Sarasota Memorial First In Region To Offer Less Invasive Robotic Weight-Loss Surgery

First it was cancer and cardiac surgery, then gynecological and thoracic cases. Now, Sarasota Memorial has become the first hospital in the region to use its da Vinci robot to offer patients the most advanced, minimally invasive option in weight loss surgery.

 Sarasota Memorial General Surgeon John Nora, MD, was the first in the Manatee-Sarasota metro area to perform a robotically assisted Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. Dr. Nora is one of more than a dozen robotic surgeons at Sarasota Memorial trained who use the da Vinci robotic surgical system. Together, the surgeons offer a wide range of general and specialized surgeries, from robotically-assisted hysterectomies, prostate and gynecological cancer surgery, to mitral valve repairs, heart bypass and lung/esophageal cancer surgery.

 Using Sarasota Memorial's break-through da Vinci robot, the surgeons operate with robotic tools through tiny key-hole size incisions. Using high-resolution 3D visualization and computerized instrumentation, the da Vinci system scales, filters and translates the surgeon’s hand and wrist motion into more precise movements with improved dexterity and increased precision and control. The system's 3D cameras provide magnification 10 times that of the naked eye, and the instruments offer an extended range of motion and wrist articulation not possible with the human hand.

 “What we are doing is taking laparascopic general surgery one step further with the robotic capabilities and instrumentation," said Dr. Nora. "Robotic surgery is the future, and Sarasota Memorial remains at the forefront of these advances. Every month, every year, we are expanding the indications and applications for this new technology."


For many patients, da Vinci surgery means significantly less pain and scarring, less blood loss, reduced risk of infection, shorter hospital stays, a much quicker recovery and faster return to normal daily activities compared to conventional open surgery. Most patients who received a da Vinci surgery typically go home within a day or two following the procedure, and return to their normal routines within 1-2 weeks.

Dr. Nora performed the robotic gastric bypass procedure on a 51-year-old Sarasota on Wednesday, July 20. She went home on Friday with just a few 7-8 mm incisions, approximately 30 percent smaller than a traditional laparascopic procedure, and much less invasive than an open surgery.

 The robotic system offered superior visualization with a 3-dimensional camera vs. the 2-dimensional views in a laparascopic procedure, as well as a more nimble and greater range of motion, said Dr. Nora.

 “All of that leads to greater accuracy and benefits to the patient,” said Dr. Nora.

 Sarasota Memorial was the first hospital in Florida – and among the first in the nation – to acquire the da Vinci-S Surgical System after it was introduced to the world market. The Sarasota County Public Hospital Board voted unanimously in March 2006 to purchase the $1.4 million robot to ensure that community members have access to the less invasive, leading edge treatment for many heart and cancer surgeries. The Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc. contributed $400,000 in private donations to help purchase the robot. Since then, the hospital has purchased a second robot - again with foundation support – to handle an increasing number of cases.

Risks associated with surgery and ambulatory aides required post surgery for safety

This final segment discusses post surgery, rehab questions. Dr. Stolarski also discusses the risks associated with surgery and ambulatory aides required post surgery for safety. If you have additional questions please contact Florida Medical Retreat,

Dr. G. Michael Swor has joined Florida Medical Retreat!

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. G Michael Swor  of Swor Women's Care to the Florida Medical Retreat team. 

Dr. Swor specialize in advanced state-of-the-art evaluation and treatment of Gyn problems.

Dr. Swor has been serving the Sarasota area for over 20 years. He is the chairman of the department of ObGyn at Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Systems. The department was ranked #1 in Florida in 2006 by US News and World Report.

He is an assistant clinical professor in the department of ObGyn at USF Tampa and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Surgeons.  Dr. Swor is also a founding member of the Accreditation Council of Advanced Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy.  He has over 18 years experience in advanced Gyn and laser surgery, and is a member of a number of professional organizations.

His interests are in new technology, advanced procedures and surgical safety. In 2007, he became one of the few gyn surgeons in the country to use the Davinci Robotic surgery technology.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Swor or have questions please contact Florida Medical Retreat.

Dr. Edward Stolarski discusses Medical Tourism and how he became involved with the industry

Dr. Edward Stolarski discusses Medical Tourism and how he became involved with the industry. Dr. Stolarski answers additional questions sent in by the viewers. If you have additional questions please contact Florida Medical Retreat,


Longboat Key Club takes top award for 4th consecutive year!

Longboat Key Club & Resort Receives 4th Consecutive Pinnacle Award

Longboat Key Club & Resort has been named a Successful Meetings Magazine 2011 Pinnacle Awards winner for the fourth consecutive year. The awards are evaluated on quality of accommodations, meetings facilities, service standards, amenities and food and beverage offerings.

Please join Florida Medical Retreat in congratulating Longboat Key Club on their continued achievements. If you would like more information on staying at Longboat Key Club for your next Florida Medical Retreat trip please contact our office.


Dr. Edward Stolarski on Knee & Hip Replacement surgery (SNN Interview)

Local Doctors on Call - SNN News 6, May 23, 2011. Host Alix Redmonde interviews Board Certifiied, Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Edward Stolarski on Knee & Hip Replacement surgery. This three part series answers questions sent in from the local community.If you have additional questions please contact Florida Medical Retreat,


Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts

Randy Cohen was recently asked by a major biz leader for “10 reasons to support the arts.”

He needed the points to help him pull an 8-figure inve$tment for a new arts center…Make it compelling to government and business leaders, he asked.

Oh, yeah, he’s a busy guy—didn’t want a lot to read:  “Keep it to one page, please.”

So, apart from the 10-1 flip (and with apologies to David Letterman), this is what I delivered:

10. True prosperity…The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, the arts are salve for the ache.

9. Stronger communities…University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates. A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace.  

8. Health and well-being…nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and even staff. 78 percent deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients—shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication.

7. 21st Century workforce . . . reports by The Conference Board show creativity is among the top applied skills sought by employers. 72 percent of business leaders say creativity is of high importance when hiring. The biggest creativity indicator? A college arts degree.  Their report concludes, “…the arts—music, creative writing, drawing, dance—provide skills sought by employers of the third millennium.”

6. Improved academic performance…longitudinal data of 25,000 students demonstrate that students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates, and even better attitudes about community service. These benefits are reaped by students regardless of socio-economic status. Children motivated by the arts develop attention skills and strategies for memory retrieval that also apply to other academic subject areas such as math and science.

5. Arts in the schools = better SAT scores…students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with one-half year or less. Better scores are found in all three portions of the test:  math, reading, and writing.

4. Creative Industries…the creative industries are arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and advertising companies. An analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data counts 756,007 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 2.99 million people—representing 4.14 percent of all businesses and 2.17 percent of all employees, respectively.  (Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for your local and state numbers.)

3. Arts are the cornerstone of tourism…arts travelers are ideal tourists—they stay longer and spend more. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the percentage of international travelers including arts and culture events during their stay has increased annually the last six years.

2. Arts are good for local merchants…the typical arts attendee spends $27.79 per person, per event, not including the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, shopping, and babysitters. Non-local arts audiences (who live outside the county) spend nearly twice as much as local arts attendees ($40.19 compared to $19.53)—valuable revenue for local businesses and the community.

1. The arts are an Industry…arts organizations are responsible businesses, employers, and consumers.  They spend money locally, generate government revenue, and are a cornerstone of tourism and economic development. Nonprofit arts organizations generate $166 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 5.7 million jobs and generating nearly $30 billion in government revenue. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, and advances our creativity-based economy.

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Florida Medical Retreat is proud to announce a new partnership with Dr. Scott Engel!

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Scott Engel to Florida Medical Retreat.

Dr. Engel is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He earned his BA degree from Rutgers College in New Brunswick, New Jersey and his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He then completed his Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery residency at Saint Louis University Hospital in Saint Louis Missouri. Dr. Engel completed an additional fellowship in Aesthetic Surgery at The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

He received extensive training in all aspects of cosmetic surgery including facelifts, rhinoplasty, breast and body contouring, and fat injections. During his training, Dr. Engel won both national and regional awards in clinical research at Plastic Surgery conferences throughout the country. Dr. Engel is on the medical staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Sarasota Plastic Surgery Center, and Cape Surgery Center. He holds an academic appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery at Florida State University College of Medicine.

He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Medical Association, Sarasota County Medical Society, and a candidate member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Engel's practice encompasses all aspects of cosmetic surgery.

He performs all of the latest techniques in facial rejuvenation including standard facelifts, minilifts, browlifts, necklifts, eyelid lifts, rhinoplasty, and fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing. Routinely he uses Botox and Dysport, as well as dermal fillers including Juvederm Ultra Plus, Restylane, Perlane, and Sculptra to achieve maximal results. In addition, Dr. Engel is a strong advocate for the use of fat grafting to volumize the face to produce soft natural results. He performs breast surgery including breast augmentation, breast lifts, breast reductions, and fat grafting to the breasts. His body contouring procedures include arm lifts, liposuction, abdominoplasty, body lifts and “mommy makeovers”, labioplasty, as well as Brazilian butt lifts and buttock augmentation. Dr. Engel rejuvenates the hands using lasers and fat grafting. He also performs reconstructive breast surgery, skin cancer reconstruction, facial trauma, and pediatric plastic surgery.

Dr. Engel and his wife, Kelly, moved to Sarasota to join Sarasota Plastic Surgery Center in July 2008. Dr. Engel enjoys golfing, scuba diving, boating, exercising, horseback riding, skiing, world traveling and spending time with his beautiful wife, daughter, and son.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital Opens Stickney Point Urgent Care Center

Please help us congratulate Sarasota Memorial Hospital!!

Open 8am to 8pm seven days a week, the centers are equipped with imaging and lab testing to provide quick, comprehensive diagnoses and treatments.
SARASOTA, Fla.  (July 18, 2011) – Sarasota Memorial Health Care System expanded its Urgent Care Center (formerly known as its Gulf Gate Walk-In Center) and relocated it from a medical office complex on the west side of US 41 to a free-standing facility just north of the Stickney Pt. Rd/US41 intersection. The new address is 6331 S. Tamiami Trail; the phone number stays the same, 917-5678.
It’s one of three urgent care centers the health system operates in the Sarasota-Manatee region. Staffed by Sarasota Memorial’s board-certified emergency, internal medicine and family physicians, the urgent care centers provide comprehensive walk-in medical care to meet the community’s urgent and routine health needs. From sore throats, flu, rashes and earaches to minor emergencies, such as sprains, fractures, lacerations and burns, Sarasota Memorial’s board-certified specialty physicians can help in almost any situation.
Anyone with life-threatening conditions should call 911 for emergency care.  

The center accepts most insurance plans and no appointments are necessary. The other two centers are located at:  University Parkway/near Tuttle, 2401 University Parkway (917-1234); Heritage Harbour in east Manatee County, 1040 River Heritage Blvd. (917-6440). Or people may visit our website at for more information.  

About the Center
The new 4,500 sq. foot facility—700 more sq. ft. than the current one—has nine patient examination rooms, a lab, an X-ray area—where physicians are able to take, view and share images with other physicians throughout Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, and ample parking. More than 8,000 patient visits are expected in the first year with up to 12,000 in the future.  

Special thanks to Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation & Donor David F. Bolger
Sarasota Memorial’s new Stickney Point Urgent Care Center is housed in our state-of-the-art Bolger Building, equipped with the very latest in medical technology and comfortable patient rooms, thanks to a generous $2.6 million donation from David F. Bolger, President and Founder of The Bolger Foundation, made through Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation Inc.

Doctors Hospital's Pre-op Teaching Class

A wonderful Pre-op Class offered by Doctors Hospital is held prior to the pre-admission testing for the purpose of preparing the patient and his support person/family, with the information necessary to promote the most favorable outcome following elective total joint replacement surgery.

It is recognized that patients participate in their own recovery more functionally, if they have the necessary information. Motivation levels are higher with patients who are adequately prepared for their surgical experience.

Your doctor may require some tests that will help show if your body is stable enough for surgery and anesthesia. If you have already had these tests, the hospital will need to know when & where your test was performed. The anesthesiologist may require additional tests closer to the day of your surgery.

This and much more are covered in the Pre-op class.  For additional information please contact Florida Medical Retreat.



Ears - ways to protect your hearing

Once hearing is damaged, it often can’t be restored. Some of the many causes of hearing damage include:

  • Noise – sound is picked up by a small, spiral-shaped organ called the cochlea that is located within the inner ear. Thousands of tiny hairs in the cochlea sense the vibration and pass the message to the brain via the cochlear nerve. These sensitive hairs can be damaged by excessive noise. The scar tissue that results from this damage can’t conduct sound. Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) after exposure to loud noise is a warning sign that your ears have been overloaded.
  • Drugs – certain chemicals and drugs can damage your hearing if taken over long periods of time.
  • Disease – some diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella (German measles) and meningitis, can cause loss of hearing.
  • Injury – including perforation of the ear drum, fractured skull or large changes in air pressure (barotrauma).
Loud noise
It is a mistake to believe that only noises loud enough to cause earache are capable of causing damage. The inner ear can still be harmed by noise, even when it doesn’t send you a pain signal. A rule of thumb is: if you need to shout to be heard over the noise, it’s potentially damaging. Suggestions on how to protect your ears from noise include:
  • Avoid exposure to noise when you can.
  • Consult with your occupational health and safety officer at work if you are concerned about noise levels in the workplace.
  • When unavoidably exposed to loud noise, wear personal hearing protection such as earplugs, ear muffs or both.
  • Wear earplugs in noisy environments, such as discos, rock concerts or motor racing events.
  • Remember that everyday equipment, such as lawnmowers, power tools and personal stereos, may be loud enough to be damaging your ears.
Ototoxic drugs and chemicals
Ototoxic drugs include the aminoglycosides (such as streptomycin and gentamycin) and the glycopeptide vancomycin. Hearing loss as a side effect may occur if the aminoglycosides are taken for more than seven days. The risk is increased if the patient is also on diuretic (fluid-removing) drugs, or if they are experiencing liver or kidney failure. Other drugs that are thought to cause hearing loss include drugs for malaria (quinine and chloroquine) and salicylates like aspirin, but the hearing loss is believed to be temporary. Certain industrial chemicals, such as solvents, are also implicated in hearing damage. Suggestions to avoid drug-related hearing damage include:
  • Discuss concerns about medications with your doctor.
  • Take medications only as directed.
  • See your doctor immediately if you experience unusual symptoms, such as tinnitus, while on a course of drugs.
  • If your line of work involves chemicals, talk to your occupational health and safety officer about ways to reduce your exposure.
Hearing loss can be caused by viral diseases including mumps, measles, pertussis (whooping cough) and rubella (German measles). These types of infections are more common in childhood, although adults who haven’t been immunised and didn’t have the diseases in childhood may catch them too. Bacterial diseases, such as meningitis and syphilis, can also target and harm the ears. A tumour which grows on the hearing nerve, called an ‘acoustic neuroma’, can cause hearing loss and tinnitus. Suggestions to avoid disease-related hearing damage include:
  • Children should be vaccinated. See your doctor or maternal and child health nurse for further information.
  • If you fall ill, see your doctor for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
  • Persistent tinnitus or sudden hearing loss should be investigated by an ear specialist.
  • Protect yourself from sexually transmissible diseases (STDs) by using condoms when you have sex.
  • See your doctor if you suspect you may have been exposed to an STD.
The middle and inner ears are protected by the temporal bones, located at the base and sides of the skull. Head injury that involves trauma to the temporal bones can cause hearing loss. Concussion may be enough to cause hearing damage, even if the skull bones aren’t broken. Otitic barotrauma refers to hearing damage caused by changes in air pressure on either side of the eardrum. This can be caused by descending or ascending through water too quickly while scuba diving, for example. Suggestions to avoid hearing damage through injury include:
  • Wear a helmet while bicycling and playing contact sports.
  • Wear a seat belt when travelling by car.
  • Avoid falls – for example, don’t stand on the top rung of a ladder.
  • Take all precautions while scuba diving.
Other suggestions on ear care
A range of conditions and events can cause temporary hearing loss. Suggestions on reducing your risk include:
  • Don’t try to clean your ears by poking anything into the ear canals. You may injure the delicate skin, or impact earwax.
  • Reduce the risk of ear infections by treating upper respiratory tract infections promptly.
  • Avoid swimming in dirty water.
  • Dry your ears after bathing.
Where to get help
  • Your doctor
  • Audiologist
  • Ear, nose and throat specialist
  • Australian Hearing Tel. 131 797
  • Better Hearing Australia, Victorian branch Tel. (03) 9510 1577
Things to remember
  • Once hearing is damaged, it often can’t be restored. Too loud for too long is totally wrong.
  • Avoid exposure to noise when you can and wear earplugs in noisy environments, such as discos or motor racing events.
  • Certain chemicals and ototoxic drugs can damage your hearing if taken over a long period of time.

10 Ways To Protect Your Eyes

How can you avoid losing your vision? According to the World Health Organization up to 80 percent of visual loss can be averted. Here are 10 steps that will help to protect your eyes from aging, disease and injury.

# 1 Watch for infection if you use contact lenses. Eye infection is indicated by redness, pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and the presence of sticky secretions. If you’re not sure an infection is present use this approach, “When in doubt take them out”. And see the doctor in case a corneal ulcer is present which can result in visual loss. 

# 2 Use facial protection when playing sports. I continue to see people playing squash, tennis, badminton and hockey without eye protection. Squash and tennis balls can strike the eye at 100 miles an hours causing tremendous damage and usually complete loss of vision. Every year 40,000 people in North America are treated in Emergency Departments for eye injuries related to sports. These injuries increase the risk of glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment. The best protection is provided by molded polycarbonate protectors, a strong lightweight plastic.

# 3 Eat a carrot a day. It’s said that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But, a daily carrot is good for your eyes. Yellow vegetables contain large amounts of beta©carotene which the body changes to vitamin A. Vitamin A in turn manufactures rhodopsin, a light sensitive pigment, which helps the eye distinguish between light and dark. A deficiency of vitamin A or beta©carotene is often the cause of night blindness. Beta©carotene is found in yellow and dark green vegetables such as cantaloupe melon, pumpkin, squash, mango, spinach and broccoli.

&; # 4 Eat a nutritious diet during pregnancy. Today, fat is on the dietary hit list. But not all fat is bad and it’s essential during pregnancy and up to at least 18 years of age. For instance, a polyunsaturated fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential to the growth of the eye’s retina and brain during pregnancy and in the newborn child. DHA is abundant in fish.

&; # 5 Start taking vitamin C early in life. There’s ample evidence that C helps to decrease the risk of cataracts. Vitamin C is concentrated in the lens of the eye to protect it from “free radicals”. Cars produce carbon monoxide. Human metabolism creates “free radicals”. The antioxidant vitamins C and E mop up free radicals that are believed to increase the risk of cataracts.

# 6 Protect your eyes from long exposure to bright sunlight. This is particularly true when the sun’s rays are reflected off water, sand or snow.

# 7 “Floaters” are moving specks or cobweb-like threads that can been seen against the sky or a white page. They can occur early in life and are not important. But, if they suddenly increase in number, see your doctor. They may also be an early sign of retinal detachment. Early treatment can reattach the retina and save your sight.

# 8 The macula, situated at the back of the eye, is responsible for central vision. This allows two lovers to look into each others eyes at two or 20 feet. Degeneration of this tiny area of the eye is one of the principal causes of blindness later in life. We still don’t know what causes it. But there is some evidence that a lack of vitamin C, E and beta carotene may contribute to this disease.

# 9 Get regular eye examinations to detect the early onset of glaucoma, “The Sneak Thief of Sight”. Fluid is continually forced into the eye to nourish it. This fluid normally dribbles out of the eye through a narrow channel. But if it becomes plugged eyeball pressure rises squeezing blood vessels and decreasing nutrients to the retina and optic nerve. This eventually causes tunnel vision as if you’re looking through a telescope. By the time patients finally become aware of this problem the nerve may be permanently damaged.

# 10 See your doctor if you develop red and swollen eyes. This may be due to an allergic reaction to pollen or mold. But you may also be suffering from a more serious condition such as a corneal ulcer. Or even a thyroid problem. And lookout for signs that indicate the eyes may be in trouble. For instance, the inability to read small print, squinting, frowning, undue eye fatigue after reading for only a short time and headaches.

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Ten Ways To Maintain a Healthy Back

We don’t think very much about our backs—that is, until they start to hurt. And many of us are hurting as back pain is now one of the most common medical complaints in the U.S. The good news is that, in many cases, back pain can be prevented. Here are ACE’s Top 10 ways to maintain a healthy back.


  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight tends to creep up slowly, so we may not be aware of how it affects us. But try carrying a 20-pound pack on your back all day and you’ll have a better idea of how extra weight takes a toll on the whole body.
  2. Strengthen the abdominal and back muscles. You’ve heard it before, but strengthening the abdominals really does help protect the back. In fact, a strong core—which includes all the muscles of the trunk—is important for avoiding injury, whether you’re cleaning your house, playing tennis or sitting at a desk all day.
  3. Lift items properly. Protect your back when lifting anything by standing close to the object with your feet apart to give you a stable base. Squat down while keeping the spine in proper alignment and contract your abdominals as you lift using your legs.
  4. Strengthen the leg muscles. Along with the core muscles, the leg muscles play a vital role in helping you maintain good posture and body mechanics. And strong leg muscles can take much of the burden off the back when you’re lifting heavy items (see above).
  5. Stay flexible. Inflexibility in the form of tight hamstrings and a limited range of motion in the trunk can increase your risk of injury or make existing back pain worse. Some forms of exercise, such as yoga, Pilates and tai chi, may help relieve or prevent back pain by increasing flexibility and reducing tension. These exercises should not be done, however, if they are uncomfortable or place a strain on the back.
  6. Maintain good posture. Correct posture and body mechanics play a vital role in preventing back pain because pressure on the discs and strain of the muscles, ligaments and back joints is aggravated by incorrect posture and body mechanics. When your posture is good and you move your body correctly, you reduce the strain on your back.
  7. Buy a comfortable mattress. Most of us spend a good deal of time in bed, which is why a good mattress is such a wise investment. Do some research, test the mattress out at the store and ask for recommendations. Remember—what works for one person may not work for you so take the time to find the mattress that suits your needs.
  8. Reduce stress. Stress increases tension in all your muscles including your back. Reduce or better manage your stress and you may literally feel as if the weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
  9. Warm up before activity. Beginning any activity with cold muscles and joints puts you at risk for injury. Jumping right into intense activity increases your risk of injury, so take the time to get your muscles and joints warm and limber first.
  10. Support the lower back when sitting. Use a rolled towel, small pillow or specially designed seat support available at medical supply stores. Remove the support every half hour for five minutes to give your lower back a change of position. After sitting for a prolonged period, straighten your back to an upright position and, if possible, stand and walk around to give your back a break.
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6 Way to keep your knees pain free

As football players, ballerinas, and high-mileage runners can tell you, youre as old as your knees. The same goes for active women. For me, it wasnt the usual suspects, basketball or downhill skiing, that added unwanted years. Those little aches and pops, I learned, were due to too much rigorous walking without enough rest.

With knees you need to be careful not to overuse or abuse, says Etty Griffin, M.D., staff orthopedist at Peachtree Orthopedic Clinic in Atlanta. Whether its more hills or faster walking than youre used to, doing too much too fast can be stressful for tissue around the knee.

Any exercise with rigorous knee bending (remember Tae-Bo?) is a possible culprit, says Griffin. Any unfamiliar activity taken on very quickly can lead to problems. Tissue needs time to heal, or microtears from overuse can cause pain.

A lopsided workout plan can also be hard on the knees. When fitness walking, some muscles are overused, while others are not used at all, says John Jay Wooldridge, Reebok master trainer. The imbalance can stress the related joints.

But dont get the idea that knee problems are inevitable. Cross-training, stretching, and strengthening can all help knees stay pain-free. While knee pain should always be checked with a doctor to rule out injury, early arthritis, or other serious conditions, the good news is that knee pain from overuse is usually solvable with ice, rest, and controlled exercises that promote healing, says Griffin.

These six exercises target often-neglected areas that support the knee, such as hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, and gluteal muscles. For women in particular, quadriceps muscles may be overdeveloped on the outside compared with the inside, which can pull the kneecap off balance. To build a more balanced body, Wooldridge recommends doing this routine two to three times a week, ideally following a walk, when muscles are warmed up. Do the stretches last, as part of a cool-down.

1. Straight Leg Lift

Targets: Quadriceps and hip flexors. Complements the walking motion by working muscles in opposition that may be underused, such as the smaller quadriceps muscles of the thigh.

Cues: Begin lying on back with right leg straight and extended; left knee is bent, with left foot flat on floor. Contract right thigh muscles to straighten (but not lock) the knee. Slowly raise leg until knees are parallel, then lower. Repeat 812 times, working up to 2 sets on each side.

To advance: Begin holding to a 35 count in the up position.

2. Wall Sit

Targets: This multi-dimensional exercise targets the hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteal muscles, and abdominal muscles. A lower-intensity alternative to squats and lunges.

Cues: Stand with lower back against an exercise ball of about 25 inches that rests against a wall. Feet are shoulder-width apart and a comfortable distance from the wall. Body is erect. Slowly bend knees and lower body until thighs are parallel with the floor; keep knees above (not in front of) feet, and abs contracted to avoid excess sway in the back. Pause at the bottom, then roll back up. Repeat 812 times, working up to 2 sets. to advance: Increase pause at the bottom to 3, 5, or even 10 counts.

3. Bridge

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, and trunk, including lower back and abdominal muscles.

Cues: Lie flat on back, with arms by sides, palms up. Both knees are bent, feet flat on the floor. Using abdominal and gluteal muscles, slowly lift trunk and hips off floor with a smooth, controlled motion. Squeeze buttocks at the top, then slowly lower. Keep pressure on the shoulders, not on the head, and do not push with the hands.

If you feel cramping in the hamstrings, youll know theyre working too hard; lower slightly to relieve that tightening. Repeat 812 times, working up to two sets. to advance: Hold the up position for a 35 count.

4. Single Calf Raise

Targets: Ankle stability is critical to proper knee alignment. This move builds calf strength and ankle stability, as well as body coordination and balance.

Cues: Hold onto a chair or support yourself against a wall, and lift right leg into a hamstring curl (shin parallel to the ground); extend left ankle and lift body on the toes. Slowly lower and repeat 8 to 12 times.

Finishing stretch: Step forward with right leg, keeping left leg straight and left heel on the ground, for a gentle calf stretch. Hold for 68 slow, deep breaths; then repeat exercise and stretch on the other side. Do two sets on each side.

To advance: Add a third set, placing hands on hips for balance.

5. Quadriceps Stretch

Targets: Quadriceps, hip flexors.

Cues: Lying on side, with hips and shoulders stacked, pull the top foot toward the buttocks with the top hand. If you have trouble, use a towel or T-shirt to extend grip; foot does not have to reach buttocks; pull to the point of feeling a gentle stretch, not pain. Keep knees in alignment, then slowly pull top knee back behind the other knee, while maintaining stacked hip. Hold for 68 slow, deep breaths. Repeat 23 times on each side.

6. Modified Hurdlers Stretch

Targets: Hamstrings, gluteal muscles, lower back.

Cues: While seated, extend one leg straight (do not lock knee) and place bottom of the other foot against that knee. Holding shoulders and hips square and back straight, slowly lower torso toward straight leg. Do not collapse through chest or round the back. Gentle pressure on the bent leg will stretch the inner thigh. Hold for 68 slow, deep breaths; repeat 23 times on each side.

To keep your knees healthy, follow these tips from our trainer.

Dos for Healthy Knees:

  • Always see a doctor if you experience knee pain that is not relieved by several days of rest, ice, massage, and elevation.
  • Back off from activities such as walking hills or knee-bending exercises that cause you pain.
  • Build adequate muscle strength, especially in the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and ankles.
  • Stretch adequately, emphasizing quad and hamstring muscles. Warm up before stretching.
  • When doing squats, lunges, or leg presses, avoid locking knees completely. Use low weight and high repetitions.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Wear shoes appropriate for an activity. Seek proper arch support if your feet roll in.
  • Cross-train. Do 23 activities on a regular basis to balance out the body.

Original Post:

Facing surgery? Preparation is everthing - Part III

One of the busiest doctors on the orthopedic floor is Dr. Edward Stolarski. He was an electrical engineer before he became a surgeon. Stolarski is proficient in a relatively new hip replacement method. He is also an international educator in the anterior method, which involves approaching the hip joint through the front of the thigh. The technique involves working between the muscles and tissues. No muscles or tendons are cut, healing is rapid and the pain of sitting on an incision site is avoided.

Stolarski is a candid and forthright man. When he speaks, he keeps his eyes focused on yours.

"Here's what I look for in a patient," he says. "I want people to be at their wits' end. You don't need to suffer so badly that you can't get to the toilet or refrigerator, though. The perfect example is this: I won't do your hip replacement so you can play tennis, but you may be able to play tennis after you get your hip replacement.

"When your hip is bad enough so you can't exercise to take care of your heart, when the pain is bad enough and you feel it's warranted and that line in the sand has been crossed, you tell me when to replace your hip. Your X-rays also have to be bad enough that I agree with you.

Original post:

Facing Surgery? Preparation is everything - Part II

Once a surgeon has agreed that your physical condition warrants intervention, the preparation begins. You will have a pre-op examination at the hospital, which may take more than an hour. It is intensely thorough. Then, physical preparation often starts with an exercise program you do on your own at home or at your gym. The object is to improve both your cardiac fitness and muscle tone.

The second important element is education. Doctors Hospital of Sarasota gives a two-hour class in preparation for surgery every Wednesday, open to both patients and caregivers. Jacqueline Gould, clinical nurse manager of the orthopedic and oncology unit, gives the class and moderates questions.

"We try to decrease patients' anxiety and fear and alleviate the concern about not knowing what to expect," she says. "Before surgery, patients can absorb information better because they are not on medication nor have they received anesthesia."

You will be encouraged to get a family member or friend involved at this stage so they can be better able to help with the healing process. Your support person, Gould says, "needs to know what to expect when you go home, what to prepare, and how to arrange the house."

Original post:

Facing Surgery? Preparation is everything - Part I

Major surgery -- even when it was elective -- used to be just plain scary. There was so much about the procedure you faced that was both profoundly invasive and difficult to understand. Even though the decision was yours.

Now, elective surgery patients are carefully prepared by a team of doctors and nurses for the assault on the body that is the necessary precursor to a pain-free hip, or a flatter tummy or a workable shoulder.

Surgeons and hospital staff have come to understand that pre-operative body toning and nutrition, together with a post-operative therapist and enlightened caregiver, makes a profound difference in the outcome of major elective surgery.

Your journey from disability to wellness now comes in three carefully planned stages: pre-op training, hospital care, and post-operative rehabilitation at a rehab facility or at home.

Original Post:

Health Tourism Magazine features Florida Medical Retreat!

Florida Medical Retreat is thrilled to be included in the latest edition of the Medical Tourism Association's, Health Tourism Magazine online. This newsletter is sent to over 83 countries and has introduced Florida Medical Retreat to new markets!

Sarasota's newest tourism pitch: beaches, the arts, fine dining, hip implants.

For years, "medical tourism" conjured images of bargain facelifts in Thailand or Mexico. Now U.S. health providers — including some in Sarasota — have set their sights on luring affluent baby boomers by touting high-quality care and discounting for cash.

Sarasota-based Florida Medical Retreat recently went live with a website promising "Surgery in Paradise," promoting packaged surgery stays that include everything from post-op therapy to theater tickets.

To read more:

Sixth International Conference on Acoustic Neuroma

In a continuing effort to stay abreast of the latest in his field, Dr. Jack Wazen, Otolaryngolgist and partner with Florida Medical Retreat attended the Sixth International Conference of Acoustic Neuroma in Los Angeles, CA.

This meeting featured international discussions on acoustic neuroma and other CP angle pathology, bringing together all those in the field. Reflecting the complexity of the topic, diciplines participating include but are not limited to ENT, neurosurgery, radiation therapy, and audiology.

The four-day program featured general and concurrent sessions, expert panels, paper and poster sessions, industry exhibits, and a social program for guests.

Society of Lateral Access Surgery (SOLAS)

Dr. Thomas Sweeney, II, founder of Southeastern Spine Center and Research Institute, partner of Florida Medical Retreat is also a SOLAS member. The Society of Lateral Access Surgery was created by and is supported with funding from NuVasive, Inc. The intent of SOLAS is to foster research, training initiatives, and peer-to-peer communication that help define and advance the science and art of lateral access surgery and particularly, the XLIF technique.

SOLAS will shape the future of lateral access spine surgery through collaboration among members, sharing of ideas, and the promotion of new techniques that benefit patient, physician and hospital.

We at Florida Medical Retreat are proud and honored to have Dr. Sweeney's expertise and continued efforts for improvement with the latest innovations in his field as a partner.


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