An Alternative “Approach” to Hip Replacement Surgery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 13, 2017

Dr. Gregory Brick and Dr. John Ready are experienced in using the anterior approach in hip replacements, a technique that has demonstrated reduced length of hospital stay, less risk of dislocation, faster recovery, and less post-operative pain.

Contributors: Dr. Gregory Brick and Dr. John Edward Ready are orthopaedic surgeons in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. James D. Kang is Chairman of the Department.

Orthopaedic surgeons have several ways of reaching the hip joint during a hip replacement surgery. The traditional technique, known as the “posterior” approach, reaches the hip joint through the buttock muscles. Less commonly used is the “anterior” approach, which makes a small incision at the front of the hip. Only 15 percent of surgeons in the U.S. employ the anterior approach, and few surgeons in Boston use the method.

Currently, the only surgeons in the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program to use the anterior approach are Dr. Gregory Brick and Dr. John Edward Ready – orthopaedic surgeons in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at BWH. They use the anterior approach in 95 percent of their hip replacement surgeries.     Read More »

Treating Movement Disorders: Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor and Dystonia

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 6, 2017

For some people with movement disorders, deep brain stimulation can offer an effective treatment for symptoms that don’t respond to medications. Above: Imaging in the AMIGO Suite at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Contributor: Michael T. Hayes, MD, is Neurological Director of the Functional Neurosurgery Program for Movement Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Movement disorders are a group of neurological conditions that cause abnormal voluntary or involuntary movements, or slow, reduced movements. These disorders can affect movements such as walking, and complex tasks like playing the piano or writing.

“No two patients with a movement disorder are alike, so treatment must be tailored to the individual. In order to achieve the best outcome each patient must be continually evaluated to decide the appropriate treatments, which may involve injections, medications, or in some cases surgery,” said Dr. Michael T. Hayes, the Neurological Director for Functional Neurosurgery at BWH. Read More »

How to Spot and Treat Lyme Disease

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 22, 2016

Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted through the bite of a tick infected with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi.

Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted through the bite of a tick infected with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi.

Lyme disease is the most common vector borne illness in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 300,000 new cases are diagnosed yearly, making Lyme disease more common than previously thought.

Lyme disease is primarily focused in the Northeast, the upper Midwest, and regions of the Pacific Northwest, though you can contract it in other parts of the country. The most common seasons to develop Lyme disease are spring, summer, and fall, but it is possible to contract Lyme in the winter.   Read More »

Of a Certain Age? Time for a Colonoscopy

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 16, 2016

The American Cancer Society recommends that both men and women undergo a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. The gold standard screening procedure for colon cancer is a colonoscopy, a test that allows your doctor to examine the inner lining of the large intestine (rectum and colon) for polyps, ulcerations, diverticulosis and early signs of cancer.

“Unlike other screening tests, a colonoscopy actually prevents cancer by allowing us to find and remove lesions before they become problematic,” said Dr. Jessica R. Allegretti, a gastroenterologist in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

In fact, due to increased awareness about screenings, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years. Read More »

Could Loneliness be an Early Sign of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 9, 2016

Loneliness may be an early sign of brain changes that lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.

In people with Alzheimer’s, the disease process—involving abnormal protein accumulation in the brain—begins 10 or 20 years before the onset of cognitive impairment.

In November, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) published a study that examined whether certain emotional or behavioral changes were associated with the accumulation of abnormal proteins, such as amyloid—a protein believed to be a precursor of Alzheimer’s.

“We thought loneliness could be an early signal of amyloid accumulation, because in epidemiologic studies lonely people have accelerated cognitive decline,” said study leader Dr. Nancy Donovan, a psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at BWH.   Read More »

Hip-Spine Syndrome: It’s Complicated (and Often Overlooked)

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 18, 2016

A patient with hip arthritis may experience hip or groin pain as well as trouble walking, while a patient with lumbar spinal stenosis may have pain down their leg, or neurologic symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness.

3d rendered illustration of a man having backache

Hip-spine syndrome is a condition where both hip and spine problems are occurring in tandem.

“Hip-spine syndrome is a distinct syndrome where both hip and spinal problems are occurring together,” said James D. Kang, MD, Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

And yet, because hip and spine disorders have overlapping presentations and symptoms, it can often be challenging for physicians to determine if a patient’s symptoms originate from the hip, spine or both. This can delay diagnosis and treatment, and many patients with hip-spine syndrome have seen several physicians and therapists, or may have undergone various procedures that did not relieve their pain. Read More »

Breast Reconstruction – New Surgical Approaches

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 11, 2016

Innovative flap procedures offer breast reconstruction options to patients who are not candidates for implant-based breast reconstruction.

Contributor: Dr. Matthew Carty is Co-Director of the Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. His clinical interests include advanced reconstructive and cosmetic procedures of the body and face.

Many women who have lost a breast to cancer cannot undergo common breast reconstruction procedures, because they have had abdominal surgery, or lack sufficient donor tissue in their abdomen.

However, with advances in surgical reconstruction, many have new options. “We can now use the patient’s own tissue to rebuild the breast,” says Dr. Matthew Carty.

The innovative reconstructive options involve transferring tissue, known as flaps, from one part of the body to the chest without compromising muscle functioning.

“After the surgical procedure, patients can still run, ride bikes, swim, do ballet, yoga, all the general activities that people like to do,” says Dr. Carty. Read More »

NICU Redesigned with Families in Mind

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 4, 2016

As families step off the elevator and enter the newly redesigned Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), they walk through a welcoming open space with natural light and views of the outdoors.

Comforting and family-centered Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

Comforting and family-centered Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

Creating a comforting and family-centered environment is important in a unit that cares for premature infants, says Dr. Terri Gorman, a neonatologist and Co-Medical Director of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, which cares for approximately 3,000 premature and sick infants and their families each year.

“Having a premature baby that needs special medical care can be stressful, and many of the parents who enter the NICU are first-time parents,” says Dr. Gorman, which is one of the reasons why the new facility offers a more open and welcoming environment for families and their babies.

After greeting a friendly unit coordinator at the front desk, families can walk from their baby’s room to the family lounge area or to the outdoor patio. With no restrictions on visitation, family members can also sleepover on the pull-out sofa in their infant’s room, and mothers can breastfeed in privacy and store milk in their room’s private refrigerator. Families can even attend daily rounds with the medical staff, if they want. Read More »

Men’s Sexual Health: Five Things You Need to Know

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 28, 2016

Understanding how sexual health issues are caused, diagnosed, and treated can help men restore sexual function and regain confidence in their sex lives.

There are a number of sexual health issues among men that can interfere with a satisfying sex life, including erectile dysfunction, problems with ejaculation, infertility and others. The following sexual health problems are common among men and are routinely evaluated and treated at the Men’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, which was recently established to meet a growing demand to address male reproduction and sexual health concerns.

#1: The most common male sexual health problem is Erectile Dysfunction (ED).

Erectile Dysfunction (ED), a difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection firm enough for sex, affects 50 percent of American men over the age of 40. ED, or impotence, is mainly caused by blood flow problems such as high blood pressure or vascular disease, which are common among aging men. Other factors that increase the risk for developing ED include surgeries involving prostate cancer, smoking, certain medications and the use of alcohol or drugs.

According to Dr. Michael O’Leary, director of BWH Men’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, many of the first-line agents for the treatment of ED involve medications that work for 50-70 percent of men. If a patient does not respond to medication, several non-surgical options exist to encourage an erection by promoting blood flow. Read More »