye by shrinking the area in which the fluid is made.
An ECP is performed after the cataract has been removed and the IOL has been implanted. It is achieved by directing a special camera through the same incision that was made to conduct the cataract surgery.

That camera is attached to a large TV screen, and at the inserted end of the camera is a laser beam that looks like a laser pointer. The beam is used to shrink the area where the fluid is made so that less fluid is produced and lower pressures are obtained.
“Once the patient has lower pressures, we can get them off any drops they may be taking for their glaucoma,” Dr. Khodadadeh explains. “That’s one benefit. And there is no extra postoperative care that the patient needs to go through, which is another.”

Healthiest Eyes in Decades

Peter says the greatest benefit of having cataract surgery and the ECP procedure done at the same time is that he’s seeing better than ever through the healthiest eyes he’s had in nearly 30 years.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Since having the ECP laser procedure, Peter says he is seeing better through the healthiest eyes he has had in years.

“The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that everything is so much brighter now!” Peter exclaims. “I go outside and it’s like someone turned a spotlight on. That’s a result of the cataract surgery.

“I still wear glasses for reading and for my work up close, but that was a personal choice. I’ve been wearing glasses for distance vision since I was a kid, and I really wanted to change that up, so I had my eyes corrected for that, and I’m very happy.
“The other thing that’s great is that I’m off the glaucoma drops because of the ECP procedure. My pressures are almost normal now, and that’s an incredible outcome. It’s also why I believe so much in Dr. Sarah. “If more doctors were like her, everyone would
be a lot healthier.”

Ring Out the Old

New generation of hearing aids relieves tinnitus symptoms.

During the 30 years he has spent working as a pharmacist, Paul Garneau has had to break the sad news to hundreds of people seeking a remedy for tinnitus that there is no absolute cure for it. Just recently, Paul himself had to come to grips with that fact as well.
“For me, it was something that came on gradually over the last three or four years,” Paul says of the condition more commonly known as ringing in the ears. “Little by little, it just started getting worse and worse.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Paul Garneau

“Luckily, it never reached a point with me where it was keeping me up at night and really driving me crazy. But I can tell you it was the last thing I noticed before falling asleep each night and the first thing I noticed when I woke up the next morning.”
Had that been the worst of Paul’s issues, he might have never sought professional help for the problem. When the tinnitus began to affect his concentration and ability to hear clearly at work, the 54-year-old chose to get proactive.
He started by visiting his primary care physician, who recommended he see Drianis Duran, AuD, at Gulf Coast Audiology in Fort Myers. What Paul learned upon first being examined by Dr. Duran surprised him. It also eased a lot of his concerns.
“What she found was that I had a measurable loss of hearing at a very specific frequency range,” Paul relates.
“Dr. Duran told me the tinnitus is actually a symptom of the brain trying to compensate for that loss of hearing.
“She said your brain produces that tone to fill in the blanks, but it ends up just being annoying rather than helpful. She then told me that if you correct the hearing loss, the tinnitus becomes less noticeable. That was very encouraging.”

Masking Agent

Though there is no absolute cure for tinnitus, hearing aid manufacturers now develop devices designed to mask the annoying sounds it creates. Through her examination, Dr. Duran learned that one such device would work well for Paul.
“The first thing you do with tinnitus is figure out how bothersome it really is,” Dr. Duran informs. “Is it something you notice all the time, is it easily masked by environmental sounds or is it something you only hear when it’s very quiet?
“In Paul’s case, it was something he heard when he paid attention to it or it was very quiet. That told me, If I give the brain back the sounds it’s missing at those specific frequencies, it will mask the tinnitus.
To achieve that objective, Dr. Duran recommended the latest generation of a ReSound hearing instrument that includes features designed to mask the tinnitus. The results have been “miraculous,” Paul says.
“I had lost my hearing so gradually that I didn’t realize I was missing all these things, but all of a sudden, I could once again hear sounds like leaves crinkling or birds chirping or my cat purring,” he says. “It was almost tear-worthy.”
The new hearing aids didn’t just improve Paul’s hearing. They also improved his health. After just two days of wearing them, he discovered he was also sleeping much better, which made him fresher and more alert at work.
“The outcome I’ve had is better than I ever thought it would be!” Paul exclaims. “I just can’t thank Dr. Duran and her staff enough for all they’ve done for me. They’re excellent, and I would recommend them to anybody.”

Digging Deeper to Defeat Diabetes

Holistic approach eliminates need for medication.

When Yassira Orellana was first diagnosed with diabetes in January of 2016, the 38-year-old mother of three knew that from that point on, her life was going to be a bit more complicated. She just didn’t expect her life to become as difficult as it eventually did.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Yassira found a better treatment for her diabetes at Root Cause Medical Clinic.

For more than a year after being diagnosed with the disease, Yassira was under the care of a Tampa Bay area endocrinologist who initially prescribed for her a typical diabetes medication designed to lower her blood sugar levels.
In Yassira’s case, however, the medication never worked the way it was supposed to.
“For the year-plus that I was on the medication, I was mostly unresponsive to it,” Yassira explains. “The medication was supposed to be lowering my glucose levels, but they were always very random and often elevated, and no one could really explain why.
“In addition to that, I was experiencing some very bad side effects. One of the worst was a stomach problem that caused me to get real clammy, gave me cold sweats and made me suddenly run to the bathroom. That was really difficult for me.
“But the absolute worst side effect was the kidney stones. After I started taking the medicine, I was getting kidney stones every month. And if you’ve never had a kidney stone, well, all I can tell you is it’s a pain I wish on no one.
“They’re really awful, and the last one I had, it took me a week to pass it. It was just excruciating, and I had it during my middle daughter’s birthday. That’s when I decided I’d had enough and began looking for someone else to treat my diabetes.”
It was in May of 2017 that Yassira began looking for an alternative to the diabetes medication she was taking. When some friends suggested she check out The Root Cause Medical Clinic, she made a call to see what treatments they had to offer.

A Unique Approach

At The Root Cause Medical Clinic, the staff’s goal is to do more than mask a patient’s symptoms through a one-size-fits-all approach to healing. Instead, they dive deep into each patient’s issues to find the true cause of their pain and discomfort, knowing that true healing often requires time and customized care.
With Yassira, that unique approach began with her being given an A1C test, which is a standard blood test that determines average blood sugar levels over a three-month period. Yassira’s test revealed an A1C level of 7.2. That’s well over the normal range of 5.7 or below, which confirmed the previous diabetes diagnosis.
“Since our goal is to get to the root cause of any problem, the next step for us was to dig deeper and find the cause of her diabetes,” explains Jordan Axe, DC, the founder of The Root Cause Medical Clinic. “With diabetes, the big thing is that your cells become inflamed and resistant to insulin, so you need to ask yourself, Why is the cell resistant?
“Often, we inflame and agitate our cells with poor diet, chronic stress, viral infection, bacterial infection and nutritional deficiency. When we do that, the cell gets very upset and becomes resistant. So, with diabetes, we look for those issues. What we found with Yassira was that she had some nutritional deficiencies and some absorption issues.
“Nutritional deficiencies and absorption issues usually occur in the gut, and what we often find with people who have these issues is that they actually are eating nutritiously and making sure to get all the right vitamins. The problem is that they’re not absorbing all those vitamins and nutrition.”
Believing that might be the case with Yassira, Dr. Axe utilized specialized testing that had been overlooked by conventional medicine to determine whether unbalanced bacteria in the gut was causing hormone conversion issues in the liver.
He then prescribed a customized treatment designed to clear the liver of toxins and deposits. When this treatment is combined with an organic diet, it can effectively get the liver back in proper working order.
“The liver is where all your hormones are converted, and insulin is a hormone,” Dr. Axe educates. “But if your liver is overworked, you’re not going to convert your hormones and detoxify properly. That’s why two precursors to diabetes are a lack of hormone conversion and the build-up of heavy metals and toxins.Yassira Orellana quote about Root Cause
If you want to reverse diabetes, you need to reduce inflammation and stress and remove toxins that are blocking your insulin receptors. But you also need to eat less sugar so your cells are more sensitive.
“The bottom line with diabetes is that there are multiple factors that trigger it, so we have to address all those factors in order to reverse it. It’s like a relationship that’s gone bad. It’s usually not just one thing that’s caused it to go bad. There are probably a couple different things that you need to fix to get it back to health.”

Change of Pace

Yassira’s nutrition plan was designed by Sarah Bingham, a nutritional coach who also educated Yassira on how factors such as blood type and even ethnicity can affect the way our bodies absorb certain foods.
Combined with the liver cleanse, Yassira says the nutrition plan worked “wonderfully” as it eventually lowered her A1C levels from 7.2 to below 5.7 and allowed her to get off the diabetes medicine, which eliminated the disturbing side effects.
“That was a big triumph for me,” Yassira says of getting off the diabetes medicine, “because it also eliminated the kidney stones and all those stomach problems I was having. An added bonus is that I also lost weight. So my overall health improved greatly as a result of going to see Dr. Axe at The Root Cause Medical Clinic.
“I was so pleased with Dr. Axe that I even started to get some joint and spinal care from him to help me with some of the joint issues I was having. I absolutely recommend Dr. Axe and The Root Cause Medical Clinic. They don’t just put a BAND-AID on your
problem. They get to the root cause of the issue and fix it, which is what true healing is all about.”

Take a Seat

Innovative therapy relieves urinary incontinence.

When Kristin Gonzalez got together with a few of her girlfriends for a typical girls’ night a couple years ago, she had no reason to believe that an embarrassing bout with urinary incontinence would interrupt her good time.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

The BTL Emsella chair treatments have given Kristin back confidence and security.

Though urinary incontinence does occur most often in women, it usually occurs in women who are pregnant, have had children or are going through menopause. At the time of the get-together, Kristin didn’t fit into any of those categories.

An aesthetician by trade, she was only 38 and had never been pregnant. But when someone said something that made her laugh hysterically, her personal battle with one of life’s most bothersome conditions began.

“When it first happened, I was like, What is going on here?” Kristin, now 40, recounts. “When I mentioned it, all the other girls just kind of laughed because a lot of them have had children and thought it was funny that I was the one who brought it up.

“After that, it became a topic of discussion, and it turned out there were maybe one or two women there who had not experienced it before. But I wasn’t even forty yet, had never had children and hadn’t been through menopause, so I was still a bit confused.”

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine, and, as it did with Kristin, it can be sparked by something as simple as a laugh, a cough or a sneeze. It typically results in the loss of a few drops of urine, but it can also present itself as a strong urge to urinate.

Considered common by physicians, millions of women and men suffer from the condition that is typically caused by a weakening of the bladder or sphincter muscles, an overactive bladder or nerve damage.

Kristin would soon find out, however, that her case was different.

Thinking at first that her urinary incontinence was likely a result of her drinking a lot of water during the day, she first sought help from a doctor, who prescribed a medication designed to help her manage
urinary frequency.

Kristin didn’t like the idea of being on such a medication, so she abandoned the medication after about a month and decided to simply “deal with” the problem as best she could. As time passed, however, that became increasingly difficult.

“After a while, the problem became worse,” Kristin says. “It started happening when I sneezed or when I was playing with my niece and nephew on their trampoline. I was thinking, Wow, this is really terrible.

A New Arrival

Kristin’s struggles reached a peak earlier this year, not long before she changed jobs and became part of the team at ZMD Center for Face and Body Rejuvenation – A MediSpa. The change marked the beginning of the end of her battle with urinary incontinence.

“I was in my first or second day of work there when this odd-looking chair arrived,” Kristin explains. “When I asked what it was for, I was told that it’s a leading-edge technology for treating urinary incontinence. That’s when I said, Hey, I’ve got that.

It was immediately thereafter that Kristin became not just an employee at the ZMD Center for Face and Body Rejuvenation – A MediSpa, but a patient of its founding physician, Brian K. Zebrowski, MD, FACS.

During one of her first conversations with Dr. Zebrowski, Kristin revealed that she had been dealing with hormonal fluctuations for a couple of years and was going through pre-menopause at an age earlier than most women do.

“I’ve actually had a great sense of relief. I cannot remember the last time I had a leakage episode. . .”
– Kristin

Dr. Zebrowski responded by saying those factors were likely the cause of her urinary incontinence and suggested she undergo the nonsurgical, noninvasive treatment offered through his practice’s new arrival, the BTL Emsella™ chair.

Designed to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor and reduce incontinence without drugs or surgery, the BTL Emsella chair stimulates the muscles in the pelvic floor and restores neuromuscular control by delivering electromagnetic energy to the muscles of the pelvic floor.

“You sit in the chair fully clothed, and the only restriction is that you cannot have any metal in your pelvis, such as an IUD,” Dr. Zebrowski explains. “You sit there for twenty-eight minutes, and the effect is the same as doing more than eleven thousand Kegel or pelvic floor exercises.”

A complete BTL Emsella chair program requires patients receive two 28-minute treatments per week for three consecutive weeks. Those treatments, Dr. Zebrowski emphasizes, will not only help with urinary incontinence but also fecal incontinence.

In addition to strengthening the pelvic floor and decreasing incontinence, the BTL Emsella chair treatments can also help patients more easily achieve orgasm and experience stronger orgasms, which can positively impact their sexual wellness and relationships.

A Relaxing De-Stressor

“It’s a completely painless treatment that I actually found quite relaxing,” Kristin says. “I’ll sit there and relax and look at a magazine, and the sensation you get is similar to the feeling you get from the jets in a hot tub.

“It’s really very comfortable, and the time goes by very quickly. For me, the treatments were like a de-stressor for my mind because I knew I was actually going to sit in one spot for about thirty minutes, so it was a good time to zone out.”

Dr. Zebrowski says the treatment has so far attained a 95 percent satisfaction rate among patients. Kristin is among those pleased with the relief the treatment provides, which is why she’s become such an advocate for the product.

“I’ve actually had a great sense of relief,” Kristin enthuses. “I cannot remember the last time I had a leakage episode, and I recently went through a period where my allergies were really bothering me, and I was sneezing and coughing a lot.

“Normally, I would have experienced some leakage during that period, but this time – nothing. So, it worked really well, and like anything else, it needs to be maintained, so I’ll probably get a treatment once a month to make sure it keeps working.

“And I would recommend other women with this problem try the BTL Emsella chair. I’ve talked with a lot of women who say they’ve tried everything, and I tell them to try this because it really works. If you want to prevent this problem from happening again, there’s no reason not to try it.”

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