Private Laser Spine Surgery

Private Laser Spine Surgery

Those experiencing back pain may wonder what laser spine surgery is and if it could help them relieve the back pain. Laser surgery gets a lot of attention as people think it is something new. However, it really is not. The holmium laser was FDA approved in the 1980-ies for use in orthopedic and spinal operations.

A laser is a focused beam of light.  The purpose of it is to burn the source of compression the beam is directed at. Surgeons have been using lasers to remove portions of soft tissue that presses on the nerves in your spine, such as herniated disk or a ligament enlargement, as well as certain types of tumor. Lasers may also be best for shrinking disc material around a nerve.

However, they are not very effective when it comes to spinal stenosis. Bone does not respond that well to the heat from the laser. Mechanical bone cutting instruments are needed to perform surgeries to relieve pain from bony stenosis.

Remember, laser is just a tool. Its successful use requires experience and proper training. There is still an incision that needs to be made and there is a greater risk of damaging nerves or tissue with a laser. In addition, there is no scientific evidence that laser spine surgery is in any way superior to a non-laser approach.

So, is laser surgery right for you? Talk to you doctor and inquire about his/hers experience with laser. If you need help navigating the landscape of private spinal treatment centers and specialists’ qualification, we are here to help. Give us a call toll free 877 344 3544 and we will ensure you have the best information possible to make the right decision about your private laser spine surgery.

Private Herniated Disc Surgery

Private Herniated Disc Surgery

A herniated disk is a common cause of back and leg pain. Spine discs normally act as a cushion and shock absorber between our spine bones, or vertebrae. When a disc in our spine is damaged, such as bulged or broken, it is pressing on nerve roots and causing pain.

First line of treatment is a non-surgical one, such as changing your activities, physiotherapy, steroid injections, anti-inflammatories or pain medication. If none are helping and pain has persisted for over 6 weeks, surgery can be considered to take pressure off the nerve roots. The surgery removes the bulging disc material that is pressing on the nerves. Necessary diagnostic tests must be done prior to considering surgery, such as MRI, CT scan or Myelogram (use of dye for X-ray).

Most common type of surgery performed for herniated disc is called discectomy. There are several approaches to discectomy. A traditional and most common technique is open discectomy, with or without the use of an operating microscope.

If a microscope is used the surgery is considered minimally invasive. The use of it illuminates and magnifies the surgical field and allows the surgeon make very small incisions. It is also called microdiscectomy. This type of surgery offers immediate relief from sciatica due to a lumbar herniated disc.

Endoscopic microdiscectomy is a technique where a small incision is made and an endoscope is used to visualize the interior structures of the spine and the bulging part of the disc. The smaller space needed for endoscope allows for smaller incision. This type of surgery is not suited for everyone suffering form back pain.

Percutaneous discectomy is another minimally invasive surgery to treat a herniated disc. A special tool is used to remove the herniation by heating it or scraping it. This type of surgery is not appropriate for everyone either. It does provide a faster recovery due to a very small incision.

Laser discectomy is yet another minimally invasive approach. In this type of surgery, the bulging disc material is not removed but burned by the laser.

When considering spinal discectomy, ensure you talk to your surgeon about your options. It is also very important to have a surgeon who is highly skilled in the type of surgery you are seeking. If you need help sorting through different private spinal centers and their doctors and specializations, Health Vantis is here to help. Give us a call and we will ensure you have the best information possible to make the right decision about your private herniated disc surgery.

Private Bunion Removal Surgery

Bunion is a bony deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. The deformity could be due to wearing uncomfortable shoes that are too small or too tight, genetic pre-disposition, or because of the arthritis.  Bunions can be very painful, making walking an unpleasant experience. Your doctor may recommend wearing comfortable, or orthotic shoes, or using splints to correct the positioning of the big toe. If that doesn’t help, surgery may be considered to correct the issue.

The type of surgery will depend on the severity of the deformity. Your doctor will request an Xray of your foot to help diagnose the condition. Many types of surgical procedures exist when it comes to removing the bunion. The type of recommended surgery will depend on the current size of bunion and how it developed.

The wait times for bunion surgery vary depending on the province you reside in. In Nova Scotia, it will take about 466 days to get in for a consult with a surgeon and then additional 359 days to wait for surgery – close to 2.5 years altogether. In Alberta, wait times for foot and ankle surgery are not much better, with most people getting surgery within 46.8 weeks or 327 days.  The wait time to see a specialist is not published.

Health Vantis works with private medical facilities that can accommodate bunionectomy within 2 weeks. The pricing starts at USD $4125. It is a day surgery and does not require overnight stay in a hospital. If you or your loved one are interested in finding out more about private bunion removal surgery, please give us a call toll free at 1 877 344 3544.

March Newsletter

March 8th – International Women’s Day

The month of March brings us long-awaited spring, with warmer and longer days and a friendly reminder that summer is not too far away. It is also a month that celebrates International Women’s Day. The theme for this year is #BalanceForBetter and is urging everyone to strive for a gender-balanced world. It is a cause for all to share, not just women.

The holiday initially was created in 1911 by women to promote equal rights including suffrage. In a bit over 100 years, the progress we made as a society when it comes to gender equality is significant. In Canada, Manitoba was the 1st province to grant women the right to vote on January 28, 1916. Two years later, in 1918, Canadian Women gained the right to vote at the federal level.

In medicine, women had also struggled for gender equality. Medical professions were reserved to men.  In 1868 Emily Howard Stowe became the first Canadian woman to practice medicine in Canada. She had to go to medical school in the United States (New York Medical College for Women) because Canadian institutions did not allow women to study medicine.

In 1870, Toronto School of Medicine allowed Ms. Stowe and another woman, Jenny Kidd Trout, to attend medical school classes. Ms. Trout chose to write the medical exam and passed, thus becoming the first licensed female physician in Canada.

It seems that these women-firsts accomplishments happened quite some time ago. Nevertheless, in Canada, women physicians accounted for only 7% in 1970-ies! Better improvements are seen recently. As of 2017, according to Canadian Institute for Health Information, female doctors make up 41% of all doctors (physicians and specialists). Family medicine has 46% females, while specialists have a lower 39% and surgical specialists have even a lower rate of 29%.

Many reasons exist why women choose family medicine. This study cites that women interested in surgery still face discrimination within medical school, in training programmes and in consultancy positions. It lists many factors that impact a junior doctor’s choice of specialty, including an attraction to the work itself, the perceived lifestyle of doctors in that specialty, and the existence of a mentor or role model in that field. In surgery, many of these issues have been identified as pushing women away from engaging in surgical training. These include a lack of female surgeon role models, and perceptions that surgical lifestyle is not compatible with the disproportionate burden that women bear of care-giving responsibilities.

Looking deeper into opportunities to create gender balance among surgical and specialist medical professions is needed. Mentorship and accessibility of medical training programs is necessary to remove barriers, internal and external, to gender equality. It is 2019, Happy International Women’s day everyone!

 

 

March 10-16 – World Glaucoma Week

March 10-16 is World Glaucoma week. The purpose of it is to bring greater awareness to the disease. In Canada, and in the world, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness.  It is estimated that 294,600 people in Canada are blind due to glaucoma.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which lead to progressive degeneration of the optic nerve. This in turn can lead to loss of nerve tissue that results in gradual irreversible vision loss and potential blindness if not detected and treated early. More than 250,000 Canadians have chronic open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease.

It is not known how damage to optic nerve occurs. However, there is an association between damage to the optic nerve and pressure within the eye due to build up of excess fluid. As disease slowly develops, patients with glaucoma may experience a gradual loss and narrowing of peripheral vision. This is called tunnel vision.

Since glaucoma develops slowly, many people will go years before noticing any symptoms. Often, they don’t know they have glaucoma until they lose some of their eyesight. That is why the diseases is also called the silent sight thief. Loss of vision from glaucoma is not reversible.

Who Is at Risk?

Glaucoma can occur in people of every race, gender, and nationality. Anyone can develop glaucoma, but some people are at greater risk. If you meet one or more of the following criteria, you have an increased risk:

  • Over the age of 40
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Abnormally high eye pressure
  • African, Asian, or Hispanic ancestry
  • Diabetic
  • Nearsighted
  • Regular, long-term use of steroids/cortisone
  • Previous eye injury

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Get regular eye check-ups. Eye doctors can detect and treat glaucoma before most patients experience any symptoms. There is no cure for glaucoma but there are medications that can help slow its progress, so early detection and treatment of glaucoma are important

Early detection, through regular and complete eye exams, is the key to protecting your vision from damage caused by glaucoma. A complete eye exam includes five common tests to detect glaucoma.

It is important to have your eyes examined regularly. Your eyes should be tested:

  • before age 40, every two to four years
  • from age 40 to age 54, every one to three years
  • from age 55 to 64, every one to two years
  • after age 65, every six to 12 months
  • Anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after age 35.

 

 

 

March is Nutrition Month

Eat healthy to stay healthy – we have seen and heard this in many places and from many authorities. No one would argue that eating healthy food is bad for you. However, what food is healthy and how do we know? The answer to these questions can be inconsistent and change over time. This makes it hard to make good choices when it comes to food.

At the end of 2018, the government of Canada released an updated food guide. According to it, ½ of your plate should be fruit and veggies, ¼ protein and ¼ whole grains.   Juice is out, and water is in! Milk is only advised if it is a lower fat kind and with no added sugar. The majority of low-fat milk sold in Canadian grocery stores, however, has sugar, make sure you read the labels! The guide lists multiple vegetable sources of protein and advises to chose lean meats such as skinless poultry and lean cut of meats. Although many of us knew this, such move by the government declared its position – to encourage Canadians to eat healthy and to provide them with sensible food guidance backed by science.

***This picture is taken from the website for Canada’s new food guide

One of my favourite recommendation in this guide is a suggestion to eat meals with others. I love it because it creates a wonderful atmosphere of enjoying a meal while connecting to others. Many families make it a point to have at least one meal together a day. Although it may not happen every day, it is still such a great goal to have. Trying to expand this tradition, meals are great when shared by others – co-workers, neighbours, friends, people you play sports with or volunteer. It is also an opportunity to try food you have never tried before.

More information about the new Canadian food guide can be found here.