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Making Northeast Pennsylvania Healthier

New services, technologies available locally

To protect the health of our community, Lehigh Valley Health Network continues to add high-quality services at Hazleton-area locations. Here are two new services – powered by technology – available for you locally.

Interventional Radiology (IR)

What it is: This specialty provides minimally invasive (smaller scar) treatments. A specially trained doctor threads a catheter to sites inside the body – usually through an artery – under the guidance of imaging technologies such as X-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

“Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Hazleton now has a full IR suite that allows us to provide an entire spectrum of procedures,” says interventional radiologist Larry Braunstein, MD.

When you might need it: IR may be used if you need a minimally invasive biopsy or angioplasty to open clogged or narrowed blood vessels. IR also may be used to treat cardiovascular problems, such as an aneurysm, to deliver drugs or nutritional supplements intravenously,or to administer cancer therapies.

“IR procedures generally have fewer complications and quicker recovery time,” Braunstein says. Having these services available locally means Hazleton-area residents won’t have to travel out of town. “If your case is complex, my IR colleagues at LVH–Cedar Crest in Allentown can provide more specialized expertise,” Braunstein says.

New technology for Lymphedema

What lymphedema is: Lymphedema is a buildup of protein-rich fluid just beneath the skin. It causes swelling (typically in your extremities), can be painful and may make activities of daily living challenging. It often occurs when lymph nodes are damaged through cancer therapies. Left untreated, lymphedema can result in severe infection that may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.

How therapy helps: “Lymphedema is like having a one- to two-liter bottle of fluid in your arm or leg,” says occupational therapist Colleen Martonick of the Health & Wellness Center atHazleton. She treats patients two to three times per week, using a complete approach that includes massage, compression, exercise, skin care and education.

Now, a new handheld electronic device allows Hazleton therapists to screen certain at-risk patients for lymphedema prior to cancer treatment. “It’s so sensitive, it can measure lymphatic abnormalities at stage zero – meaning before you can detect fluid changes with tape or by sight or touch,” Martonick says. “That potentially allows us to reverse the condition before it advances. If we can stop lymphedema from occurring in these at-risk patients, we can keep our community healthier.”