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What are cataracts?

cataracts

I often tell my patients, “If you live long enough, you’ll get cataracts.” Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems I identify in my office. Fortunately, they are treatable and the treatment even has some hidden benefits.

How do cataracts form? There is a small lens inside of your eye, just behind your iris. This tiny but powerful lens has the job of focusing the image of what you are looking at onto the retina at the back of the eye. A cataract develops when this all-important lens becomes cloudy. An optometrist has a microscope that can look at this little lens and see the developing cloudiness.

For most people, cataracts occur due to the aging process, but cataracts can develop at any age. People taking steroid medications and diabetic patients tend to develop them earlier than most.

The symptoms of a cataract are:
● Blurry vision
● Glare (when a light source affects the ability to see clearly) at night from headlights
● Glare during the day from sunlight Continue Reading »

Doctor, when can I drive?

surgery

Your provider realizes that driving a car is a necessity of everyday life for many people. So when something happens—whether it’s a flat tire or a fractured leg—drivers want it fixed quickly so they can get back on the road again.

With this in mind, patients must realize that all injuries and procedures can alter one’s ability to drive. Braking and accelerating require coordinated activity at the hip, knee and ankle. Steering and shifting require use of the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Sitting upright and watching the road requires good spine function. As we see it, driving requires total body coordination.

Based on the available studies, patients who sustain major lower extremity fractures should delay driving the longest, but nearly every orthopedic procedure will have some impact on a patient’s ability to drive safely. The decision to resume driving should be individualized, as everyone’s body heals at different rates. Patients and their doctors need to talk early on about what impact the procedure may have on driving skills and, after the surgery, how the recovery is proceeding. For elective procedures, driving discussions should take place when the decision to schedule surgery is made.

Most studies have considered emergency braking to be the critical test that allows a patient to return to driving without posing a risk to others, but several other factors must be considered: Continue Reading »

Check out this joint! The inner workings of the knee

The knee is a hinge joint and is the largest in the human body. It is made up of the femur and tibia, with a smaller fibula located to the outer aspect (pictured below, click to make larger).
Inside of knee joint

Source: aclsolutions.com

The fibula functions largely as an attachment point for ligaments. The thigh musculature consists of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, and the lower leg contains the popliteus and gastrocnemius muscles. Flexible meniscus fibro-cartilage supports the curved femoral faces on the relatively flat tibial plateau surfaces (pictured below, click to make larger).

Front view of the knee joint

Source: datlof.com

Tougher ligaments attach the two together and consist of the outer collaterals (medial and lateral ligaments) and the inner cruciates (anterior and posterior cruciates). (Pictured below, click to make larger). Continue Reading »

Breast Cancer: A journey of innovation

Breast cancer continues to be one of the most common cancers in women and maintains a high profile both in the media and in women’s minds. While it is certainly a scary diagnosis, it is exciting how much progress has been made in the treatment of breast cancer in recent years.

The first major surgical advances came in the 1970s when research showed there was the same survival rate for women who underwent breast preservation using lumpectomy (surgical removal of tumor[s] in the breast) and radiation, as there was for women who had a mastectomy (complete removal of the breast).

This discovery, along with rapid developments in breast reconstruction, opened a whole new avenue of surgical options for women. No longer were women faced with a body-altering mastectomy as their only choice of treatment. Breast biopsies also started to become to become less invasive, as the need for an operating room procedure was steadily replaced by image-guided needle biopsies. Continue Reading »

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