Is it Time to Consider Joint Replacement?

Out with old joints, in with new jointsIt hurts. Your knee just doesn’t seem to bend like it once did, and every time walk up some steps, yeah … there’s that pain again. Medication and physical therapy will help, but eventually the time may come for surgery – out with the old joint and in with a new one.

What causes this pain? Most often it’s some variation of arthritic inflammation generally caused by joint damage or age. Usually, this joint pain can’t be cured, only managed. The only way to make that elbow or knee work the way it once did is to replace it. But when is the right time to do that?

“You’ll know,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network orthopedic surgeon Prodromos Ververeli, MD, with VSAS Orthopaedics, who specializes in knee and hip replacement. “When you have persistent pain in a joint for more than a month and it’s affecting your life regardless of what you do to ease the discomfort, it’s probably time to see a qualified orthopedist.” Read More »

What Happens During a Cardiac Catheterization?

Learn about cardiac catheterizationYou’ve likely heard someone talk about a cardiac catheterization or know someone who has had one. Cardiac catheterizations are performed commonly because the procedure is one of the most useful methods to evaluate and treat your heart’s blood vessels, valves and muscles that control its pumping function. About 9,500 catheterization procedures are performed at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) each year.

Cardiac catheterizations are performed by physicians called interventional cardiologists who specialize in performing the procedure. “A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery through a small incision in the groin or wrist,” says LVHN interventional cardiologist Bryan Kluck, DO, with LVPG Cardiology–1250 Cedar Crest. “A dye that is visible by a special X-ray is injected. It allows us to see if any blood vessels are blocked or narrowed, examine heart valves, look for birth defects and check the pumping function of the heart.” You are typically awake during the procedure and receive medication that helps you relax. Read More »

Post-Injury Healing Time Can Keep Children in the Game for Life

Prevent Overuse InjuriesWhen it comes to overuse injuries, pushing through the pain and returning to your training regimen too soon can magnify an already troubling sports injury. It’s important to give your body plenty of time to heal. Otherwise you can aggravate an injury and make it more difficult to fully heal.

Overuse injuries are often seen in youth sports. Unlike previous generations, many children and teens are now playing sports year round. This phenomenon has led to an increase in throwing injuries in baseball, knee and growth plate injuries in cheering and gymnastics, and other injuries.

“When you don’t rest between seasons, you’re at increased risk for injury,” says orthopedic surgeon Mitchell Cooper, MD, with VSAS Orthopaedics. “Parents often push their children to go back to their sport too soon. I counsel families to allow plenty of time to heal. Otherwise they risk children reinjuring themselves or making a condition chronic.” Read More »

Get Screened for Colon Cancer

1 in 20 people get colon-rectal cancerOne in 20 people will develop cancer of the colon or rectum, which are parts of the large intestine. Because colon and rectal cancers have many features in common, they sometimes are referred to together as colon-rectal cancer. Such cancers are the third most common.

“Colon cancer is preventable and treatable when detected early,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network general surgeon Guillermo Garcia, MD, with LVPG General Surgery–Hausman Road. “That’s why it’s important to have a screening colonoscopy.” During a colonoscopy, a flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope is inserted through the rectum into the colon to examine the entire length of the large intestine.

Here’s what you need to know about having a colonoscopy and getting screened for colon-rectal cancer. Read More »

Ways You Can Lower Your Risk for AFib

Help your heart keep a steady beatAtrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common heart rhythm disorder, can be a very serious condition. With AFib, the electrical signals in the upper chambers of the heart (atria) fire quickly and uncontrollably. The chambers quiver instead of contracting normally, which may cause blood to pool and/or clot. “If a blood clot forms and becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke may occur,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) cardiologist Nghia Hoang, DO, with LVPG Cardiology-1250 Cedar Crest. About 15 percent of strokes occur in people with AFib.

Do these things to lower your risk for AFib. Read More »