Florida Medical Retreat to be in the next MTA S. Florida Destination guide

Florida Medical Retreat will be included in the upcoming South Florida International Healthcare & Medical Tourism Guide published by the Medical Tourism Association! This is an incredible opportunity to showcase Florida Medical Retreat's partner surgeons, hospitals, surgery centers, premiere rehabilitative center and  exclusive services.

The destination guide features:

  • Top Destination with a history of attracting international patients for years.
    Now taking it to the next level by putting all key players of international healthcare and hospitality services in one guide!
  • Leader in Evidence Based Technology, Innovative Medical Technology, Advanced Medical Training & Research, Cardiology, Neurology, Radiology, Oncology, ENT, Plastics, Dental Treatments & Procedures, Executive Physicals as well as Spa & Wellness.
  • South Florida is a destination with history, culture, amazing natural resources and incomparable tourism opportunities for patients and their companions!

This will be a resource for everyone in the medical tourism industry and available online. Stay tuned for release date.

Sarasota Memorial Welcomes new OB/GYN specialist

SARASOTA (Sept. 7, 2011) –Sarasota Memorial Health Care System welcomed a new OB/GYN physician into its First Physician Group (FPG) network. On Monday, Kristen Shepherd, MD, joined the obstetrics/gynecology practice of Drs. Ruth Dyal, Kelly Hamel, Neil Pollack, Michael Shroder and Greg Towsley, at 1921 Waldemere Street, Suite 802 (Waldemere Medical Plaza).
The group is part of First Physicians Group – a network of more than 72 primary and specialty care physicians employed by Sarasota Memorial to help fill the gaps caused by a shortage of primary care physicians in the region.
Dr. Shepherd is not new to FPG. During her third year as a medical student at Florida State University, she completed a rotation with the practice group. After receiving her medical degree from FSU, Dr. Shepherd completed her residency at the University of Florida-Jacksonville.
She is now accepting new patients. To make an appointment or for information about the practice, call 917-7888.
About Dr. Shepherd:
Medical Education: Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, Florida
Residency: University of Florida at Jacksonville, Florida
Certification: Board Eligible, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota Named in the 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare

Sarasota, Florida (September 6, 2011) - - Doctors Hospital of Sarasota is pleased to announce that we have been named one of the 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare for the third year in a row by Modern Healthcare Magazine. Our ranking this year will be made public on October 18th.

 “This recognition means so much because it is based not only on the care we provide, but also on the feedback of our employees,” says Robert Meade, CEO of Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. “We are able to provide the high quality medical care that we are known for because the employees of our organization know that we are committed to their wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of our patients.”

 According to Modern Healthcare Magazine, the Best Places to Work in Healthcare program recognizes outstanding employers in the healthcare industry on a national level for enabling employees to perform at their optimal level to provide patients and customers with the best possible care and services.

Ask a partner with Florida Medical Retreat, we are pleased to congratulate Doctor's Hospital of Sarasota on this outstanding accomplishment!


About Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota is a 155-bed, acute care facility serving the healthcare needs of Sarasota County residents. Doctors Hospital is a Joint Commission Certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center and a Society for Chest Pain Centers Accredited Chest Pain Center as well as one of Modern Healthcare’s Top 100 Best Places to Work for the second year in a row. In addition, Doctors Hospital has been recognized by the Joint Commission for Advanced Heart Failure, Spinal Fusion, and Joint Replacement for Hip and Knee.

Your Employees Will Be Global Healthcare Consumers — Are You Prepared to Communicate with Them? Part II


More employers and employees are giving medical tourism options serious consideration. A June 2010 survey conducted by the Medical Tourism Association at a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference found that 48% of the employers surveyed are “interested” in offering medical tourism to their employers on a voluntary basis, with 36% indicating they “might be interested.”
Experts say the medical tourism industry could turn a corner if enough U.S. employers and insurers actively promote and underwrite it. Medical tourism is now being considered by industry giants like CIGNA, Aetna and BlueCross BlueShield, all of whom say they have either started or will soon start pilot programs that will offer partial travel medical insurance.

Other insurers have already launched pilot programs:

  • Wellpoint began offering a pilot program with Serigraph Inc., a Wisconsin-based printing company. Under the program, members of Serigraph’s health plan can elect to travel to India to undergo certain procedures, including major joint replacement and upper and lower back fusion, and pay lower out-of-pocket costs.
  • IDMI Systems Inc., a Georgia-based automation software developer, contracted with Companion Global Healthcare to provide medical tourism options for certain medical procedures to employees and dependents covered by the company’s self-funded health plan.


We believe more companies will realize the credibility and viability of medical tourism, and will begin offering options for employees. Also, companies with self-funded plans will begin incentivizing employees to travel abroad for care.

The coming rise in medical tourism will be disruptive to the conventional healthcare system in profound ways:

  • It will reduce the power of coalitions’ purchasing power when they approach healthcare providers.
  • It will lead to new “centers of excellence” located across the world. Latin America is already becoming one for dental work, and India is becoming one for heart surgery.
  • It will showcase the fact that employers aren’t going to give up their rights to affordable healthcare in an open, global economy.


Are medical tourism options right for your employees? You need to take into consideration several different factors, including current health plan choices, employee demographics, risk associated with receiving care abroad and the medical tourism benefit options offered by insurers.

No matter what you think of medical tourism, it’s wise to prepare your communication. If you choose to help employees seek overseas care, what messages and education materials can you offer so they can gain a clearer understanding of medical tourism’s advantages? Providing and promoting these materials will help them decide whether medical tourism is right for them.

If you choose to not help employees seek overseas care, how will you communicate that decision and defend your reasoning?

Here are the two most common questions employees have about medical tourism, and perspective you can share:

  • Why don’t more insurers offer medical tourism options? Insurers want to take reasonable measures that providers overseas have the credentials to provide adequate care. They’re also concerned with continuity of care — for example, how much are they willing to cover for physical therapy back in the U.S.?
  • Do treatments take place in low-quality facilities? Not usually. Medical tourists can find facilities abroad that are as good as ones in the U.S. About 220 overseas hospitals are certified by Joint Commission International, and most doctors who treat medical tourists have trained in the United States, Australia, Canada or Europe.

In addition to answering employees’ questions, here is news to keep in mind when considering (or implementing) a medical tourism benefit option:

  • New medical tourism guidelines have been created. U.S. organizations have begun to establish medical tourism guidelines and programs to assist people in choosing appropriate healthcare for their needs. Employers should ensure employees have a wide range of materials available to them to help them decide which route to care is appropriate. These resources include new medical tourism guidelines from the American Medical Association that the organizations says employers, insurance companies and other entities that facilitate or incentivize medical tourism should adhere to. The guidelines suggest that patients should be referred only to facilities that have been accredited by recognized international accrediting bodies, such as the Joint Commission International or the International Society for Quality in Health Care.
  • The Medical Tourism Association recently launched its Quality of Care Project. The project focuses on enhancing transparency of the quality of care worldwide so that employers, patients and insurers can better assess and compare facilities around the world. The project aims to create a single methodology for reporting certain statistics and quality indicators, so that individuals and companies can compare health care facilities’ quality, costs, patient volumes and patient safety records.

Original Post: Medical Tourism Magazine


Your Employees Will Be Global Healthcare Consumers — Are You Prepared to Communicate with Them? Part I

A “perfect storm” of trends occurred about 10 years ago in the music industry, and it changed the landscape of that business forever. A fresh wave of consumers suddenly had a new host of Internet tools and a profound sense of empowerment. The conventional method of buying music would soon be history. Get ready, because a similar storm is brewing in the healthcare industry, and an important disruption is about to occur to the conventional system of wellness communication.


These powerful fronts are colliding:

  • Fast, self-help access to healthcare sources and data. Healthcare consumers arm themselves with information by simply using their fingertips. Credible Internet sources abound, and today’s patients can quickly scan reports, share links, ask questions and post comments.
  • Rising healthcare costs, coupled with anxiety about money issues. Apprehension and hypertension persist. The recession might be over, but widespread worry about medical (and other) expenses remains. Many employees are largely covered under their current insurance plans for a variety of medical issues, and some folks also feel confident that they have funds in reserve, but now more than ever, they occupy a global buyer’s market. Healthcare consumers, like savvy retail shoppers, are price-conscious and determined to locate maximum overall value.
  • Confusion about the future of the U.S. healthcare industry. Are your employees confident that they’ll qualify for a heart surgery or another major procedure in a few years? The more confusing the U.S. healthcare system gets — and the more bickering that persists over upcoming laws and regulations — the more consumers will seek alternative options for care. In general, we don’t like waiting around, especially in order to be told what to do.


The combination of these powerful trends will generate at least one important outcome: More of your employees are going to become global patients.

“Medical tourism,” the practice of traveling to receive medical, dental or surgical care, isn’t new, but it’s changing. U.S. residents have long been traveling to other countries for care, particularly for cosmetic surgery, dental work, procedures not covered by insurance and procedures not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Today, however, many “medical tourists” are fully insured employees seeking all kinds of care—cardiology procedures, orthopedic surgery, spinal fusions, cancer treatments, bariatric surgery, fertility treatments, eye surgery and many more.

The biggest attraction for medical tourists is no secret — cost savings that are often huge. A heart-valve replacement priced at $200,000 or more in an American hospital can cost $10,000 in India, according to the University of Delaware, and that price includes airfare and a post-operative vacation package. Medical tourists receiving care in Thailand save about 70 percent on average, and ones traveling to Latin America typically save at least 50 percent, according to the Medical Tourism Association.

The simple truth: Individuals will choose to travel for care when the care is of higher quality, more affordable and/or or more easily available than what they can receive at home.

“Many people believe markets perform better than governments in allocating resources, and are much faster to respond to the demands of consumers,” says Fred Hansen, a physician and journalist. “Patients are realizing that the power of the consumer vote, exercised many times every day on choices in different markets. The Internet and cheap airfares have greatly increased consumers’ opportunities and choices by creating new consumer-driven markets.”

In hopes of securing a piece of that market, several countries, especially India, Singapore and Thailand offer state-of-the-art facilities that specifically cater to medical tourists. These facilities have advanced technologies and equipment, and often employ physicians trained and board-certified in the United States.

Original Post:

Medical Tourism Magazine


Current Trends in Esthetic Surgery

Due to the rise in number of non-invasive and mini-invasive procedures, patients now demand optimal results after less-aggressive, lower-risk, brief-recovery surgeries. Plastic Surgery has evolved in the last decade regarding surgical techniques and development of new technologies. Reduced-scar, liposuction-combined surgeries, represent now less traumatic procedures, delivering better results at a deep and superficial level, remodeling neighboring areas at the same time. On facial surgery, procedures are now combined with synthetic or fatty grafting, botulin toxin application, CO2 or laser resurfacing, elevation of eyebrow tail with barbed sutures, etc. Prosthetic implants have also evolved in their structure, variety size and projections. Moreover, new techniques like intimacy surgery have appeared on scene for both genders.

Selection of an optimally capacitated, matriculated surgeon, well trained on evaluating valid combinations of technologies and techniques, will influence on satisfactory outcome with minimal surgical risk.

There has been a rise in the number of the non-invasive and mini-invasive procedures. Fatty and synthetic fillers, botulin toxin injection, barbed sutures, medical depilation, radiofrequency, ultrasound cavitation, are some examples. With these options available, patient expectations on surgery have risen. Patients demand optimal results with less-aggressive, less-traumatic, lower-risk, short-recovery procedures. An increase in patients’ work-demands, and the amount of patient information available on the Internet, are also determining factors. In the last decade, plastic surgery has also evolved to satisfy those demands. Surgical techniques have evolved at the time new technology development and evolution has occurred. Surgeons have to remain objective, with clear medical criteria, avoiding false promises. In general there has been a rise of 700% on the frequency of non-invasive procedures with only a 25% rise on esthetic surgery. Other factors also influenced plastic surgery. Scar location and size on breast and abdominal surgery have adjusted to cloth size and shape (a difficult challenge sometimes) in order to render them hidden. Even hair styling has influenced scar modeling.

MACS (Minimal Access Cranial Suspension (Tonnard & Verpaele, 2002) is a good example of a technique that allows younger patients to be treated, with a less aggressive, more natural result. Barbed Sutures also help to rejuvenate face and neck on a less aggressive manner. Associations with fat grafting performed by a specialist, have excellent results. Other associations can be made to include resurfacing with CO2 fractional laser on perioral shrinking, botulin toxin for forehead and periocular shrinks, and elevation of eyebrow tail with suspensor threads.

Similar trends are observed with abdominoplasties, where now a smaller, lower scar, is performed. Correction of separation of the rectum abdominal muscles should be considered in every case for good results. The introduction of Lipoabdominoplasties (Saldanha O., 2001), combining liposuction with conventional abdominoplasty, made results on this approach, even more satisfactory lowering risks and complications at the same time.

Superficial liposuction (Souza Pinto E. 1982), allowed treatment of the back, arms, internal aspect of thigh and sacral areas with minimal cutaneous retraction, avoiding the use of ultrasound or laser technology, although these still remain an excellent alternative.

Liposuction techniques have also evolved. They are more selective for fat, less painful and are performed with reduced blood loss. Thinner cannulas result in smaller scars. Laser technology allows treating lipodystrophy in a fast, less aggressive, fast recovering, manner allowing patients to resume normal activities in shorter times. Attention should be paid not to treat excessively large areas, or patients with a BMI higher than 30. Hydro-electrolytic disorders or extensive burning can occur in such cases. On these patients, laser can still be used associated to conventional techniques. Wavelength for laser technology comes now in 980 or 1210 nm on the same equipment, rendering better treatment of adipose tissue with optimal cutaneous retraction. All these procedures can be performed in an ambulatory setting, with 24-48 h. immediate follow-up.

There has also been a rise in the use of fat grafting. Facial, gluteal and breast use are excellent examples. The possibility to combine these with growth factors has optimized the results and durability of treatments. In some cases, gluteal fat grafting results are good enough to replace implant placement for the same area. Associating liposuction of neighboring areas like hips and waist to gluteal treatment further enhances patient satisfaction. The term “liposculpture” describes the procedure that takes place when excess of fatty tissue is removed from an anatomic location to be immediately placed in another, thus “sculpturing” human shape. On the contrary, on breast surgery, implants are still dominating, but fat grafting is an option to be considered for patients without a familiar history of breast cancer. Precise and adequate indication, allow the face to be treated volumetrically with fat grafts, without incisions, and good results.

All of these techniques have been questioned in the last 20 years. Today nobody has doubts about their value as individual treatment choices or enhancing others.

Breast implants have improved their design and incorporated more options, allowing further personalized indications. For an example, anatomic implants exist in 9 to 12 different shapes for a given size.

The optimization of surgical techniques, their prudential combination and the association to low-invasive or non-invasive procedures, have widely favored esthetic results. Is important to choose a well-trained, matriculated surgeon, which combines knowledge with good criteria, offers valid choices, does not create false expectations, and aims for the lower possible risk treatment.

Original Post:

Medical Tourism Magazine 


The Coalition for Arts and Health

Florida Medical Retreat will attend the Coalition for Arts and Health program discussing the strengths and challenges of Arts and Health Integration in our community.  Opening remarks by Gwen MacKenize, President and CEO of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Jim Shirley, Executive Director, Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.

Throughout the year, The Coalition for Arts and Health holds public forums highlighting these applications and the overall benefits of arts and health integration.

This program is free and open to all who are interested. Please RSVP: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (941) 365-5118



Medical tourism: a continuing public health concern?



Two New York academics consider some of the concerns raised in the USA over the development of medical tourism. They raise the question, “Do the benefits of saving on costs in the short term out-weigh the risks associated with medical tourism in the long term?” The article identifies the dilemmas affecting patients post-surgically due to a lack of follow-up care and the high cost to risk scenarios that may develop due to complications once they are discharged.  The authors challenge the assumption that patients actually save on costs and identify ways the United States health care system can effectively deal with this trend. A different view of medical tourism….. but one that those within the industry should acknowledge.

To read the entire story from IMTJ visit:


Dr. Thomas Sweeney, MD: Spine Surgery 2/2

Alex Redmonde, Host of Local Doctors on Call interviews Dr. Sweeney. In this two part segment, Dr. Thomas Sweeney, a leading authority on minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery discusses spine, neck and back pain.


Dr. Thomas Sweeney, MD: Spine Surgery 1/2

Alex Redmonde, Host of Local Doctors on Call interviews Dr. Sweeney. In this two part segment, Dr. Thomas Sweeney, a leading authority on minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery discusses spine, neck and back pain.



It's a great time to come to Florida and the numbers show it!

Visit Florida, Florida's official tourism marketing corporation, released preliminary estimates this week for the second quarter of 2011 that show an estimated 21.2 million travelers visited the Sunshine State. This represents an increase of 6.9 percent from the same period in 2010 and reflects a 5.3 percent increase in domestic visitors, a 17.3 percent increase in the overseas market and an 18.4 percent in Canadian visitors.  Welcome to Florida!

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota offers Healing Touch

Healing Touch is an energy based therapy that promotes relaxation and healing. This non-invasive technique uses the hands to clear, energize, and balance the human and environmental energy fields, thus affecting physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and healing. Healing Touch compliments conventional health care and is used in collaboration with other approaches to health and healing.

Patients may remain fully clothed during treatment.

Benefits may include:

Pain reduction

Facilitation of the body's natural healing process

Stress and anxiety reduction

Nausea relief

Promotion of relaxation and sleep

To request a Healing Touch treatments, call the Spine and Orthpaedic Center's Concierge at (941) 342-3375 or Florida Medical Retreat.


Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

By Christopher R. Sforzo, M.D.

Board Certified – Fellowship Trained Orthopaedic Surgeon

Unfortunately, tennis elbow affects many of us. Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is the most common injury in patients seeking medical attention with the complaint of elbow pain. Tennis elbow occurs in men and women equally, and on the dominant side 75% of the time. The typical age to get tennis elbow is between 35 and 65 years old.

It is thought that the problem occurs because of small, irreparable tears in the tendon that cocks up the wrist. Pain over the outside of the elbow is the most common symptom, which is where this tendon begins. This same tendon (called the extensor carpi radialis brevis or ECRB) also shares its origin with the common finger extensor tendons, which straighten the fingers out. Thus, it is not uncommon for the pain to extend down the top of the forearm to the wrist and hand. Usually my patients describe the pain when they are lifting things, especially away from their body, with the forearm turned palm down and the wrist flexed, or bent towards the palm side. Some pain can even be at rest and feel very intense like a burning or stabbing pain. The pain associated with tennis elbow usually has a gradual onset, but may also come on suddenly. Numbness is not associated with tennis elbow. 

Tennis elbow is typically seen in manual laborers (plummers, painters, gardeners, and carpenters) or those involved in racquet sports. Probably 1/3 of regular tennis players experience tennis elbow at some point in their career. In addition to racquet sports, tennis elbow is seen in golfers, fencers, and other sports participants. However, the total number of patients who are tennis players is less than 10 %. It is not common for professional tennis players to get tennis elbow, as you will never see anyone at Wimbledon with a tennis elbow strap on! This is probably due to poor stroke mechanics in the everyday player, whereby the wrist is bent and then extends when striking the ball during the backhand. This puts tremendous strain on the ECRB, and with each stroke, exacerbates the problem. Other contributing factors include striking the ball off the “sweet spot” of the racquet, improper grip size, and over-tensioned tennis strings. Playing on harder surfaces also increases the risk of developing tennis elbow.

 Other causes of pain over the outside of the elbow include instability of the joint, elbow arthritis, and radial tunnel syndrome. The symptoms of these conditions are usually distinct, but in some cases they can be confusing. X-rays of patients who have the diagnosis of tennis elbow are almost always normal. Other studies such as an EMG or MRI are only obtained if there is confusion about the diagnosis.

Before surgery is considered, a trial of at least six months of conservative treatment is indicated and consists of a properly placed forearm or wrist brace and modification of elbow activities. I have not found anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy to be of significant value, although both can be used if desired. If the above treatment is not helpful, a cortisone injection can be beneficial but no more than three or four injections are recommended in any one location in a year.

Conservative treatment is in two phases. Phase I (pain relief): consists of activity modification, bracing, cortisone injections, and possibly anti-inflammatories and/or physical therapy. Phase II (prevention of recurrence): is equally as important and involves stretching and then later strengthening exercises, proper tennis form, grip size, and string tensioning, so the micro tears will not occur in the future. Stroke mechanics should be evaluated to ensure patients are hitting the ball in the center of the racquet and players should not lead the racquet with a flexed elbow. I will often encourage my patients to see a tennis pro/instructor for a swing and racquet evaluation. Approximately 70% of patients will be symptom free regardless of treatment in one year after symptoms begin. 

Some newer treatments that have been described include extracorporeal shock wave therapy and autologous blood injection. Shockwave therapy is a controversial treatment option for tennis elbow and recent studies have not shown it to be of any benefit. A recent article in the Journal of Hand Surgery reported the results of a small group of patients who underwent injection of their own blood into the location of lateral epicondylitis. More investigation is needed before this should be considered a standard treatment. 

When conservative treatment has failed, usually after 6 months, then surgery is discussed. Many procedures have been described. Procedures as simple as percutaneous release of the tendon off of the bone have been described and more recently arthroscopic procedures or other procedures involving the joint and resection of a ligament as well have been described.

The most popular procedure today is a simple excision of diseased tissue from within the tendon, shaving down the bone and re-attachment of the tendon. This can be performed as an outpatient procedure with regional anesthesia (where only the arm goes to sleep) and through a relatively small incision of approximately 3” long. After surgery, a sterile bandage and splint is placed on the elbow. Patients will remain in a splint for about one week to allow the incision to heal. After that point, the splint is removed, and the patient can begin gentle motion of the wrist and elbow. 85-90% of patients with this technique are typically able to perform full activities without pain after a recuperation of two to three months. Approximately 10-12% of patients have improvement but with some pain during aggressive activities and only 2-3% of patients have no improvement.

Tennis elbow is a very common and disabling problem. It is one of the most common conditions I see in my practice, and can sometimes be the most frustrating because of the persistence or recurrence of symptoms. Thankfully, only a small percentage of patients go on to need surgery. However, until the pain is under control, it can greatly curtail your active lifestyle.

Christopher R. Sforzo, M.D. is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in disorders of the hand, wrist, shoulder, and elbow. Dr. Sforzo is a member of Florida Medical Retreat. For more information please contact Florida Medical Retreat at (941) 552-3288 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Yoga may help treat orthopedic problems

With the costs of medical care spiraling out of control and an ever-growing shortage of doctors to treat an aging population, it pays to know about methods of prevention and treatment for orthopedic problems that are low-cost and rely almost entirely on self-care. As certain methods of alternative medicine are shown to have real value, some mainstream doctors who "think outside the box" have begun to incorporate them into their practices.

One of them is Loren Fishman, a physiatrist — a specialist in physical and rehabilitative medicine — affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital. Some in the medical profession would consider Fishman a renegade, but to many of his patients he is a miracle worker who treats their various orthopedic disorders without the drugs, surgery or endless months of physical therapy most doctors recommend.

To read more: 


By JANE BRODY, Sarasota Herald Tribune


Too Old for Plastic Surgery? Never!


Jane Fonda: 74 years old. Goldie Hawn: 66 years old. Raquel Welch: 71 years old

These three celebrities, known for their withstanding Hollywood careers, are all mothers, grandmothers, and plastic surgery patients.

All of these women appear to not have aged in years, and they can thank age-defying cosmetic procedures like neck lifts, face lifts, nose surgery, Botox and more for literally stopping time in its tracks.
Of course, undergoing plastic surgery procedures at this age is somewhat excusable for someone always in the spotlight. They have to maintain their celebrity status, and not to mention, keep up with the younger, sexier starlets in the business.
But lately, your average, everyday grandmother is following in these actresses’ footsteps. According a recent New York Times report, a growing number of plastic surgery patients are now past retirement age.
Why? Because people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are more active and youthful than ever before. A mix of healthy lifestyle and advanced medicine has allowed the older generation to live a truly full life, and they want to look as good as they feel.
The proof is in the numbers. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reported there were a total of 84,685 plastic surgery procedures performed on patients over the age of 65 in 2010 alone, and the number keeps on rising.
The most popular procedures amongst this age group were: 26,635 face lifts, 24,783 eyelid lifts (blepharoplasty), 6,469 liposuctions, 5,874 breast reduction surgeries, 3,875 forehead lifts, 3,339 breast lifts and 2,414 breast augmentations.
Marie Kolstad is a part of this growing group of patients. At 83 years old, she works full-time as a property manager, and is a proud grandmother to 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Although her life is just as busy as the next person, Kolstad still joked about her age to the New York Times. She said, “your breasts go in one direction, and your brain goes in another.”
So, she decided to have plastic surgery. On July 22, she received a breast lift and breast implants, a 3-hour surgery that would normally be quite grueling for an 83-year-old woman.
She explained, “Physically, I’m in good health, and I just feel like, why not take advantage of it? My mother lived a long time, and I’m just taking it for granted that that will happen to me. And I want my children to be proud of what I look like.”
And not surprisingly, Kolstad looks fabulous, but was her surgery a risky thing to do?
Apparently, not at all. One study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reported the risks of surgery in people over age 65 are no different than younger patients.
However, more research needs to be done, as this is a new frontier for plastic surgeons.
Commonly, the biggest risk involves general anesthesia, Dr. Michael Niccole said in the New York Times article. He also explained that the older the patient, the more likely they are to experience a longer recovery, and shorter-term results.
But Nancy Etcoff, assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, thinks it’s all about cultural perception.
She explained, “Part of our stereotype of old people is that they are social, warm, likeable, but powerless and sexless. Here were are in the age of Viagra, which is very well accepted, but suddenly the idea of older people, mostly women, wanting to be sexually attractive at that age makes us uncomfortable. If an older woman wants to regain eyelids or wants a breast that she doesn’t have to tuck into a waistband, then why not?”
Marie Kolstad agrees. Times are changing, and so are our grandparents.
She said, “In my day, no one ever thought about breast enhancement or anything, but nowadays women go out and they would never get a second look if they show their age. I find that you have to keep up your appearance physically, even if you just want a companion or someone to ask you to dinner. That’s not going to happen if you don’t have a figure that these geezers are looking for.”
Well said, Ms. Kolstad. This glamorous grandma proves that age really isn’t anything but a number, and with the talent of a board-certified plastic surgeon, you too can be more than just young at heart.
To learn more about plastic surgery procedures, contact a plastic surgeon in your area.  Please call Florida Medical Retreat to learn more about our Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Scott Engel.

Original Post:


About a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a medical procedure designed to tighten and reshape the abdomen when the muscles or skin have been stretched out of shape. The procedure is usually performed on patients who have lost abdominal tone due to pregnancy, or extreme weight loss or weight gain.

There are two types of tummy tuck surgeries. The full tummy tuck is a surgery performed under general anesthesia. The full tummy tuck involves the surgeon making an incision above the pubic area. A second incision is made near the patient's navel. The skin is then loosened from the abdominal wall. The surgeon then stitches the left and right abdominal muscles together, which makes them tighter. Any excess skin is then removed. The partial tummy tuck is performed under local anesthesia. The surgeon makes a small incision above the pubic area. There is no second incision. The partial abdominoplasty is appropriate for patients who are considered to be within 10% of their ideal body mass index. The partial tummy tuck is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.

Patients who have a full tummy tuck are usually kept in the hospital for 2-3 days after surgery. Recovery takes 2-6 weeks. The patient's stitches are usually removed within the first week. Most patients experience moderate pain after the procedure for the first two weeks. All patients will have a scar from the surgery, but it is usually located at the bikini line.

There are several risk factors involved with a tummy tuck. Both versions, partial and full, are performed using anesthesia and some patients may have an adverse reaction. Additionally, bleeding may occur. Some patients will experience skin problems after their surgery. Skin puckering, death of some of the skin tissue and general skin abnormalities can all occur as the result of a tummy tuck. Swelling is common immediately following the procedure, but some patients may experience it for a longer duration.

Original Post: All Medical Tourism.com

New test targets Lynch syndrome, a risk factor for colon, endometrial cancers

New test targets Lynch syndrome, a risk factor for colon, endometrial cancers

Sarasota Memorial has added an important test to help people with colon or endometrial cancer determine their risk for Lynch syndrome, an inherited condition in which individuals and their family members are at greater risk for developing secondary cancers often at a young age.
In June, the hospital began testing tumor tissue samples from patients undergoing resections for colon cancer and hysterectomies for endometrial cancer. The Immunohistochemistry (IHC) test helps determine if individuals may have Lynch syndrome, also called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), helping doctors make important decisions on the timing and delivery of care for patients with the hereditary cancer syndrome.
In the screening program’s first month, tissue samples from several patients revealed certain protein abnormalities indicating a strong probability for Lynch syndrome. The screening results are sent to each patient’s doctor for follow-up consultations.

“The screening test doesn’t diagnose an individual with Lynch syndrome, however, it can indicate a very strong probability that Lynch syndrome runs in their family,” said Sarasota Memorial’s  Genetic Education Program Coordinator Cristi Radford, the only certified genetic counselor specializing in oncology between Tampa and Naples. “It’s important for those patients to talk to their doctor about genetic counseling. Routine surveillance and screenings can save not only their life, but also the lives of their family members.”
While most people have about a six percent chance of developing colon cancer at some point in their lives, people with Lynch syndrome have about an 80 percent chance. Women with Lynch syndrome also have about a 10 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer and a 60 percent chance of developing uterine cancer.
If you have a gene mutation that causes Lynch syndrome, on average at least another three family members will have it, Radford said. People who have Lynch syndrome have a high chance of developing cancer more than once in their lifetime, may have cancer at a younger age (under 50), and/or have a family history of certain cancers (see types below).

You or a relative could be at risk for Lynch syndrome if:
• You or your relative was diagnosed with colorectal or uterine cancer before age 50.
• You or your relative has had two or more Lynch syndrome cancers (colon, uterine, ovary, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, ureter, kidney or brain cancers).
• You’ve had an abnormal IHC screening test.

Genetic Counseling
If you have been diagnosed with colon or endometrial cancer, or if you’re concerned about your family’s risk for Lynch syndrome or other hereditary cancer, call Sarasota Memorial’s Genetic Education Program: 917-2005

When your back can't take it anymore

In today's Sarasota Herald Tribune, Health & Fitness edition,  Dr. Thomas Sweeney, of Southeastern Spine Center and Research Institute and member of Florida Medical Retreat discusses back pain.

Those of us who suffer even the fiercest, most electrifying back pain will do almost anything to avoid surgery. The buzz is that surgery is hardly ever successful.

But today, the National Institutes of Health reports that 83.9 percent of lumbar surgeries are successful. Some surgeons claim a 90 percent success rate in their practices. The failures, they say, are often due to the severity of the conditions they are trying to treat or to the poor state of health of the patient, not necessarily because of deficiencies in the procedures.

Some of the bad buzz also can be attributed to the practice of "sucker surgery" by doctors who have neither hospital accreditation nor privileges.

When patients do elect surgery, they have to do their homework when looking for a surgeon.

Many are beguiled by board certification. Not only is that not enough, it is easy to fake. Anyone can set up a board because there are no government regulations to prevent them from doing so. But not anyone can get accredited by a hospital or achieve privileges to do surgery there.

Often people don't know whether they should see an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon. And while neurosurgeons do deal with other structures, like the brain, that are off-limits to orthopedic surgeons, when it comes to back problems, they can be equally proficient these days. It is a good idea to interview both kinds of surgeons. We did.

To read the whole article:


Dr. Debra Sandberg and Florida Medical Retreat Selected as a finalist for Hall of Fame Award

We are thrilled that Dr. Debra Sandberg, CEO and  Florida Medical Retreat was selected as one of three finalists in the Economic Development Corporation's Hall of Fame Awards 2011 under the category of Entrepreneur.  

The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County recognize the outstanding achievements of local businesses each year at the Hall of Fame Awards. Businesses compete for the honor of being named the Hall of Fame winner in the Entrepreneur category, which is for businesses that are in their first five years of operation.

Please stay tuned for the announcement of the winners. A Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon, will be held on Friday, September 23, 2011 where the winner of each category will be announced.




Florida Medical Retreat is partnering with Sarasota Sister Cities.

Florida Medical Retreat is partnering with Sarasota Sister Cities. Sarasota Sister Cities Assn. Inc. (SSCA) was founded in 1963 and is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization of volunteers  working outside the realm of government, but with its support, to encourage and facilitate cultural and education exchanges, business opportunities and increased tourism.

The mission of SSCA  is to foster international relationships between Sarasota and cities that have similar interests by creating exchanges in areas of culture, education, tourism, business, healthcare and government. SSCA’s objective is to develop respect, understanding and cooperation through citizen diplomacy. To accomplish this mission we develop relationships with people in cities that have cultural, education, tourism and business environments similar to Sarasota’s.

Stay tuned to learn about the exciting projects we are working on together. If you would like to learn more or find out how you can contribute please join us August 16th by contacting Florida Medical Retreat!


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