Do I Really Need Surgery?
The $15,000 Weight-Loss Bet
What would it take for you to lose 100 pounds? For 35-year-old Pete, a $15,000 bet did the trick.
Weighing 405 pounds and wearing size 58 pants just seven months ago, Pete lost 50 pounds by just changing his diet and exercising more often. But his friends weren’t satisfied and offered Pete $15,000 to lose 100 additional pounds in six months. By sticking to a rigorous workout regimen and a healthy diet that included berries, egg whites, oatmeal and sweet potatoes, the pounds melted away for Pete so quickly that his friends tried to sabotage him by sending him pizzas and putting donuts in his gym bag! Pete fought off the temptations and kept losing the weight. On January 1, just less than six months after the bet began, Pete weighed in at 248 pounds, seven less than his goal, for a total weight loss of 157 pounds!
Even with his incredible progress, Pete still wants to lose another 60 pounds. His friend David, who initiated the original bet, doesn’t doubt Pete will reach his goal. “I’m not going to bet on it because I already lost!” David says.
Pete’s extreme weight loss, however, has left him with unsightly loose skin. “No amount of dieting and exercise is going to eliminate that skin, so you would be a great candidate to remove this loose, hanging skin and, at the same time, do some liposuction,” Dr. Ordon says.
Dr. Ordon tells Pete that if he loses another 50 to 60 pounds, Dr. Jason Pozner, a plastic surgeon in Boca Raton, FL, will do his tummy tuck free of charge! “Fantastic!” Pete says. “Thank you very much!”
Imagine waking up one morning with one side of your face paralyzed. Bell’s palsy is a frightening condition that affects 40,000 Americans each year and occurs when the facial muscles become paralyzed, causing droopiness on one side of the face. Symptoms typically improve within a few weeks, with a full recovery likely within six months. “It is extremely rare not to have a full recovery over the course of a few months,” Dr. Travis says. “We’re not quite sure what causes it; sometimes we think it’s viral, but when your doctor diagnosis you, he or she is not going to know why you got it.”
Mel, 31, was diagnosed with Bell's palsy during her pregnancy, and suffered through a year-long battle with the condition. After five months, she began seeing some improvements in her face and says she is currently 75 percent back to normal. “My doctors said this is as good as it’s going to get,” Mel says. “Are there any new treatments or any surgeries that can get me back to where I was before?”
Dr. Ordon tells Mel a procedure can help complete her recovery. “What we do is we make an incision, like we would, around the ear, like a face lift,” Dr. Ordon says. “We lift up all the skin, and the key thing we do is suspend the muscles in your face which have fallen. What it is is a modified face lift to give you back symmetry to your face.”
Surgery for Shoulder Pain?
Amy, 44, woke up one morning with a sore shoulder. She ignored the pain and continued her daily routine until, a month later, the pain became so bad she had to go to the emergency room. After a number of tests, Amy was diagnosed with frozen shoulder, which occurs when the capsule surrounding the shoulder contracts and forms scar tissue, causing pain and restricted motion or stiffness in the shoulder.
Surgery for frozen shoulder is a last resort. Amy was given a cortisone shot and is in physical therapy to help regain her range of motion. “We always try to treat this conservatively first,” says orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Stetson. “The first thing we need to do, like we did for Amy with the cortisone injection, is try to reduce the inflammation and reduce the pain. After we do that, then we try to regain her range of motion, and that’s where physical therapy comes into play.”
Dan, Amy’s physical therapist, uses a TENS machine on Amy, which uses electrodes to deliver an electrical current through the skin, stimulating the nerves in the shoulder and scrambling the pain. Physical therapy, however, does not always fix frozen shoulder.
“Unfortunately, half the time it doesn’t get better, and then we have our surgical options,” Dr. Stetson says.
During surgery, the doctor manipulates and moves the arm to break up the scar tissue and inserts an arthroscopic instrument to clean out the scar tissue and keep it from coming back. Recovery usually takes three months. “Hopefully, we’ll never get to that with you,” Dr. Travis says to Amy. “That’s the goal.”
Back Pain or Kidney Stones?
How can you tell if your back pain is just soreness or if it is something more serious, like kidney stones? People suffering from kidney stones feel excruciating, radiating pain and have difficulty getting comfortable. While you can normally pinpoint and touch the source of regular back pain, it is difficult to determine where kidney stone pain originates from. “I’ve seen grown men come into the E.R. crying, it is so painful,” Dr. Travis says.
While doctors do not always know what causes kidney stones, certain foods may promote stone formation. “It’s happening more and more in kids because of all the salty foods they’re eating.” Dr. Jim says. “And they aren’t drinking enough water.”
If you are suffering from back pain and experience blood in your urine, see your doctor, because those may be signs of kidney stones. To eliminate the stones, a procedure called extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy uses shockwaves to break the kidney stone into small pieces so it can travel through the urinary tract more easily.