Author Archive

Warding Off Warts

Plantar warts can be painful and embarrassing. Don’t let them go untreated.

The most common breeding grounds for verruca plantaris, or plantar warts, are communal showers, public swimming pools and even your shower at home. Warts, triggered by a viral infection, can also occur among people who share gym or athletic facilities or in settings where bare feet are the rule.

“Warts can occur on any compromised skin surface, but they are most common on the bottoms of the feet and hands,” explains Robert P. Dunne, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified podiatric surgeon at Lake Washington Foot & Ankle, which has offices in Melbourne and Palm Bay.

“They tend to invade the skin through small abrasions or cuts – ones that you may not even realize you have,” the doctor adds. “The plantar wart can be quite painful since you would be putting pressure on the area by simply standing. Paring them down can sometimes relieve some of the pressure, but a more aggressive treatment may be required.”

Lake Washington Foot & Ankle is a comprehensive podiatric medicine clinic. Dr. Dunne treats a variety of complaints, including tinea pedis (athlete’s foot); dermatitis; heel, foot and ankle pain; tendonitis; plantar fasciitis; hammertoes; and bunions.

“We treat everything from ingrown toenails to neuromas,” Dr. Dunne explains. “We also do clinical trials for onychomycosis (fungal toenails) to find better and more effective treatment for this aliment.

“As for treating plantar warts, there are several options, not all of which are invasive. Treatment can be oral, such as Tagamet®; topical, such as salicylic acid or retinoid cream; slightly invasive, such as cryotherapy; or invasive, such as an excision of the wart.

“And while there are several over-the-counter and home remedies people can try, we strongly caution those who are susceptible to infection or persons with diabetes not to try these without consulting their doctor.”

Plantar Wart Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for plantar warts, especially in our Florida environment.

“Age can be a factor in the development of a wart,” the doctor notes. “Children are more susceptible because they have not built immunity to the virus. Also, people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to the virus.”

Dr. Dunne further warns that warts are contagious, so anyone affected should take precautions to avoid spreading the virus. Preventive measures include: not touching other people’s warts; not sharing towels, shoes or socks; wearing flip-flops in the shower (at home and in a community setting); covering the wart to prevent exposure; and not scratching or picking at the wart, as this can easily cause it to spread.

“Our patients come first, and we recommend they take action now if they have a problem,” Dr. Dunne says.

Article submitted by Lake Washington Foot & Ankle. js

Healthy Mouth = Healthy Body

Good oral hygiene lowers risk of serious disease, from head to toe.

An emerging field of study is the relationship between the health of the mouth and the overall health of the body. Researchers have already linked poor oral health to several serious medical disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain respiratory illnesses.

The mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of which are harmless. The body’s natural defenses and good oral hygiene – proper brushing and flossing – generally keep these bacteria under control.

But if people don’t practice good oral hygiene, plaque can build up along the gumline, creating an environment for more bacteria to accumulate between the teeth and gums. This can lead to a gum infection called gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more serious gum infection called periodontitis.

People with untreated periodontitis have up to a 20 percent increase in risk for heart disease. In addition, these people have increased risk for stroke, peripheral vascular disease and myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Advanced periodontal disease is also associated with increased risk for the development and progression of some cancers. Pancreatic cancer risk can go up 59 percent. Smoking-related cancers can increase by 150 percent. Also, breast cancer has a greater chance of recurrence.

Medical and dental professional organizations agree on the connection between cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries and stroke with the inflammation and infection caused by bacteria from the mouth.

Reduction in symptoms and improvement in prognosis of arthritis may result from therapeutic treatment of periodontal disease.

Other conditions linked to periodontitis are premature birth and low birth weight. In addition, certain bacteria from the mouth can enter the lungs and cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

On the flip side, some health conditions affect the mouth and teeth. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection and puts the gums at risk. Gum disease tends to be more frequent and severe in people who have diabetes. And people who have gum disease have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar levels. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have increased risk of developing periodontal disease.

Oral problems, such as painful sores in the lining of the mouth, are common in people with HIV/AIDS, and osteoporosis is linked to periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. In addition, certain medications to treat osteoporosis can damage the bones of the jaw. Further, worsening oral health can occur as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

There are other conditions that might be linked to oral health. These include eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth called Sjogren’s syndrome.

The Academy of General Dentistry reports that more than 90 percent of all diseases produce oral signs and symptoms. For example, the first signs of AIDS and diabetes are often sores in the mouth. In many cases, the mouth serves as a vantage point for detecting early signs and symptoms of diseases throughout the body.

advanArticle courtesy of Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center. js

Inside Source

Retired dental office manager trusts implant pioneer to restore smile.

Nancy Salzbach has always been fascinated with dentistry. Thirty years ago, she turned her fascination into a career as an office manager for a dental practice.

Nancy Salzbach sitting on a sofa reading a book about Tuscany

Nancy reports that her teeth “look and feel so much better now.”

“As office manager, I did everything from arranging schedules to filing insurance and writing up treatment estimates, everything that goes along with dental care,” Nancy discloses. “I loved the work. I loved seeing patients get excellent care and loved knowing the dentist I worked for is doing his very best for them.”

Unfortunately, working in a dentist’s office doesn’t guarantee a person good teeth. Nancy is proof of that. A lifelong teeth grinder, she developed serious issues with her oral health, and her dental problems multiplied over time.

“Whenever I get tense, I clench my jaw and grind,” the 78-year-old explains. “Years of doing that damaged my teeth. I actually ground them down to a point where they were very small. Then they became loose, and every time I bit something or chewed funny it hurt. Ultimately, I fractured five upper front teeth that had to be extracted.”

To replace Nancy’s lost upper teeth, her dentist created a partial appliance. At first, the partial fit comfortably.

Over time, though, that situation changed. Not only did wearing the partial become painful, it failed to provide effective chewing function, which further frustrated Nancy.

“I couldn’t enjoy a meal because the partial moved in my mouth,” Nancy explains. “I couldn’t bite into corn on the cob, barbecue ribs or anything hard. Everything had to be on a fork so I could put it in the back of my mouth to chew it.”

The clenching and grinding also caused problems with Nancy’s temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which connect the lower jaw to the skull.

“I could hear crunching in my ears, and the sound was getting louder,” Nancy describes. “There was significant pain on the right side of my jaw, like a constant aching.

Eventually, my bite collapsed, so I knew I had to do something. Having worked in the dental field, I know who the really good dentists are. That’s why I chose to see Dr. Pikos at Coastal Jaw Surgery.”

Team Approach

Michael A. Pikos, DDS, is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and the founder of Coastal Jaw Surgery. He is a global leader in dental implants and surgical reconstruction known for developing the smile restoration process called Same Day Teeth®.

“Same Day Teeth is an innovative treatment that allows for the placement of dental implants and new teeth on the same day,” Dr. Pikos details. “It restores the aesthetic appearance of the smile and provides optimal functionality.”

“I ate my first ear of corn in four years recently and thought, Wow, this is great!” – Nancy

After examining Nancy, Dr. Pikos recommended Same Day Teeth to restore Nancy’s damaged upper arch. Dr. Pikos and his colleagues at CoastalJaw Surgery follow a unique, multidisciplinary team approach when providing Same Day Teeth to their patients.

“There’s the surgical team, led by me, which performs the implant surgery,” Dr. Pikos elaborates. “Then there’s the prosthetic, or restorative, team, and finally we have the anesthesia team, which puts the patients to sleep for surgery so they remember nothing and have a pleasant experience.”

At the head of the restorative team is Philip J. Hedger, DMD, Coastal Jaw Surgery’s tooth-replacement specialist and “smile architect.” He creates the permanent teeth that patients receive as part of the Same Day Teeth protocol.

Dr. Pikos decides how many implants and what type of implants to use for each patient.

“The number of implants is not as important as their distribution, where we place them in the jaw,” Dr. Pikos insists. “We have different implant sizes, and we use specific sizes to customize our treatment to each patient.

“For Nancy, we used five dental implants, which allowed us to place 12 permanent teeth. These included two zygomatic implants in the back of her upper jaw, one on each side, and three traditional implants in the front.”

Zygomatic implants are longer than traditional implants and are anchored in the cheekbone. They are typically used when there’s insignificant bone mass in the back of the jaw for anchoring traditional implants.

“A Great Smile”

With her Same Day Teeth process complete, Nancy is excited by the results.Nancy Salzbach teeth - Before and After

“Dr. Pikos reconfigured my entire upper arch,” she enthuses. “He did all the work in one day, which is amazing, and my teeth look and feel so much better now. I don’t have pain anymore and I can eat anything I want. In fact, I ate my first ear of corn in four years recently and thought, Wow, this is great!

“I’m comfortable now, and I’ve got a great smile. Everybody tells me how much better I look. The treatment fixed the crunching in my ear as well. I’m so glad I visited Dr. Pikos and had his Same Day Teeth process done.”

Nancy admires Dr. Pikos and Dr. Hedger for their expertise. She also appreciates the Coastal Jaw Surgery staff for making her experience a pleasant one.

“Dr. Pikos is at the top of his field,” Nancy lauds. “He’s a pioneer in implant dentistry and has taught his technique to many dentists. Dr. Hedger gave me my new smile and it’s dynamic. There aren’t enough good things to say about them. They’re wonderful.

“Everyone at Coastal Jaw Surgery works as a team, and they treat me like family. It’s an absolutely terrific practice. Everyone is excited to work there because they see miracles happening.”

© FHCN staff article. Photo by Jordan Pysz. Before and after images courtesy of Coastal Jaw Surgery. js

Point In The Right Direction

Painless eye injections prevent vision loss from retinal disorders.

John “Russell” Fahey and his wife, Pat

John “Russell” Fahey played football while attending New York’s Alfred University but took his student-athlete status seriously, studying diligently and ultimately graduating with a degree in materials engineering.

He went on to become a pioneer in the field of semiconductors.

“I started in the semiconductor business in 1960, and the devices were very crude back then,” Russell explains. “Today, we have phones with integrated circuits and other advances. I earned many patents as a young engineer and was very successful.

“I worked for the General Electric company for 25 years and was promoted to a management position. From there, I went to Hong Kong and Singapore and plied my trade in California.”

A man of many talents, Russell eventually became an investment banker. In that job, he bought and sold companies all over the world for six years before retiring 22 years ago.

Then, he took up oil painting.

“I paint just about everything,” Russell recounts. “I like to paint people, especially my grandchildren. I also paint landscapes and animals, including dogs. I’ve painted train stations as well, everything.”

Two years ago, a problem with Russell’s vision threatened his favorite pastime.

“I was watching TV with my wife one night, and I said to her, I can’t see out of my right eye,” Russell details. “My vision was very blurry, and it just got worse and worse. I went to several doctors all over the country, but it wasn’t until I visited Florida Retina Institute and saw Dr. Kumar that I found someone who could help me.”

Jaya B. Kumar, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained retina specialist. Upon first seeing Russell in 2018, Dr. Kumar conducted a thorough evaluation and several tests to determine the cause of Russell’s condition.

“When Mr. Fahey came to us, he had distorted vision in one eye,” Dr. Kumar recalls. “To him, straight lines appeared wavy or bent. As part of our examination, we viewed his retina and concluded he had macular degeneration.”

Common Disorders

Macular degeneration is one of the most common disorders treated by the retina specialists at Florida Retina Institute. There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. Both affect central vision, which is needed to see detail.

The dry type is more common and involves a thinning of macular tissue. The wet type is a progressive disease that is characterized by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the macula, the center portion of the retina.

“Most people think of the dry form as the ‘better’ type because no treatment is required,” Dr. Kumar reports. “But even with the dry kind, the retina gets thinner and thinner over time, and people can eventually lose some of their central vision.

“Mr. Fahey has wet macular degeneration. We began treating him with intravitreal injections of medication that helps reduce the amount of fluid and blood that leak out the blood vessels into the retina.”

The most common class of medications are anti-VEGF, or anti-vascular endothelial growth factor, the doctor explains. These target the receptors that cause the blood vessels to leak. They’re the same medications used to treat diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusions.

Other Disorders

Along with both types of macular degeneration, which is sometimes referred to as age-related macular degeneration, or ARMD, diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusions are common disorders treated at Florida Retina Institute.

“Diabetic retinopathy can affect anyone with diabetes,” Dr. Kumar maintains. “When blood sugar is elevated, it causes inflammation of the blood vessel walls, causing fluid, cholesterol and blood to seep out of the vessels and collect in the retinal tissue.

“The result is inadequate oxygen delivery to the retina, which triggers abnormal blood vessels to form to try and compensate. But these abnormal blood vessels are fragile, bleed and form scar tissue that can lead to retinal detachment and further vision loss.”

Retinal vein occlusion is usually triggered by another condition, typically hypertension. High blood pressure in the arteries causes the blood vessels to press down on the veins, creating a backup of blood trying to drain out of the eye. This causes the blood vessels to leak and the macula to swell, a condition called macular edema.

“Since I started receiving the injections, my vision has gone from 20/60 to 20/25.” – Russell

The macula is responsible for clear central vision, which is necessary for reading, driving and distinguishing facial features. Macular edema, the buildup of fluid in the macula, can lead to a loss of central vision.

FDA-approved anti-VEGF medications are bevacizumab, ranibizumab and aflibercept. The trade names for these medications are AVASTIN®, LUCENTIS® and EYLEA®, respectively.

Retina specialists sometimes inject steroids into the affected eyes to decrease inflammation and treat macular edema. Common steroids include triamcinolone and dexamethasone, which is often delivered as an intravitreal implant called OZURDEX®.

Gratefully Impressed

Russell initially expressed some concern about receiving injections into his eye. It wasn’t long, though, before the expertise of Dr. Kumar and her staff put his fears to rest.

“Imagine somebody sticking a needle into your eye; it’s not appealing,” Russell reasons. “But the shots don’t hurt. They numb the outside of my eye where Dr. Kumar injects the medicine. And she’s very good at putting the shots in my eye.”

Russell receives intravitreal injections into his right eye every six weeks. Since beginning the protocol, his vision has significantly improved, allowing him to resume painting. Unfortunately, wet macular degeneration is a progressive disease, so treatment may be needed indefinitely.

“Since I started receiving the injections, my vision has gone from 20/60 to 20/25,” Russell enthuses. “But the medicine fades with time. When I have a chart in front of me and I can’t read the lines beyond a certain point, it’s time for another shot.”

Russell is impressed by Dr. Kumar and grateful for all her help.

“I have a summer home in New York, and I have to keep up with the injections when I go there, but Dr. Kumar sets that up for me with the doctor I see there,” Russell applauds. “I appreciate that immensely and am very thankful for everything else she’s done for me.

“Dr. Kumar is a wonderful young woman. She’s very pleasant and easy to get along with, very knowledgeable and informative. She’s very good at what she does and very helpful.”

© FHCN staff article. Photo courtesy of John Fahey. mkb

Back Pain Tabled

Spinal decompression: an excellent alternative to surgery.

Five days after he got married, Jerry* made what he considers the “catch of his life”– a 98-pound blue marlin that he fought for three hours before finally reeling it in while fishing off the island of Bermuda on his honeymoon.

“Believe me, my wife, Jennifer, is a great catch, too,” Jerry notes. “She’s one in a million. But for a fishing enthusiast like me, catching a blue marlin is like finding gold. It’s one of the real prizes of sport fishing, and I can proudly say that I caught one.”

Jerry’s prized catch is mounted on a wall in the den of his Daytona Beach home. He shows it off whenever he can and happily relives the battle he waged to bring it in. There were times, though, when the 42-year-old wondered if he actually won that battle.

“Reeling in a marlin is not easy,” Jerry explains. “They give you a heck of a fight, and I got beat up pretty good that day. My hands were sore; my arms were sore. I could barely stand after I finally got it in the boat. And then the back pain started.

“The very next day, when I got out of bed, my back was a mess. It hurt so bad that I could not bend over to put on my shoes. I had to have my wife do that for me. Just pulling a shirt over my head hurt. Unfortunately, it didn’t get better over time.”

For six months, Jerry tried icing his back and heating it. He took aspirin and ibuprofen. Nothing worked. It hurt to sit, and it hurt to stand. And as for doing anything athletic, like working out, running or even fishing? Forget it.

“I even had trouble sleeping at night,” he explains. “It was all I could do to find a position where I could rest comfortably, because just moving around in bed hurt. Dealing with this back pain was one of the worst things I’ve had to do in my entire life.”

When his pain became so acute that it forced him to miss a day of work, Jerry visited a doctor. That led to a visit with a specialist who seemed all too eager to perform back surgery.

Looking for an alternative to surgery, Jerry visited Halifax Injury Physicians.

“I asked a friend at church who had dealt with back issues for years what he did for his pain,” Jerry recalls. “He said he got this special treatment at Halifax Injury Physicians and suggested I give it a try.

So, I called and made an appointment.”

Halifax Injury Physicians is a full-service chiropractic practice. The practice is devoted to the nonsurgical treatment of neck and back disorders that can result in severe pain and disability. Travis Utter, DC, owner and operator of Halifax Injury Physicians, evaluated Jerry’s back.

“Jerry came to us with severe low back pain and decreased mobility that appeared to develop rather suddenly, perhaps during that fishing expedition he went on during his honeymoon”

Dr. Utter reports. “An MRI showed that the cause of his pain was three herniated discs in his lower back. Those discs were putting pressure on the nearby spinal nerves, causing the pain and disability.

“He had tried some very conservative pain management techniques, but they didn’t work, and he was adamant about not having surgery, if it could be avoided. So I recommended that he try our nonsurgical treatment protocol, which includes spinal decompression.

Protocol Cornerstone

Spinal decompression is the cornerstone of the protocol, which also includes spinal manipulations and physical therapy.

“Spinal decompression is an excellent nonsurgical, conservative option for dealing with various spinal conditions, the biggest being disc bulges, disc herniations, facet syndrome and even spinal stenosis,” Dr. Utter notes.

Before treatment with spinal decompression, doctors first determine the major factors contributing to the pain and other symptoms. They do this by correlating the findings from a physical examination with the results of imaging tests such as an x-ray or MRI.

“When we examine all of this information, we are able to hone in on the specific level of the spine where the problem is occurring,” Dr. Utter informs.

Halifax Injury Physicians uses a “very sophisticated” decompression table that isolates specific levels of the spine for treatment, the doctor explains.

“Sometimes, there is more than one spinal level contributing to the pain,” he adds. “That was the case with Jerry. Our table also allows us to start working on one level, achieve some benefit, then move on to treat the next level.”

“Who doesn’t know someone who struggles with back pain? I know several people … and I’ve told them all about Dr. Utter.” – Jerry

The treatment is rather simple, especially in cases of disc herniation, Dr. Utter observes. With a herniation, pain comes from the spinal nerves being compressed by a collapsed vertebrae or by the material from the center of the disc seeping through the break, or herniation, in the disc.

“The bones of the spine, or vertebrae, along with the bulged or herniated disc can compress the nerves that exit the spine,” Dr. Utter explains.

“Spinal decompression pulls those bones apart, but extremely gently. As it starts to separate the bones, it creates negative pressure inside the center of the disc. This negative pressure sucks the disc material back into the disk that herniated onto the nerves.

“By pulling back that disc material, the amount of water and nutrients needed to start effectively controlling, containing and repairing the herniation is increased. Spinal decompression is typically administered in a series of treatments that effectively build upon each other. Over time, there is continued improvement until the patient is stable and can be discharged from care.”

Pain-Free and Active

Jerry achieved tremendous success by following Halifax Injury Physicians’ protocol. His severe back pain was alleviated, and his mobility was restored. He credits spinal decompression for his excellent results.

“Once Dr. Utter put me on the spinal decompression table, it took about a dozen sessions, and I was pretty much pain-free,” Jerry enthuses. “Now I’m back to running and working out again, and yes, I’ve even done some fishing.

“I haven’t caught any marlins, but I’ve caught a few large groupers. I doubt I would have been able to reel them in had it not been for spinal decompression. I’ve pretty much got my life back to where it was before thanks to that treatment.”

The treatment made a significant impact on Jerry’s life, allowing him to be pain-free and active. He’s already spreading the word about his experience with spinal decompression.

“Who doesn’t know someone who struggles with back pain?” Jerry asks rhetorically. “I know several people. Most of them are fishing buddies, and I’ve told them all about Dr. Utter and what he has to offer at Halifax Injury Physicians.”

© FHCN staff article. js
* Patient’s name changed at his request

Doctor Recommended

Once-a-week bone-building program reverses effects of osteoporosis.

Dr. Ashcraft in her office in her medical coat

Since beginning OsteoStrong, Dr. Ashcraft’s bone density has improved by more than 20 percent.

When standard chiro-practic care failed to alleviate the persistent back problems that Debra Ashcraft, MD, was experiencing several years ago, her chiropractor suggested she look outside the normal treatment box for an alternative solution.

That recommendation altered Dr. Ashcraft’s career path.

A pediatrician at the time, Dr. Ashcraft took her chiropractor’s advice to see whether acupuncture might provide some relief. In time, Dr. Ashcraft became so intrigued with acupuncture that she returned to school and became an acupuncturist.

“I’m actually dual-licensed now,” Dr. Ashcraft elaborates. “I still have my MD license, but I’ve been doing acupuncture since 2003. After experiencing it myself, I thought that having a more holistic and relaxing type of practice was a better way to go.

“I still see kids, but it’s mostly for allergies, ear infections and rashes. Acupuncture is really amazing, though. It helps with pain, general health issues, women’s issues, all kinds of things.”

Dr. Ashcraft, 62, believes so strongly in the effects of acupuncture that she still sees the acupuncturist who helped alleviate her back pain. Unfortunately, acupuncture has not slowed the effects of another condition the doctor has been fighting: osteopenia.

Osteopenia is the precursor to osteoporosis. These conditions develop when new bone growth fails to keep pace with natural bone degeneration to the point where bone mineral density becomes dangerously low.

About 54 million Americans, most of them postmenopausal women, have osteopenia, osteoporosis or low bone mass, all of which places people at increased risk for hip, spine, wrist and other bone breaks.

Low bone mass can even cause some to lose height, as it can affect the spine and lead to a stooped posture. Considered a silent disease by many physicians, osteoporosis often goes undetected until a fracture occurs.

Osteoporosis can be treated with medications, but in an effort to avoid associated side effects, Dr. Ashcraft first tried to halt the reduction in bone mass through a more natural solution.

“I first learned I had osteopenia about five or six year ago, so I tried beating it by exercising a little more and taking vitamin D and collagen,” the doctor states.

Despite those efforts, her bone density numbers kept decreasing.

“I was watching them go down and down for about three or four years,” she reveals. “While my gynecologist wasn’t that concerned about it, I was, and I wanted to avoid medications. Thankfully, a friend suggested I try OsteoStrong.”

Revolutionary Program

OsteoStrong is a revolutionary, integrative health, wellness and fitness program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the negative effects of osteopenia and osteoporosis and leads to improved skeletal strength.

At the core is a once-a-week 15-minute workout that has proved effective in helping people rebuild bone by using proprietary equipment designed to achieve osteogenesis. The workouts are performed using four biomechanical machines that allow users to be placed in the safest and strongest position. During these sessions, users safely exert pressure four to 12 times their body weight.

“The difference between our equipment and the equipment at a traditional gym is that ours is designed to strengthen the skeletal system, which means tension is developed without contraction of the muscle,” states Bryan Repple, owner of OsteoStrong in Lake Mary.

“There is no force pushing against you, which means you create the force. On the leg press, for example, I’ve had ladies in their 80s who weigh 100 pounds press 1,000 pounds. That’s because the equipment is designed to keep you in a safe position.

“For a 100-pound person to develop new bone working out on traditional equipment, they would need to create a resistance of well over 400 pounds. That simply can’t be done by 99 percent of people in a typical gym environment.”

To understand the difference between OsteoStrong and traditional workouts, Bryan invites people to try out the equipment at his Lake Mary location, where he offers a complimentary tour and workout session.

“To get these kind of results in that kind of time frame is miraculous.” – Dr. Ashcroft

“We help people build a stronger skeletal system, which further allows them to live a healthier, more active lifestyle,” Bryan adds. “It’s a truly amazing concept based on years of research into the body’s natural adaptive response to growing new bone.

“Through that research, we have come to learn that when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing new bone tissue. That’s a known medical fact. And the results of these short sessions are absolutely amazing.

“Our studies show that, on average, OsteoStrong improves bone density from 7 to 14 percent per year. Those studies also show that during their first year at OsteoStrong, people typically increase their strength by an average of 73 percent.”

Research further shows that doing an OsteoStrong session more than once a week does not promote additional benefit. As a result, the workouts are impactful and time efficient. And the benefits go beyond reversing osteoporosis.

In addition to increasing bone density, the program helps alleviate pain and symptoms associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, knee and back injuries, neuropathy, Type 2 diabetes and vertigo. The sessions naturally improve posture, strength and balance as well.

Those benefits are among the many reasons Bryan encourages all genders and ages to accept his invitation to try the OsteoStrong equipment. He also believes it’s important to know that osteoporosis isn’t exclusive to any particular demographic.

“Osteoporosis is not something that only happens to older people,” he explains. “We have clients from young to old and everything in between.

And men are not immune. When they start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid.

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

Seeing Is Believing

Well aware of studies revealing that one in two women and one in four men will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture, Dr. Ashcraft began participating in the OsteoStrong program in June 2020. By December, she was already reaping the benefits.

“I had a bone density scan in December, and it showed that my spine bone density had increased by 20 percent since my last scan and that the osteopenia had reversed back to normal,” she reports.

“That same scan showed that my hip bone density had reversed, too, but only by 1 percent. That meant I was still osteopenic in that area, but the doctor said that if I just keep working at it the bone density numbers will improve there as well.”

Dr. Ashcraft says those scan results confirm OsteoStrong can be a viable alternative to medication in the fight against osteopenia and osteoporosis.

“And that’s important because one of the problems with those drugs is that there’s a limit to how long you’re supposed to use them,” the doctor notes. “And with every patient I’ve seen, whenever they come off those drugs, they go back to having osteopenia or osteoporosis.

“Because of that, I’ve seen a lot of patients who have been told to just stay on the drugs, and I don’t like seeing that. But here we have a non-drug solution that really works in helping to fight this disease, and it’s very convenient.

“It’s once a week, you work on four machines and you’re in and out in less than 20 minutes, unless you decide to stay and work on other therapies. To get these kinds of results in that time frame is miraculous. But that’s one of the reasons I recommend it.

“I have a very small practice, but I talk about OsteoStrong fairly often, especially with my older patients. I’m probably saying something about it at least once a week to somebody. That’s how much I believe in it.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js

Cataract Surgery in 3D

Advanced operating system helps surgeon deliver better visual outcomes.

Thomas Hayes swinging a golf club

Since undergoing cataract surgery, Thomas no longer needs his buddies to track his ball for him on the golf course.

It wasn’t long after he graduated from college and began working for an insurance agency that Thomas Hayes had a vision to offer customers health insurance as well as financial planning.

Thomas’ vision allowed his company to thrive, and it allowed him to eventually retire to Treasure Island. Unfortunately, soon Thomas’ sight began fade to the point where it became a real problem for him.

“I’ve been wearing glasses for 30-some years, and a few years back, my ophthalmologist told me I was developing cataracts,” Thomas relates. “He told me the cataracts would become a problem in two or three years, and sure enough, my golfing buddies started complaining about having to watch to see where my ball went all the time.

“After needing to get new glasses again and again, I thought, It’s silly to keep getting new glasses all the time. Maybe I should just get these cataracts out. At that time I decided to go ahead and have cataract surgery.”

When Thomas asked his ophthalmologist who he should go to for the procedure, the doctor recommended Robert J. Weinstock, MD, at the Eye Institute of West Florida.

Combined Effort

Dr. Weinstock first saw Thomas last May. After confirming the diagnosis of cataracts — a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens — Dr. Weinstock discussed options regarding replacement lenses.

Thomas wanted to be glasses-free following surgery, so the decision was made to replace Thomas’ clouded lenses with multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) that would give him clear distance and reading vision.

Cataract surgery is typically performed on one eye at a time, with a break of a week or two in between. Each procedure takes just minutes and starts with the breakup and removal of the clouded natural lens, then the IOL is implanted, permanently correcting the vision.

For about five years, Dr. Weinstock pioneered this surgery with the aid of a revolutionary 3D system that benefits the doctor and the patient.

“Cataract surgery is typically performed with the surgeon having to sit still and look through a microscope in order to magnify the eye,” Dr. Weinstock informs. “You have to lean over the patient, and when you do that day in and day out, it can get quite uncomfortable.”

Not only does hovering over the patient put the doctor’s body — especially the back and neck — in an uncomfortable and arduous position, but looking through microscopes all day can put a great deal of strain on the eyes.

“The last thing someone wants when they’re having a delicate surgery is for their surgeon to be in an uncomfortable position, in pain or suffering from eye strain, so several years ago, I started working with a company on an alternative,” Dr. Weinstock says.

The result is a 3D cataract surgery system called the NGENUITY® 3D Visualization System. With this system, doctors can position themselves comfortably in a chair, put glasses on as though watching a 3D movie, and perform the procedure by looking at a magnified 3D image of the eye on a large TV screen.

Big-Screen Experience

“The screen is a big 55-inch 3D TV screen, and instead of leaning over and looking through those little oculars of a microscope, I’m sitting up and looking at the TV screen. “It’s much better for the surgeon and results in better outcomes for the patient.

“For example, when you’re fitting someone with any kind of specialized lenses the way we did with Thomas, it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. There’s a lot of detail work that needs to be done to ensure the lens is positioned perfectly.

“I’m out of glasses for the first time in 30 years, and I love it.” – Thomas

“By using this improved visualization system, the surgeon does a better job of making sure the lenses are positioned perfectly so the patient sees as well as possible postoperatively.”

Dr. Weinstock has been using the NGENUITY 3D Visualization System to perform cataract surgeries for about five years. Thomas is among the many patients who have greatly benefitted from it.

“I’m out of glasses for the first time in 30 years, and I love it,” Thomas raves. “My vision is better and brighter than ever. Even in a restaurant where the lighting is dim, I can read as well now without glasses as I used to with glasses.

“Having cataracts out was a really rewarding and positive experience for me.

I can even buy sunglasses off the rack now. I haven’t done that in ages. And it’s all thanks to Dr. Weinstock and the folks at The Eye Institute of West Florida.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js


Beyond Cosmetic

Varicose veins are a medical condition, which needs treatment, and not just a cosmetic concern.

Varicose veins are part of the superficial venous system. The main veins that give rise to them are the great saphenous vein which is located in the inner thigh and the small saphenous vein which lies in the back of the calf.

Varicose veins lie under the skin and can become large and bulge- sometimes visible as rope-like protrusions.

With prolonged standing or sitting, there can be back-flow of blood and “pooling” in the lower leg. With time, the result is swelling which progresses to tissue firmness with inflammation which extends to the skin. The skin can become discolored (pink progressing to brown), thickened, dry and itchy. This condition is know as venous insufficiency.

“Venous insufficiency is a progressive medical condition. If not treated, it can result in skin deterioration and ultimately breakdown to ulceration in some people.”

Vein Disease

In Women Up until age 50 to 60, vein disease is more common in women. This is due in large part to pregnancy and estrogen. During pregnancy, fluid in the veins increases by 50% and eventually the gravid uterus presses on the pelvic veins; resisting the outflow of blood from the legs, frequently causing leg swelling.

With the first pregnancy, varicose veins are noted in 30% of women and this increases with subsequent pregnancies. Also, spider veins are frequently seen for the first time.

Estrogen and progesterone also play a part in vein wall weakness and fluid retention.

Even if varicose veins aren’t visible under spider veins, they are present deeper. Spider veins are the tip of the iceberg.

They may be cosmetic but they point to deeper problems.

In addition to pregnancy and hormones, inheritance, obesity and jobs with prolonged standing or sitting adversely affect veins.

“Women are also at increased risk for blood clots in the deep veins during pregnancy- deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A woman is thrombophilic because the body is dealing with high hormone levels, an enlarged uterus, as well as increased blood volume and swelling. The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy continue for months after the birth.”

Vascular Vein Centers offers minimally invasive treatments, including foam sclerotherapy using Varithena® and endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) to stop what could become a progressive problem.

“The treatments eliminate affected veins without taking them out, thus decreasing patient discomfort and allowing a faster return to normal function. The blood is rerouted through the healthy veins,” Dr. Martin explains.” The treated veins are absorbed by the body over time.”

Treatments are minimally invasive, outpatient procedures performed by specialists at Vascular Vein Centers in the comfort of an office setting.

Treatment of varicose veins and venous insufficiency is covered by most major medical insurance, including Medicare and Tricare.

Article courtesy of Vascular Vein Centers. js

Don’t Put Off Treating Heel Pain

Skilled and compassionate podiatrist delivers excellent results.

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, or chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the rigid ligament along the bottom of the foot, and it often becomes a problem for runners and other athletes, affects people who are required to stand for long periods of time or may even be a result of pregnancy.

“Heel pain may worsen upon weight-bearing activity and after prolonged sitting or resting,” explains Robert P. Dunne, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified podiatric surgeon with Lake Washington Foot & Ankle Center. “Sometimes, it will improve slightly, going from intense to duller pain.

According to Dr. Dunne, some people with plantar fasciitis pain procrastinate addressing the issue.

“They get up in the morning and their foot hurts, but then it goes away during the day,” he details. “After they come home and sit down for the night, the pain returns when they stand up again. Just because it’s not bothering them during the day, they think it will eventually go away on its own, but it doesn’t.”

Dr. Dunne treats a variety of podiatric complaints, including heel, foot and ankle pain and difficult-to-heal wounds on the lower extremities. He ensures that he always offers conservative treatment options to patients whenever possible before suggesting surgery.

“For plantar fasciitis, we may provide injections of cortisone, anti-inflammatories, prednisone, night splints, walking boots, physical therapy and orthotics,” he notes.

If conservative approaches do not resolve the pain, Dr. Dunne offers the latest in surgical techniques for plantar fasciitis.

Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy, or EPF, is a minimally invasive outpatient surgery performed under local anesthesia with mild sedation.

The procedure takes only a few minutes, and patients can soon return to full activities.

“The patient is off their feet for a week and then they’re back on their feet, fully weight bearing after that,” he describes. “It’s an excellent option, and patients typically get a much better outcome with this procedure than with the traditional open fasciotomy procedure.”

Lake Washington Foot & Ankle is a comprehensive podiatric medicine clinic, offering care for everything from bunions to hammertoes.

“We treat ingrown toenails, warts and neuromas,” Dr. Dunne adds. “We also do clinical trials for diabetic ulcers, athlete’s foot and onychomycosis [fungal toenails].

“Our patients come first, and we recommend they take action now if they have a problem. Especially with plantar fasciitis, I’ve seen patients who reported that they lived with it for as long as two years, thinking it would eventually go away. I encourage people not to wait so long to come in. The earlier we catch it, the easier it is for us to resolve the problem.”

© FHCN staff article. js

We Are The Experts…

20,000 laser sessions and counting

Scott L. Geller, MD, is the board-certified ophthalmologist who brought an advanced laser technique for the treatment of eye floaters from Switzerland to the US and refined it to the precise level it’s at now. He specializes in a field that few eye doctors have an interest in.

“Patients often ask me, Why can’t my local doctor laser eye floaters,” Dr. Geller states. “The answer is because this is a niche area of interest, and most ophthalmologists will not take the time to really study and perfect it.

“It’s a bit like plastic surgery. Any intern can make an incision and stitch skin, but it takes years of experience to size up a patient, know exactly how to modify a technique and get the absolute best result possible.”

Dr. Geller has that experience. In Switzerland, he studied the treatment of diabetic retinal membranes under professor Franz Fankhauser, MD, a pioneer in the use of the YAG Laser in the eye. Since then, Dr. Geller has performed more than 20,000 eye floater laser procedures, possibly the world’s largest clinical series of patients.

Even the great ophthalmic institutions at the University of South Florida in Tampa and the Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute in Miami cannot make that claim. As a result, Dr. Geller has lectured and trained eye surgeons worldwide in this specialized skill and has treated patients from as far away as Siberia.

“Bringing this technique to the US sparked a great breakthrough in ophthalmology,” Dr. Geller states. “The laser has revolutionized the treatment of various eye conditions, making them easier and safer. When using the laser, there is no risk of an infection inside the eye, which can cause loss of vision.

“The patients who are referred to my practice are visually disabled by large floaters and membranes in the eye. They are not the common specks or strings the average person might see against a clear sky. These floaters are often directly in the patient’s center of vision.

“The obstruction to vision that these large floaters cause can be extreme. They can be especially hazardous to someone who is driving, someone who is performing other dangerous tasks that require precise vision, or to someone who has only one functioning eye due to an eye injury, macular degeneration or lazy eye [amblyopia] in the opposite eye.

“Our goal is to clear these obstructions, even in the most difficult of cases. In fact, we have a documented case of a patient with macular degeneration and dense eye floaters who has told us his overall quality of vision improved as a result of our eye floater laser treatment. In that case, even the patient’s retina specialist found it unbelievable.”

Understanding the Patient

Some eye specialists and institutions offer to treat patients with eye floaters by performing a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the gel called the vitreous humor that fills the inside of the eye. But it can cause complications, and sometimes patients are on blood thinners or have other issues which makes traditional “cutting” surgery inadvisable.

“Vitrectomy surgery should be the last resort for patients who cannot be helped by laser,” notes Dr. Geller.

When patients complain of eye floaters, ophthalmologists usually follow their routine of measuring the patient’s vision and checking for retinal tears or detachments. In those cases, barring anything unusual, the doctor usually says, “The retina looks fine and the floater will fade” or the patient will get used to it.

“That’s why ophthalmologists need to listen to the patient’s problem and thoroughly examine the vitreous gel, where eye floaters are formed,” Dr. Geller states. “If the ophthalmologist measures only the patient’s best vision on an eye chart, they may not correctly diagnose the problem and dismiss the patient out of hand, telling them that nothing needs to be done, which may leave the patient bewildered and frustrated.

“Live with it”- is NOT acceptable

“At our specialty clinic, we always measure the patient’s worst vision on the eye chart to see exactly how bad the vision gets with the floater obstructing it. Then we have a starting point to measure the outcome. It’s been difficult to convince other specialists to do it exactly this way.”

Dr. Geller also specializes in fixing cases that did not have a satisfactory outcome.

“Many ophthalmologists have no extensive, formal training, and they think they can just jump into this niche area of expertise,” Dr. Geller explains. “They are often too busy with other procedures like cataract surgery and glaucoma treatment to devote the time necessary to become an expert at this. As a result, the outcome of their treatment of eye floaters is often less than optimal. But I have a special interest in the treatment of eye floaters, and I invite any ophthalmologist or optometrist to visit and observe the procedure.”

So what is the procedure like?

“It’s quite easy compared to a traditional cutting operation,” Dr. Geller reports. “I start by placing a special lens on the eye, and then the laser pulverizes the opacity or creates a ‘window’ in the line of vision. Pain or even mild discomfort is unusual during this procedure, and we pride ourselves on our high level of concern for patient comfort.”

A Doctor and a Teacher

Dr. Geller has lectured all over the world – Italy, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Turkey, China and Mexico – on the technique he developed to treat eye floaters and has treated patients referred to him from all of those countries. One of Dr. Geller’s lectures covered the onset of disabling eye floaters in patients who recently had cataract surgery.

“I gave my first presentation on this at the World Congress of Ophthalmology in Berlin, 2010,” Dr. Geller reveals. “I also presented a paper at the prestigious American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery that documented and described unnecessary post-cataract laser surgery for implant membrane clouding due to a missed diagnosis of eye floaters.”

Finding Dr. Geller

Patients seeking treatment from Dr. Geller are advised to call rather than email his office, but Dr. Geller confides that patients often find him in a roundabout way.

“Recently, a man in West Palm Beach went to the satellite clinic of a world-famous Miami eye institute,” the doctor reports. “They told him they couldn’t do anything for him except vitrectomy. But they also told him, There’s an ophthalmologist on the west coast of Florida who can treat your eye with a laser.

“It wasn’t a direct referral, but the patient managed to find me and was ecstatic with his results. Subsequently, I uploaded a video of his procedure that can be found on or at It is one of the dozens of videos I’ve posted.”

Dr. Geller cautions that not all patients can be helped with his laser procedure, though he is pleased to report that, partially due to his meticulous patient selection process, his outcomes are positive.

“We give our patients an honest prognosis, based on our extensive experience,” the doctor explains. “Laser treatment of eye floaters is fascinating, and I look forward to doing this every day.”

Dr. Geller says that while his greatest satisfaction comes from helping patients who have been told by their ophthalmologists that nothing can be done, he welcomes the opportunity to share his technique with others in his field.

“Other ophthalmologists need only call me or ask one of my patients about their results,” he says. “I’m proud of our track record and of the patients we’ve helped.”

Article submitted by Scott L. Geller, MD. js
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