Author Archive

Risk Management

Once-a-week workouts keep busy professional fit and healthy.

When the cost of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance goes up, it’s often a result of the work done by number crunchers such as Gina Warren, whose job is to make sure the insurance company she works for can compensate its policyholders for their losses.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Gina Warren

“I’m an actuary,” Gina explains. “I help evaluate risk for my company; set our reserves, which is the amount of money we need to pay claims; and gauge pricing so that we’re charging what we need to charge to stay in business.”

For at least as long as she’s been assessing the risk of potential damage to homes and businesses, Gina has been assessing her own health risks and taking whatever steps necessary to ensure they’re minimized as much as possible.

“I’ve done yoga on and off for about twenty years and am currently doing it about four or five times a week,” she says. “I’ve also taken martial arts classes, dance classes and aerobics classes – anything to stay in shape.

“I tried going to the gym and lifting weights by myself, too, but who was I kidding? I’m not the kind to go and lift weights at a gym by myself. I just can’t motivate myself to do it consistently. I need someone to push me a bit and make sure I’m doing it right.”

Gina says one of the reasons she wanted to add light weightlifting to her exercise routine was to guard against the possible onset of osteoporosis, a disease in which the density of bone steadily decreases as people age.

“There has been some osteoporosis in my family, so I have some concerns about the quality of my bones,” Gina explains. “Lifting weights helps prevent osteoporosis; that’s why I wanted to go to the gym and lift weights.

“But the whole thing about going every other day and lifting weights on my own just wasn’t working for me, so I decided to go back to what I was doing a few years earlier, which is working out at 20 Minutes to Fitness.”

Tailored Training

At 20 Minutes to Fitness, clients such as Gina work out one-on-one with a nationally certified personal fitness coach who creates and supervises an individualized workout program. The program is designed to do exactly what the business’ name implies: achieve results through one 20-minute session once a week.

The workouts are structured around an exercise method known as slow-cadence training. The coach guides the client’s pace and form as weights are lifted in ultra-slow movements on highly specialized equipment. Repetitions during each workout last approximately 20 seconds, thereby maximizing muscle performance.

The slow-paced movements that comprise each workout create continuous tension on the muscle fibers, which allows clients to get more physical benefits from a 20-minute, once-a-week workout than they would get from going through a traditional workout
program three or four times a week.

Each 20-minute, full-body workout consists of six to seven exercises that last for approximately two minutes each. The goal is to reach what is known as peak performance, the point where blood flows to the muscle and supercharges the body. This helps burn fat while the muscles are rebuilt and strengthened naturally.

“It gets harder and harder to stay fit the older you get, but the 20 Minutes to Fitness workouts make that possible for me.” – Gina

“Participants get the maximum benefit through one twenty-minute workout per week,” explains Angela Begin, general manager and part owner of 20 Minutes to Fitness. “By going slowly, we get down deeper into the muscle fibers and force them to work at their peak performance. And we work the entire body to keep it strong.”

The program has years of research and plenty of science behind its success. The highly specialized weight-training equipment is part of that success. The equipment features a patented double-stacking system, where weight can be increased in increments of 2 pounds instead of the traditional 5, 10 or 20.

The equipment is also calibrated to work specific muscle groups without putting undue stress on joints or ligaments. Research has shown that in addition to improving strength, weekly 20-minute slow-cadence training sessions can also help improve balance, increase energy, control arthritis, increase bone density, fight symptoms of diabetes and reduce back pain.

“We have clients who are planning to have hip or knee replacement surgeries, and their doctors refer them to us because they know we can help them build the muscle around those joints prior to surgery,” Angela adds. “This allows for a quicker recovery after surgery.

“We’ve even had some people who have been able to hold off on those surgeries because they’ve built up the muscle around the joint. Most of our clients, though, are people who want to stay fit and don’t have the time or don’t want to spend hours in a gym and possibly risk injury.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Alex coaches Gina during her weekly
workout at 20 Minutes to Fitness.

“They want a safe, quiet, private studio environment, and that’s what we offer, in addition to building back that muscle that people lose as they age. The other thing is, you’re never too young or too old to do this. We have teenagers who come in, as well as clients who are in their nineties. We have clients who have never worked out as well as athletes. We build your strength from where you are today.”

Back in Action

Gina first discovered 20 Minutes to Fitness about 12 years ago, shortly after she and her husband moved to Florida. After about four years, she took a break from the workouts in an effort to add some variety to her routine but found nothing comparable to it.

“To be honest with you, I wish I had never stopped going to 20 Minutes to Fitness, because there’s really nothing else like their workouts,” Gina raves. “It’s once a week, and as you can expect, it’s a very contained workout.

“I also like that I get to work with the same trainer every time. For me, that’s Alex, and I love working with him. He’s very good at what he does.

I know for a fact that I’m getting the most I can from the workouts because he keeps great track of my form.

“He makes sure that I’m not doing anything improperly, that I’m not hunching forward when I need to be leaning back and that kind of thing. And he always makes sure that the weight is in the right range for what I’m doing.”

“If I have an ache or a pain or if something like my knee or back is bothering me, he adjusts the workout and makes sure I don’t do any further damage to myself. He does a great job of making sure I stay in form and keep myself healthy.”

Alex describes Gina as “a hard worker” who is achieving goals she set when she first began her workout sessions at 20 Minutes to Fitness years ago.

“I like that Gina has a great attitude toward the workouts and is really focused on them,” Alex says. “She’s a pleasure to work with.”

Gina says the pleasure is all hers.

“It gets harder and harder to stay fit the older you get, but the 20 Minutes to Fitness workouts make that possible for me,” she says. “They fit perfectly into my schedule, and the trainers are great. I recommend them to anyone looking to get fit or stay fit.”

Combined Forces

Advanced therapies alleviate knee and wrist pain, improve mobility.

Dawn, on what would prove to be a bitterly cold winter day in Meriden, Connecticut, was still a few hours away when Ken Cutrole climbed into the back of the salt truck he was riding in to break up a salt block that had jammed the flow of salt onto the icy roads below.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Ken Cutrole

As Ken pounded away at the salt block, his partner continued to plow on through the frigid and blackened night, driving the truck at its typical snail’s pace until he came upon an accident blocking an intersection just ahead.

“I think he sort of panicked when he saw the accident because all of a sudden, he hit the air brakes,” Ken says of the driver. “Now, I was still in the back trying to break up that salt block, so when my partner hit the brake, I just went flying off of the truck.”

Ken’s fall from the truck resulted in an assortment of bumps and bruises as well as a right knee injury so severe that in the 22 years that have passed since he suffered it, Ken has undergone more than a dozen operations, including three knee replacement surgeries.

“They made sure that when I walked out of there, I was all set. And I really like that they treat you like family there. They really care about people.” – Ken

The most recent of those replacement surgeries was done last December. It was after that surgery that Ken, who moved to Florida several years ago to get away from the brutal Connecticut winters, was advised to visit Regional Rehab in Spring Hill for his rehabilitation.

“When Ken first came to us, the effects of the dozen or so surgeries he’s had on his knee were very evident because he had an enormous amount of scar tissue and tightness around that knee,” says Paul Ernandes, PT, at Regional Rehab.

“His knee was so tight, in fact, that his range of motion was almost nothing. He literally could not straighten out his knee completely or sit with his knee bent, which is a very dangerous situation for someone to be in.”

Dangerous indeed. When Paul initially measured Ken’s knee extension, it was greatly restricted. The degree of restriction forced Ken to bear weight on a significantly bent knee, which caused increased pain and wear and tear. As a result, Ken was at a point following surgery where he could not walk normally on his right leg.

To correct the problem and get Ken walking normally again, Paul recommended a combination of manual therapy and treatments using both the Class IV deep tissue therapeutic laser and the HIVAMAT® 200 deep oscillation therapy device.

Dynamic Duo

The Class IV laser uses specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal cells. It works by releasing nitric oxide, which removes congestion and swelling, promotes rapid healing and reduces discomfort while increasing blood circulation.

The HIVAMAT 200 creates gentle impulses that relax muscles and penetrate all tissue layers to remove all the inflammatory byproducts from the cells that cause pain but are not part of the cells’ natural makeup.

“The Class IV laser in particular is an impressive and versatile tool,” adds Charles Donley, PT, director of Regional Rehab. “We use it for burn and wound patients as well as for all the different musculoskeletal issues we typically treat such as acute, chronic and postoperative pain.”

“I could not believe I gained that much relief in such a short period of time.” – Susan

Susan Wilkerson can attest to the versatility of the Class IV laser. Like Ken, Susan was given a combination of Class IV laser and HIVAMAT 200 treatments after she visited Regional Rehab following surgery for two broken bones just above her right wrist.

“I broke those bones doing something very silly,” Susan confides. “I was trying to dab this one little spot high up on a wall that I’d missed while painting, and when I stepped on the step stool to reach it, the stool went one way, and I went the other.

“I wound up landing on my right side, and that’s how I broke my arm. I had to have two surgeries to repair it, but afterward, even after six weeks of therapy, I was still in so much pain that I couldn’t do anything with my right hand.

“I couldn’t do something as simple as turn a doorknob without it hurting. I couldn’t brush my teeth, open up a jar or even pick up a fork because I had no strength. Then I saw an article in Florida Health Care News about Regional Rehab and decided to call them.”

In addition to the Class IV laser and HIVAMAT 200 treatments, Paul recommended for Susan a series of manual mobilization and relaxation therapies. After three weeks of treatment – a total of nine visits – Susan was using her hand regularly again.

“I had gone months without being able to use that hand at all, so I was totally dumbfounded that I got that kind of relief so quickly,” Susan exudes. “I could not believe I gained that much relief in such a short period of time.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Susan Wilkerson

Back to Normal

Unlike Susan, Ken’s decades of suffering required him to receive some additional treatments to get his knee back in proper working order. Happily, with the Class IV laser and HIVAMAT 200, he too gained an astonishing degree of relief.

“At the end of those treatments, Ken’s range of motion improved to allow the knee to be straight while standing and to achieve 117 degrees of flexion (bending) while sitting,” Paul says. “Normal is anywhere between 130 and 135 degrees, so he is more than functional now.”

Ken is not just functioning normally again. He is also walking well enough to go up and down stairs, playing golf and working out at the gym on a regular basis. He says he doubts he’d be doing any of that were it not for Regional Rehab.

“They really know what they’re doing there,” he enthuses. “I was very impressed with their work. They made sure that when I walked out of there, I was all set. And I really like that they treat you like family there. They really care about people.”

Ken says he’s already recommended Regional Rehab to a few friends who have been dealing with various degrees of pain and discomfort. Susan, a retired attorney whose treatments allowed her to return to her favorite activity, gardening, has done the same.

“I would recommend Regional Rehab to anyone who’s suffering like I was,” she says. “They really do wonders with the laser and all the other therapies they offer. And they’re all so honest and caring and kind. I just can’t say enough good things about them.”

An Ounce of Prevention

A healthy diet can reduce cancer risk, ease cancer care.

Something to keep track of the next time you make your weekly run to the grocery store is how much time you spend shopping in the middle aisles of the store and how much time you spend shopping out on the perimeter aisles of the store.

If you find yourself spending most of your time out on those perimeter aisles, you’re shopping right. You are, at least, if your goal is to eat healthy and decrease your chances of developing chronic ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

Yes, what you eat can actually increase or decrease your chances of developing cancer. So says the National Foundation for Cancer Research, which has determined that up to 40 percent of cancer patients could have prevented their cancer simply by eating healthier.

“What we’ve learned over the years is that there are some basic rules regarding diet and nutrition that we can apply that are very helpful in terms of helping us to prevent cancer,” confirms Vikas Malhotra, MD, of Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute.

“The first rule of good nutrition is that anything that comes naturally is good. And by naturally, we mean anything that does not come in a package or in a processed form. In other words, just about anything you find on the outskirts of the grocery store.

“We’re talking about fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats such as chicken or fish and some red meats and whole grains. A plant-based diet such as that is ideal for reducing cancer risk, and the closest thing we know of that comes to that is the Mediterranean diet.”

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits of people from countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece, where it has long been customary to eat in accordance with what is provided naturally and seasonally by land and sea.

It is a diet characterized by a high consumption of fruits, vegetables and olive oil and a moderate consumption of proteins. Dr. Malhotra points out, though, that even when following the basics of this or any other diet regimen, portion control is always important.

“Yes, we still have to watch calories and not indulge in them,” he says. “Bread and olive oil are good for you, but a loaf of bread and a pint of olive oil defeats the purpose. So, portion control is one of the keys to helping reduce cancer risk, no matter the diet plan.”

Studies Show

To further drive home the point of how a healthy diet can reduce a person’s chances of developing certain cancers, Dr. Malhotra cites a number of studies which strongly suggest that failing to eat healthy can have the opposite effect and actually increase cancer risk.

“This has been looked at across a spectrum of cancers, and we know, for example, that if you have a lot of saturated fat in your diet, your risk of developing breast cancer is much higher, regardless of ethnicity or background,” the doctor says.

“For example, you can take women from Asia or India, where we’ve had very low breast cancer rates, and put them on a standard American diet with lots of processed foods, and in twenty-five to thirty years, their risk will rise to the same level as that of their peers.

“The first rule of good nutrition is that anything that comes naturally is good… In other words, just about anything you find on the outskirts of the grocery store.” – Vikas Malhotra, MD

“Now genetics drive breast cancer a lot, too. We don’t deny that. But a low-fat diet certainly has a very beneficial effect on the development of not just breast cancer but colorectal cancer as well.

“There’s a recent study, in fact, that shows that one of the main causes of a recent epidemic of colorectal cancer in young Americans – and we’re talking about thirty- and forty-year-olds – was exactly that, diet and lifestyle.

“So that’s why we say that, in general, it is certainly best to stay on the periphery in the grocery store when shopping for yourself, and do your best to avoid anything that generally comes in a packet or is processed.

“Of course, it’s silly to say, Don’t ever eat anything processed. Everyone wants some potato chips now and then or a cookie or a cracker. And that’s fine. But minimize it, because the best rule is that the less of that you have, the better it is for you.”

Healthy choices can indeed lead to healthier lives, but the role of diet in the fight against cancer does not end there. As Dr. Malhotra points out, nutrition can also have an impact on a person’s ability to successfully cope with and beat cancer.

Eat by the Rules

“What we say in that regard is that during treatment, easy-to-digest foods are preferred,” Dr. Malhotra explains. “And during treatments, there are some cardinal rules we follow, and these rules apply to all cancers.

“The first rule is that instead of eating three big meals a day, eat six small meals. The reason we say that is digestive systems slow down during cancer treatment. Your juices aren’t flowing normally, so your gut is not working as promptly as it normally does.

“That’s why some people get nausea during their treatments. It’s in part because food tends to stay in the stomach longer, so we suggest eating half your meal and saving the other half for a snack and have it a few hours later.

“Rule number two is: Drink lots of fluids. And I cannot emphasize that enough. Fluids change the entire chemistry of the body and enable it to get rid of toxins easier, which allows the body to mount a better response to treatment, which makes you feel better.

“And rule number three is: Some comfort foods are okay. There are some reasonably healthy comfort foods such as peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese and smoothies that we don’t mind you having because the sense of taste is often lost during treatment.

“For that reason and the fact that some people get a lot of nausea during treatment and just don’t feel well, we’re less restrictive at that time. We’re a little more liberal, even though we still want you to be smart about your choices.

“And one way to do that is to make use of dietary supplements. Something like Ensure® or BOOST® can provide a lot of really good nutrition in just eight or ten ounces, so that is sometimes an option for people as well.

“The interesting thing is that every person fighting cancer is unique. What works for one may not work for another, but there are plenty of options, and figuring that out along with your caregiver or nurse can make the fight a lot easier for you.”

Losing Is Winning

Custom diet program reverses diabetes, sparks weight loss.

Outside of the coal mines that her father and first husband labored in, not much remains of the unincorporated community of Sharples, West Virginia that Charlotte Durkee called home for the first 32 years of her life.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Charlotte Durkee

The junior and senior high school she attended are gone and so are most of the homes that once dotted the area, all of them swallowed up by the expansion plans of the coal companies that came in, bought up the land and sparked the exodus.

Charlotte was among the first to leave, departing nearly 40 years ago and moving to Florida, where she eventually remarried and worked as a grief counselor before settling into retirement with her second husband on the couple’s 3,000-acre estate.

“Now, I’m seventy years old, and I have two grown daughters, three grown stepchildren and I’m a grandmother and a great-grandmother,” says Charlotte, who has just one complaint about the life she’s built since moving to the Sunshine State.

“When I married my second husband twenty years ago, I weighed one hundred seventy-five pounds,” Charlotte relates. “Since then, I’ve put on a considerable amount of weight. I didn’t realize how much until just recently, when I found out I weighed two hundred eighty-eight pounds.”

Charlotte believes a lack of proper exercise has contributed to her weight gain. Though she is a member of the SilverSneakers® Medicare fitness program, she’s limited in what she can do because of knee problems that require her to use a walker.

“I’ve had two knee surgeries because the first one didn’t work,” Charlotte explains. “So, I’ve been trying to do some other things to lose weight, but I knew I needed help with it. Then one day I saw this article in the newspaper, Florida Health Care News.

“The article was about a man who once weighed almost six hundred pounds and lost a lot of weight after he started to see a doctor who had a special diet plan. After reading that, I thought to myself, If this can work for him, it can work for me.”

Encouraged by what she read in the Florida Health Care News article, Charlotte made an appointment to visit the doctor who was featured – Eihab H. Tawfik, MD, of West Florida Internal Medicine & Multi-Specialty Group.

Been There, Done That

Dr. Tawfik is a board-eligible internist who, based on his own experience with excess weight, developed a weight-loss program that uses a combination of diet, exercise and proper doses of appetite suppressants and vitamin injections to control metabolism.

“During medical school and my residency, I found it very difficult to lose weight,” Dr. Tawfik recalls. “I was overweight, and once I started practicing, I realized the importance of controlling what I was eating and the size of the portions as well.

“I’m not eating as much as I used to, and I have a lot more energy. I also have a better outlook on life . . .” – Charlotte

“I also realized that a patient should not come to a weight-loss center and see a doctor who is overweight himself. So, I did something about my weight because I want to be an example to all the patients I serve.”

Dr. Tawfik’s program calls for patients to spend the first five days eating a very lean protein-based diet. That is followed by another five-day stretch in which the patient eats a higher-calorie-protein diet.

“Patients typically lose up to ten pounds that first week, with an average weight loss after four weeks ranging between twenty and thirty pounds,” Dr. Tawfik says. “In addition to the weight loss, this program changes our patients’ eating habits, which supports the development of a longer, healthier life.”

Shift into Reverse

Prior to placing a patient on his program, Dr. Tawfik always meets with the patient and reviews their medical and dietary histories. He measures their weight, body fat index and performs an EKG to help develop a diet tailored specifically to each patient’s needs.

In Charlotte’s case, Dr. Tawfik’s interview and examination revealed that Charlotte had Type 2 diabetes. When treating patients with Type 2 diabetes, Dr. Tawfik typically seeks to “reverse” the diabetes first.

“By reversing the Type 2 diabetes, I can actually help the patient lose weight,” Dr. Tawfik says. “That is done by using a series of medications to reverse the diabetes, and most patients lose their first twelve to fifteen pounds through the diabetes medication alone.”

To reverse the diabetes, Dr. Tawfik prescribes a combination of Victoza® and metformin. Both drugs reduce the production of sugar in the liver, but Victoza also increases insulin in the pancreas, while metformin increases the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin.

“This combination helps a patient with Type 2 diabetes lose weight because it decreases the amount of glucose produced by the liver,” Dr. Tawfik educates. “The Victoza also helps to keep food in the stomach longer so the patient feels full most of the day.

“I use two other medications as well, INVOKANA® and FARXIGA®, that work directly on the kidneys by blocking the tubules that absorb glucose into the blood. When you have all these working together, the patient naturally ends up with less glucose and more insulin.”

The combination certainly worked for Charlotte. When she first visited Dr. Tawfik, she was taking more than 300 units of insulin per day, the doctor says. By taking the combination of Victoza, metformin and INVOKANA, she soon reduced that to 20 units per day.

Charlotte is now off the insulin completely and has moved into the traditional weight-loss phase of the program that also includes daily injections of the hormone HCG, which is believed to boost metabolism and decrease appetite.

Charlotte lost about 15 pounds while Dr. Tawfik worked to reverse her diabetes. Her goal is to lose at least another 150 pounds over the next six months to a year. She’s confident that by sticking to Dr. Tawfik’s program, she’ll meet that goal.

“I haven’t been on the program for long, but I can tell you I’m not eating as much as I used to, and I have a lot more energy,” she says. “I also have a better outlook on life, so I really think this program is going to work for me and help me.

“I’m very happy with it, and so is my primary care doctor. She thinks it’s a great program, and it’s working because I’m not hungry all the time anymore, and I don’t have the craving for sweets and potatoes that I used to have.
“I’m impressed with the program, and I really like Dr. Tawfik. I recommend them both.”

Lifetime Achievement

Emergency treatment plan earns practice new patient for life.

As it is with a jeweler, a watchmaker or a surgeon, the job of assembling the injection pens that a diabetic or someone with epilepsy might use requires a delicate touch and a highly trained hand, the kind Charles Mungin possesses.

Photo courtesy of Charles Mungin.

Charles Mungin

Charles, 48, spends his days manufacturing not only injection pens but other small, personal medical devices for a major pharmaceutical company. His interests away from work suggest there is a more rugged, adventurous side to Charles’ nature as well.

“I’m a football fan,” Charles reveals “My favorite college team is Florida State University, and my favorite pro team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Other than that, I like to go to the movies a lot. I especially like action movies.”

Though not to the same degree as those encountered by action movie protagonists, Charles nevertheless faced a harrowing challenge all his own not long ago. It was a challenge that began one night while he was enjoying a quiet dinner at home.

“I don’t remember what it was that I was eating, but I took a bite, and part of one of the teeth on the right side of my mouth just broke off,” Charles says. “But that wasn’t all. I had a filling in that tooth, and when the tooth broke, the filling fell out.”

Like an undaunted action-movie hero, Charles tried at first to carry on as normal and ignore the discomfort caused by his broken tooth and lost filling. After a couple of days, though, he decided discretion was indeed the better part of valor.

“I just kind of dealt with it for a couple of days, mostly eating on the other side of my mouth, but if air got in there or I drank something cold, it really agitated that tooth and made it even more uncomfortable,” Charles says.

“I decided I needed to see a dentist. The only problem was, I didn’t have a regular dentist at the time. I hadn’t been to one in several years, so I started looking for a dentist near me. That’s how I found Dr. Fatmi.”

Dr. Fatmi is Naved Fatmi, DMD. He is the founder of Town Square Dentistry in Boynton Beach, where emergency cases such as the one presented by Charles are welcomed, and specialties such as cosmetic and implant dentistry are practiced.

Lifetime Dental Care

“When someone comes in with an emergency or is in a great deal of discomfort the way Charles was, we do what we can to accommodate that patient and squeeze them into the schedule because we understand what they’re going through,” Dr. Fatmi says.

“Tooth pain and discomfort are not easy to deal with, so instead of reappointing them for the next week and giving them antibiotics to get them through the next few days, we’ll move things around so we can get them out of discomfort that very same day.

“Once we’ve done that, we try to make them a patient of record with our practice and adopt them into what we call our Lifetime Dental Care program, which is designed to adjust and grow with each patient as their needs change.

“That’s the best way to avoid these weekend emergencies and make sure your hygiene is up to date and your fillings and crowns, if you have any, are not fracturing or deteriorating. It’s a unique approach to comprehensive dentistry that can be applied to individuals as well as whole families.”

Dr. Fatmi’s initial goal in treating Charles was to get him out of his emergency situation. That required the repair of not one but two broken teeth – an upper right second molar and an upper right second bicuspid. Before beginning work on those teeth, Dr. Fatmi was apprised of another issue.

Though there is never a good time for someone to suffer a broken tooth, the timing of the two breaks Charles suffered came not a moment too soon because his dental insurance was scheduled to run out in a matter of days.

That and the fact that Charles needed some general maintenance done but wanted to avoid dragging the repair work out over a long series of appointments added a sense of urgency to the equation. It was a problem Dr. Fatmi was totally prepared to solve.

By sharing the workload with his associate, Christiane Murillo, DMD, Dr. Fatmi was able to complete all the work that needed to be done to bring Charles’ oral health back into proper order in the short time frame he had to work in.

Good Timing

That work began with the repair of Charles’ two broken teeth. Both of the breaks were extensive, Dr. Fatmi reports, too extensive to be repaired with fillings. As a result, Dr. Fatmi opted to repair both teeth by putting crowns on them.

“We opted for crowns to avoid doing root canals,” Dr. Fatmi explains. “If a tooth is broken and it’s caught early, a crown can save the tooth. If it’s delayed and the fracture of the tooth is deeper, you end up needing to do root canals.

“So anytime someone breaks a tooth, even if there’s not a great deal of pain or discomfort associated with it, it’s always beneficial to come in and get it repaired and get the crowns done as soon as possible before it turns into a root canal.

“As far as I’m concerned, Dr. Fatmi is my dentist now. I won’t go see anyone else.” – Charles

“So Charles was smart to come in when he did, and he was fortunate that we were able to take care of both of the broken teeth and get him out of his discomfort. Then, over the next few days, we were able to complete the treatment plan.”

That plan included replacing some old fillings, perfecting Charles’ bite by improving the connection between several upper and lower back teeth and completing a deep cleaning of Charles’ teeth and gums. He has since been placed on a regular maintenance schedule.

Charles says that prior to meeting Dr. Fatmi, he had a strong aversion to dentists. That’s one of the reasons he hesitated to seek help for his broken teeth and had previously gone so long without visiting a dentist. That aversion is now gone.

“I love the people at Town Square Dentistry and highly recommend them to anyone,” Charles enthuses. “Their customer service is excellent, and everyone is very professional. They did a great job with me, and I couldn’t be happier.

“That’s why, as far as I’m concerned, Dr. Fatmi is my dentist now. I won’t go see anyone else.”

The New Ideal

Customized weight-loss program improves health, vitality.

Health insurance companies can charge higher premiums to anyone with a body mass index higher than 30. That’s a fact Wendy Casanova, a medical assistant and mother of two, learned the hard way late last year.

Photo by Marc Edwards. Before image courtesy of Wendy Casanova.

Wendy after with son, Mako.

“I first started packing on the weight after I gave birth to my son four years ago,” Wendy says. “At the time, I was okay with it, but after a while, my BMI got into the obese range. It was then that I realized my weight gain was costing me in more ways than one.”

Certain that she had allowed her weight gain to get out of control, Wendy began searching for a solution. Early on in that search, she asked a pediatrician she worked with about a program she had heard her talking about.

That program is called Ideal Protein®, and it’s endorsed by the pediatrician’s mother, Himagiri Ravi, MD, who specializes in medical weight loss at her Boynton Beach-based practice, L.I.V. Medical Weight Loss & Aesthetics.

Improving Health and Vitality

Dr. Ravi’s practice focuses on improving individual wellness through an array of services that includes Ideal Protein, a four-phase ketogenic lifestyle program designed to help patients lose weight safely and effectively while improving their health and vitality.

In addition to fostering better appetite control, improving blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as reducing blood pressure counts, Ideal Protein also helps patients develop and maintain eating habits that become second nature to them.

Those goals are achieved through customized meal plans that help to burn stored fat and preserve lean muscle by emphasizing high-quality proteins that are easily absorbed and by limiting the amount of sugars and dietary fats that are taken in.

Participants in the Ideal Protein protocol are also encouraged to exercise regularly. To aid them in that endeavor, participants are given a booklet that shows them a variety of exercises that can be done to help them burn more calories.

“It’s an active management of diet, exercise and healthy behavioral changes,” Dr. Ravi explains. “With the exception of the home exercises, everything is done in the office, including the initial blood work.

“We’ve set it up so the patient can just walk in and take the bag that he or she needs to go along with their weight-loss program and go about their day. It’s a great program, and my patients have had lots of success with it.”

Wendy is one of those success stories. She says that over the course of a few months, the Ideal Protein program allowed her to naturally alter her eating habits to a point where she now eats healthier and without the cravings that aided her weight gain.

“I’m down thirty-five pounds,” Wendy says. “One of the things I really liked about the program is that you have these weekly appointments with the doctor where you go over your results and make changes based on those results.

“If I had a week where I only lost two or three pounds, Dr. Ravi would ask me, What did you eat here and here? and we would change it up. It’s a program that really works well. It’s very doable, and I highly recommend it and Dr. Ravi.”

Nullifying Neck and Back Pain

After years of suffering, noninvasive therapies provide long-sought relief.

Like a lot of young girls, Peggy Ganzman spent several of her teenage years babysitting. And, much like a lot of teenage babysitters, she has an adventure or two in babysitting that she will remember for as long as she lives.

Photo by Marc Edwards.

Peggy Ganzman and Rosie

One such escapade happened back in her hometown of Havre de Grace, Maryland, where she was tasked one night with watching the two children of a couple who lived in a two-story walk-up above a liquor store.

“I was about fourteen, and one of the children I was babysitting was a nine-month-old girl,” Peggy, now 87, remembers. “The other was a two-year-old boy, and he and I were downstairs in the living room playing when the baby woke up crying.

“I went upstairs to get her, leaving the toddler downstairs. He had been playing with some toy cars and just like in the cartoons, I came down the steps, stepped on a car that had been left on a step and both of my feet went out from under me.

“The good news is, I never let go of the baby, so she was fine. But I came crashing down on my back and wound up sliding down the rest of the stairs, all the way to the bottom. Ever since then, I’ve had a lot of back and neck problems.”

One of the problems is spinal stenosis, which is an abnormal narrowing of the spaces in the spinal canal around the nerve root. The narrowing puts pressure on nerves, which results in pain in both the back and neck.

That and an array of other issues forced Peggy to undergo back surgery in 1982 for a ruptured disc. She once contemplated having neck surgery as well but eventually opted against it out of fear it would debilitate her too much.

“This was back in the Fifties, and I would have had to wear one of those big neck collars,” Peggy reveals. “I didn’t want to do that because it would have restricted me too much and because I’m a bit claustrophobic. So, I just fought through it.

“I’ve always done that. Even with my back pain. The surgery didn’t really help me much, so I’ve always just toughed it out because I’ve always been very active. Even now, I stay busy helping to build houses for Habitat for Humanity® and things like that.”

Peggy also likes to put jigsaw puzzles together, but her neck pain became so intense recently that no matter what she was doing, whether it was simply working on a puzzle or painting a house, she struggled to complete the task.

“The pain in my neck was just excruciating,” Peggy reports. “And it was driving me nuts. It was going into my shoulders, and it never stopped. It even hurt when I slept. Or maybe I should say tried to sleep, because it kept me up at night a lot, too.

“Driving was another problem. I couldn’t turn my head to see around me, and I actually got kind of scared to drive. Then one day, I was in a doctor’s office, and I read an article about a treatment in Florida Health Care News.

“The article was about this girl who had been in a lot of neck pain just like I was, and I thought to myself, I’ve tried everything else to get rid of this; I may as well give this treatment a try and see what it does.”

FHCN file photo.

Multi-Cervical Unit

The treatment Peggy read about is delivered through a unique medical device called a Multi-Cervical Unit, or MCU machine, and is available exclusively at Active Health Center, which has its offices in North Palm Beach.

Unique, Nonsurgical Device

The MCU is a unique, nonsurgical device that isolates and strengthens the muscles around the neck and provides a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s physical progress while the patient receives the therapy.

A tool in what doctors refer to as evidence-based medicine, the MCU records 16 different ranges of muscle movement for strength to determine the specific areas of the neck where there are weaknesses, imbalances or a loss in range of motion.

“They really got me squared away.” Peggy

Once that data is revealed, a customized treatment program is designed that allows the MCU to correct those problems. Considered the most complete and efficient system for assessment and rehabilitation of the neck, the MCU has proven to be a highly effective tool.

According to Active Health Center, studies show that after receiving MCU therapy, patient pain levels decreased by 66 percent while strength levels increased by more than 70 percent, with more than 90 percent of patients making a full recovery.

Intrigued by what she read of the MCU machine, Peggy visited Active Health Center, where she was placed under the care of Colin O. Behrue, DC. During her first visit, Peggy was given a thorough examination that included tests to determine her candidacy for MCU therapy.

“What we learned from our examination was that Peggy had some pretty severe arthritis,” Dr. Behrue reports. “So, we started her on the MCU machine, and after a few sessions, she was starting to get better. Then she had a bit of a setback.”

The setback was the result of a tumble Peggy took over a friend who had fallen in front of her while walking through a hospital parking lot. The impact of the fall erased a lot of the progress Peggy had made during those first few sessions on the MCU machine.

Photo by Marc Edwards.

Two specific treatments have relieved Peggy of her neck and back pain and are allowing her to comfortably walk Rosie again.

“The doctors at the hospital wanted to look at me there, but I told them I was already seeing a chiropractor and that I’d just go there and have them look at me,” Peggy says. “That’s when I found out it was pretty much back to square one for me.”

It was indeed back to square one for Peggy, but had she not been receiving MCU therapy prior to the fall, she may have suffered a far worse setback, Dr. Behrue informs. Her prior experience on the MCU machine proved beneficial in another way as well.

“Because she had already built up some stability, she responded a lot quicker once we started the treatment again,” Dr. Behrue says. “So it wasn’t long after we started again that she completed her work on the MCU and was feeling much better.”

Resistance Training

Peggy was better but still not great. She was still experiencing lower back pain and leg weakness, enough to make it difficult to walk her dog. To help her with that issue, Dr. Behrue set her up for treatment on the Eccentron Negative Resistance Trainer.

“Though she had undergone back surgery, where they removed some bone to relieve pressure on the nerve, nobody ever taught Peggy how to get her back and legs strong again,” Dr. Behrue explains. “So, I put her on the Eccentron.

“The Eccentron looks like a leg press and a bicycle combined, and on that machine, you do eccentric exercises, which are what you do when you’re lowering a weight or going down during a push-up. Ultimately, the Eccentron measures how much weight you can resist.

“And just like the MCU machine, the Eccentron records results as the patient exercises. From those results, a treatment regimen appropriate for the patient is created. What’s really great about it is that it helps with the whole cadence, or walking mechanism.”

A typical workout on the Eccentron begins with a one-minute warm-up, followed by three minutes of exercise and a one-minute cool-down period. The exercise period increases as patients gain strength and make progress.

“The exercises on both machines seem a little hard at first, but after you’ve done them for a while, they get easier,” Peggy shares. “And then they add more weight. What I liked about both of them is that you can actually feel yourself get stronger.”

The drive from Peggy’s home to Active Health Center takes 35 minutes, but Peggy says those long drives were well worth it because the time she put in on the MCU and Eccentron have her feeling better than she has since she was a teenager.

“They really got me squared away,” Peggy says. “When I first started going to Active Health Center, those drives were very difficult. It hurt to drive for that long. But I haven’t felt any real pain in ages now.”

Seventy-Five-Foot Fall

Like Peggy, Ryan Spencer’s neck pain was the result of an accident that occurred during his youth. The only difference is that Ryan injured his neck while he was at play in college, whereas Peggy was at work.

Photo by Marc Edwards.

Ryan Spencer

“A bunch of us went out to this river one day, and there was this big tree that we would jump off of into the river,” Ryan explains. “Well, I climbed up to the very top, and as I was jumping off, my pants got caught on a twig or something, and I got spun around.

“I more or less fell out of the tree, and when I landed in the water some seventy-five feet down, I landed right on my neck. I was actually pretty lucky because I didn’t go to the hospital or anything. I rested for a couple weeks and eventually got back to normal.”

Normal didn’t last for long. Within a few months, Ryan began to experience nagging neck pain and stiffness. Then, about three years ago, he began to experience occasional flare-ups of pain and stiffness that made it all but impossible to move around normally.

“When I had a flare-up, it would usually be about ten days to two weeks where I couldn’t move my neck to look left or right,” Ryan, now 32, says. “I literally had to move my whole body to look left or right, which made it hard to do almost anything.

“I’ve always been active. I like to go boating; I go fishing, play basketball and go to the gym, but when I had those flare-ups, I couldn’t do those things. I was usually very limited and then it would subside. But anything could trigger a flare-up.”

Now the chairman of his family’s moving and storage company, Ryan was impacted by his neck pain at work as well. So much so that he eventually sought help from a chiropractor, who discovered the root of Ryan’s pain to be three bulging and three herniated discs.

“I’ve gotten a lot of relief from my time on the MCU machine, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is having neck pain of any kind.” – Ryan

“Once he discovered the problem, the chiropractor started doing some standard adjustments,” Ryan explains. “And I did get some relief from those adjustments. But they were just treating the symptoms. They really weren’t getting to the root of the problem.”

Ryan was wondering if anyone would ever get to the root of his problem when he met Forrest Harvey, DC, of Active Health Center at a business function and inquired about the treatments he provided for nagging and occasionally debilitating neck pain.

“He told me to come in and see him, and when I did, I told him all about my history, and he started doing some evaluations,” Ryan says. “One of the things he did was apply pressure to my head as I lowered my chin down to my chest.

“As soon as he did that, I immediately went into a spasm. What’s supposed to happen there, I guess, is that your neck muscles should just tire out before they spasm. But I immediately went into a spasm. That’s when he told me about the MCU machine.”

“A Different Approach”

Ryan’s first visit to Active Health Center was in July 2018. After his initial examination, Ryan was given a diagnostic test on the MCU machine that showed his neck muscles were very weak. It was then that Dr. Harvey recommended treatment on the MCU machine.

“The diagnostic test was very revealing because it showed where I was compared to people in the general population who have strong, healthy necks,” Ryan says. “It was after that that I started the regimen of going three times per week for work on the MCU.

Photo by Marc Edwards.

MCU therapy rid Ryan of his nagging neck pain.

“One of the things I really liked about it is that it was a different approach to managing neck pain. The whole idea is that it’s strengthening the neck muscles, and most of those muscles are muscles that you really didn’t use before.”

Ryan says he began to feel the effects the MCU machine had on him almost immediately. After two or three weeks of care, he was feeling less pain and stiffness, and over time, that pain and stiffness all but disappeared.

“When Ryan first came in, he was experiencing pain that was about a seven on a scale of one to ten and was having those incidents where his neck would just lock up on him,” Dr. Harvey relates. “Those incidents are gone, and his pain has been greatly reduced.

“This is a treatment that anyone in any age group can benefit from, and Ryan is a good example of that because his pain level is now about a two at its worst. And he’s no longer waking up with pain and stiffness in his neck.”

Ryan says the best result from his work on the MCU machine at Active Health Center is an improved quality of life.

“Because of the nature of the injury to my neck, I think I’ll always have a little bit of an aching in there,” he says. “But it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be. The pain level used to be about a six or seven, and it was constant. Now, it very tolerable.

“I’ve gotten a lot of relief from my time on the MCU machine, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is having neck pain of any kind. It’s really a different approach to repairing the problem. And I highly recommend Active Health Center as well.

“Everyone there is super nice. I chatted with them about all kinds of stuff, like Game of Thrones and stupid things like that. But when it came down to business, Dr. Harvey was always very professional and upfront with me, and I appreciated that.

“He always gives it to you straight and tells you just how it is, so again, I would definitely recommend them because they’re great people, great doctors and they’ve got a lot of different pieces of equipment and therapies that really help people.”

Peggy can attest to that.

“They’re all wonderful people,” she exudes. “And they treat you like you belong there, like you’re family. It’s a very friendly group, and I really enjoyed going there. To tell you the truth, I’m going to miss visiting them. That’s how great everyone is.”

Return Engagement

Comprehensive oral care available in one office.

Airplane hangars are probably not at the top of anyone’s list of most romantic settings, but romance blossomed inside an airplane hangar nonetheless during a fundraiser for the DeLand Naval Air Station Museum in 1994.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Melissa and Mark have been happy patients of Dr. Patel for years.

“It was around Veteran’s Day, and they were holding a dance there called a hangar dance,” Melissa Borghorst explains. “I decided to go, and that’s where I met my husband, Mark. We were married about six months after meeting at that hangar.”

As Melissa and Mark began building a life together, they learned one of the things they had in common was a dentist, Rajiv Patel, BDS, MDS, the founder of DeLand Implant Dentistry. At the time, though, it had been a while since Mark had seen Dr. Patel.

“I went to see Dr. Patel once or twice, just for general maintenance, after I moved to DeLand in 1982,” Mark explains. “For some reason, I didn’t go back to him after that, but after my wife and I got together twenty-five years ago, I started going to him again.”

Mark’s return visit to Dr. Patel was for a simple check-up and cleaning. Since then, he has visited him for everything from fillings to crowns to implants, which are screw-like posts that serve as the roots for replacement teeth.

“When someone needs to replace a missing tooth, they have a couple of options,” Dr. Patel informs. “One of those options is a bridge. But Mark was not interested in a bridge, partly because he previously had a bad experience with a bridge.

“Bridges can be a good option, but they often are not a long-lasting option because if something goes wrong with the teeth that are supporting the bridge, the bridge is no longer useful. That’s why Mark chose to get implants.”

Implants are made of a titanium alloy and are placed in the jaw, where they fuse with the jaw bone. Once the fusion process is completed, the implant supports an abutment upon which a crown is placed to complete the replacement tooth.

First Things First

Dr. Patel has twice fit Mark for implants, once five years ago for a missing upper left molar and then again about a year ago for a missing right molar. In each case, Dr. Patel had to perform a special grafting procedure ahead of fitting the implants.

“Both of the missing molars were in an area where it is common for people who have been missing teeth for some time to have lost some of the bone that houses the root,” Dr. Patel educates.

“What also typically happens when a person loses a tooth in that area is that there is a pneumatization of the sinuses, where a hollow area develops in the sinus floor. In cases like that, we first have to do a bone graft to reclaim the sinus floor before fitting the implant.”

The procedure for reclaiming the sinus floor is an intricate one that starts with the creation of a small window in the upper arch. During that process, the residual bone from the upper arch is collected and briefly stored.

The residual bone is then mixed with a bone substitute material that is placed into the sinus through the window created in the upper arch. The mixture of residual bone and bone substitute material sparks the growth of new bone in the sinus.

“It is a very delicate surgery. When performed by an experienced hand, it is a very successful surgery,” Dr. Patel informs. “We have a one hundred percent success rate with that surgery in terms of creating the bone necessary to place the implant.”

It takes about six months for the new bone to grow and develop the volume and strength required to support an implant. Once the implant is placed, another three to four months is typically needed for the implant to fuse with the bone.

The final stage of the implant process is the placement of the abutment and crown. Some dentists require patients to visit specialists for all or parts of the implant process, but Dr. Patel performs all phases of that process – and much more – in one office.

Full-Service Practice

“As our name suggests, we specialize in performing comprehensive, state-of-the-art dental implant services,” Dr. Patel confirms. “But what many people don’t realize is that we are a full-service dental office.

“We do everything from routine dental work to restorative dental work, including crowns, bridges, dentures and oral surgeries. We do everything, including endodontic work and root canals. We are one doctor in one office performing all phases of dentistry.”

DeLand Implant Dentistry is also one of the few dental practices in the area certified to offer patients intravenous sedation, a monitored form of anesthesia delivered intravenously that allows the patient to remain in a state of twilight sleep during procedures.

“We do everything from routine dental work to restorative dental work, including crowns, bridges, dentures and oral surgeries . . . endodontic work and root canals.”– Dr. Patel

“In addition, we offer conscious sedation, which is administered orally,” Dr. Patel informs. “That makes the patient sleepy, too, but with conscious sedation, we can’t control how sedated the patient gets because we can’t control how much medicine is absorbed.

“With intravenous, or IV, sedation, we can control the depth of conscious sedation that is desired, and in most cases, the patient has little or no recollection of what procedure was done because they are in such a comfortable, relaxed state.

“IV sedation is a really great tool for anyone who has a fear or expresses a great deal of anxiety about visiting a dentist. And I would say that about fifty percent of all the patients that come to us come in with some anxiety.

“For patients like that, IV sedation allows us to get a lot of work accomplished in a short period of time, and that is a benefit to the patient as well because they don’t have to go through several appointments to complete their dental care.”

Mark’s anxiety level was low enough that he did not require any sedation for the procedures Dr. Patel performed on him. Those procedures, now completed, have left Mark with a more aesthetically pleasing and functional smile.

“I’m very happy with Dr. Patel,” Mark says. “He does everything in one office, and that makes it very convenient. I even had him take care of my daughter’s teeth when she was young. He’s a great dentist.”

Melissa agrees.

“I’ve always been very impressed with the fact that he keeps a small office and does all that work on his own,” Melissa states. “As long as Dr. Patel is around, I can’t envision myself ever going to another dentist. That’s how good he is.”


Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Fitting hearing aids is both a science and an art.

A 30-minute walk each day and 30 minutes of light weightlifting at the gym three days a week are among the physical activities that keep Rex West, an 81-year-old retired commercial banking executive, from feeling his age.

“I definitely make sure to get a fair amount of physical exercise in throughout the week,” Rex says. “That’s important. It’s also important to have a good medical team around you, and I have that as well.”

For years, that medical team lacked one key component. No matter how hard he tried, Rex could not find someone who could help him adequately resolve a hearing loss issue that arose shortly after he moved to Florida in 2002.

“Since then, I’ve probably been fit with hearing aids four or five times, but I wound up taking them back every time because all they did was make things louder instead of clearer,” Rex states. “They really didn’t help my hearing much at all.”

Rex had all but given up on finding a solution to his hearing problem when a visit to Atlantic Ear, Nose & Throat for an unrelated matter eventually led to a discussion with Daniel Rothbaum, MD, about hearing loss.

Comfort and Functionality

“During my examinations, Rex mentioned he had some ringing in his ears,” Dr. Rothbaum explains. “I told him that kind of ringing is often associated with hearing loss. That’s when he told me about his history with hearing aids.

“I wasn’t surprised by that, because about one in four people who purchase hearing aids wind up leaving them in their drawer because of the quality of the hearing aids or because something went wrong with the fitting of them.

“That’s why I say that fitting hearing aids is both a science and an art. The science is making sure patients get the right hearing aid with the right features and functionality. The art is setting up the device so the patient gets maximum use and comfort.”

The staff at Atlantic Ear, Nose & Throat includes an audiologist specifically trained in the science and art of fitting hearing aids. After learning of Rex’s hearing issues, Dr. Rothbaum turned Rex over to that audiologist for help.

“The next thing I know, I’m getting a hearing test and getting new hearing aids,” Rex relates. “And they’re good hearing aids. It took a couple of trips to get them adjusted, but that’s fine. After what I’d been through, I didn’t mind that at all.”

Rex received a pair of digital hearing aids with rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth® technology that allows for sounds generated by external electronic sources such as a TV set or smartphone to be heard directly through the hearing device.

“These hearing aids are really good, and I’m really happy with them,” Rex says. “I’m finally hearing clearly again, so I’m a happy customer. Everyone at Atlantic Ear, Nose and Throat was very thorough and did a great job, and I highly recommend them.”

Life in the Fast Lane

Painless, in-office laser treatment eliminates toenail fungus.

Casey Bennett is a 39-year-old working mother of a seven-year-old son, but her “baby” is a shiny-gray 2015 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS that she races against the clock on weekends at a track near her Sarasota home.

hoto courtesy of Casey Bennett.

Casey Bennett

“I do what they call test-n-tune, where you race against the clock for fun. I’ve gone as fast as one hundred and twenty-five miles per hour and run the quarter mile in twelve point nine seconds. That’s my fastest time.”

Like many a working mother, Casey lives a rather hectic lifestyle, one that forces her to move fast, even when she’s not racing her car. She was recently slowed, though, by a mishap that took place at a convenience store.

“I was reaching into one of those big refrigerators to get a bottle of iced tea, and when I pulled the big door open, it caught my right big toenail and pulled it up and off the skin,” Casey explains. “It was not fun, because it really hurt and bled a lot.”

The pain and bleeding were just the start of Casey’s problems with that toe. Because the nail was raised up, the bed beneath it soon became discolored. So, too, did her toenail, three-fourths of which eventually fell off, leaving the bed exposed.

Casey initially tried correcting the problem through the use of over-the-counter remedies, but when those efforts failed, she called her friend, Dawn Chiu, DPM, at Sarasota Foot and Ankle Center.

“I’ve known Dr. Chiu for years,” Casey relates. “I used to babysit her kids at the church we all attend, so when this toe problem wouldn’t go away, I went to see her to find out what was going on and what could be done about it.”

No Tests, No Side Effects

Dr. Chiu immediately diagnosed the problem as toenail fungus and prescribed PinPointe FootLaser® therapy, a treatment Dr. Chiu describes as her preferred weapon of choice in the battle against toenail fungus.

“I prefer it because unlike oral medications, which can upset a person’s stomach, the laser treatment kills the underlying fungus without causing side effects, and there’s no need for the patient to take a blood test beforehand,” Dr. Chiu informs.

Before and after images courtesy of Sarasota Foot and Ankle Center.The in-office laser treatment lasts only a few minutes, during which time the laser is passed over the nail in a crisscross pattern to ensure full coverage. Patients usually feel a warm sensation on their toe while the laser treatment is in progress, but no pain.

Afterward, patients can resume normal activities. When combined with topical ointments, the laser treatment has an 80 percent success rate. Casey, who had the treatment performed about a year and a half ago, is factored into that success rate.

“I noticed a difference in how my toe looked about a week after having the treatment,” Casey enthuses. “The color started to change in a good way, and it started to look better. It took a little longer, but the fungus eventually went away, too.

“It took about a year, but the nail finally grew back, and now, everything looks normal again, so the treatment worked really well. I’m really happy with the outcome and definitely recommend the laser therapy and Dr. Chiu.”

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