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World Pancreatic Cancer Day

November 15th, 2018

USA HPB surgeon Dr. Jacob Dowden is fellowship trained to treat conditions of the pancreas, including pancreatic cancer. He's pictured above (left) with his team, nurse Megan and medical assistant, Maribel and information from World Pancreatic Cancer Day. org. Click here to learn more about Dr. Dowden. 

The following excerpts are copied  from http://www.worldpancreaticcancerday.org/. Please click the link to visit their site to learn more.  

Thursday, Nov. 15 is

 World pancreatic cancer day


WHAT IS  PANCREATIC CANCER?

  • Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells within the pancreas grow out of control and form a tumor. The pancreas is a gland in the abdomen that lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine, with two main functions: digestion and blood sugar regulation.

  • Find more information at World Pancreatic Cancer Day Website

WHAT ARE  THE SYMPTOMS?

Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages, which can make it hard to diagnose early. Symptoms can also be vague and may come and go, while the severity can also vary for each person. You may not have any or all of these symptoms. 
It’s important to remember that symptoms can be caused by more common things. They can also be caused by conditions such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).

Find more information at World Pancreatic Cancer Day Website

Posted by University Surgical | Topic: Events

Defeating Diabetic Foot Issues

November 14th, 2018

Every year 1.4 million American are diagnosed with diabetes, a condition that results from too much sugar in the blood. This area of the country has a very high rate of the disease – and that may be due to the lack of understanding about the basic building blocks of a healthy diet. But uncontrolled diabetes can have a range of negative health consequences – including stubborn wounds that won’t heal to foot and lower leg amputations. 

“We have more issues than ever before with people suffering from advanced diabetic foot problems – and they don’t realize how serious a condition it really is,” says Michael Greer, MD, vascular surgeon with University Surgical Associates. “I see many people with diabetic foot ulcers that need an amputation that could have avoided it completely with appropriate care.” 

What are diabetic ulcers? 

Fifteen percent of people in our region have diabetes. Diabetic foot ulcers are open wounds or sores that commonly occur on the bottom of the foot or on the toes. Approximately 3-5% percent of people with diabetes have these sores, and of those who develop an ulcer, 25 percent will require surgery. We know that diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the US – and many people with diabetes who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation, especially if untreated. 

“Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to neuropathy, a disease of one or more of the peripheral nerves that can lead to numbness or weakness in the legs and feet. It can lead to a reduced or lack of ability to feel pain in the feet due to nerve damage cause by elevated blood glucose levels,” says Dr. Greer. “Because of nerve damage, many people don’t realize they have an ulcer since they can’t feel pain. This numbness and poor circulation is a terrible combination that can lead to wounds that are very difficult to heal.”  

The Importance of Prevention 

Diabetes itself contributes to vascular disease and circulatory problems that cause damage to the nerves that often goes unnoticed. You are high risk for a foot ulcer if you have neuropathy, poor circulation or a foot deformity like a bunion or hammer toe. Wearing inappropriate shoes, having uncontrolled blood sugar or a previous history of foot ulcers also put you at increased risk. That’s why it’s critical to take every step in preventing the condition from getting out of control.
Reducing additional risk factors – like smoking, drinking alcohol, high cholesterol and elevated blood sugar levels – are also important ways you can prevent ulcers in the first place. Checking your feet and taking quick action on any sore no matter how small or seemingly insignificant is also key. Look out for bruises, cuts, blisters, cracks, and redness, and share any foot changes with your primary care provider.    

Dr. Greer points out that many people with diabetes who see a small black spot or have bumped their foot may ignore it at first because it doesn’t appear to be serious or be causing any discomfort. When in doubt, talk with your doctor right away. 

Advanced Help for Vascular Issues  

“As the rate of diabetes continues to rise, there’s a fight to save human limbs from the foot ulcers and chronic wounds that often come with this condition. Left untreated, these severe cases can lead to amputations,” says Dr. Greer. “Patients with chronic wounds – that are often associated with vascular disease and diabetes – require a comprehensive approach to the issues of infection, vascular disease and diabetes management.”

Many people with diabetes suffer with blood flow issues or vascular disease, which reduces the body’s ability it to heal itself and increases the risk for infection. At USA, we offer comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services to treat vascular disorders like venous disease, vascular disease, peripheral artery disease, that restore proper blood flow. Working together with your primary care physician, we use advanced techniques to improve circulation – and your body’s ability to heal itself. - Dr. Greer 

Learn more about University Surgical’s Vascular Diagnostic Services here. To schedule an appointment for an evaluation, call 423.267.0466. 

Posted by University Surgical  | Category: Vascular Surgery

Saying Thanks to USA's RVTs

October 30th, 2018

October is Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month – and we’re recognizing the role diagnostic medical sonographers play in the medical community and raising awareness about the many uses for medical ultrasound in healthcare. University Surgical’s Vascular Diagnostic Services includes seven vascular surgeons, supported by vascular techs – all of whom are registered vascular technologists (RVTs) through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).  

RVTs perform non-invasive vascular exams using ultrasound technology – that assist vascular surgeons in the diagnosis of vascular disorders like venous disease, vascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, cerebrovascular disease and abdominal aortic aneurysm. 

At University Surgical, RVTs are important members of our vascular team. That’s why we’re highlighting these awesome professionals today and saying thanks for the great work they do in caring for our patients! 

Bettina McAlister, RVT, Vascular Technologist 

Education
I did not attend ultrasound school but worked through on-the-job training then sat for my RVT exam. This is no longer allowed. 

Years of Experience: 24 

What led you to your career?
God! I was the transcriptionist in the vascular lab at EHS under the leadership of Marsha Bock (COO at University Surgical). I asked to train for the job, and she agreed.  

What do you enjoy about your job?
There’s no monotony. I earn something new all the time. Our bodies are amazing and different from one another. 

Describe a satisfying moment in your career at USA when you thought “this is why I do what I do!” 
I've had more thoughts of "what am I doing here?" when challenged with a difficult study!  I've just appreciated being trained by patient leaders and co-workers who always encouraged and helped me understand and learn. 

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?
Grandbabies, grandbabies, grandbabies....is there anything else? Oh yes, church and thrifting! 


Deanna New, RVT, Vascular Technologist


Education
I earned my degree from Georgia Northwestern Technical College. 

Years of Experience: 11 

What led you to your career?
I wanted to do patient care. 

What do you enjoy about your job? 
Helping patients. 

Describe a satisfying moment in your career at USA when you thought “this is why I do what I do!” 
I feel satisfied when a patient thanks me for helping them. 

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?

Be with my family and girl time (lunch dates)!  


Heather Chappell, RVT, Vascular Technologist

Education
Georgia Northwestern Technical College 

Years of Experience: 4

What led you to your career?

I served overseas doing mission work and met a lady that did ultrasound in other countries and knew then this is what I want to do. 

What do you enjoy about your job? 
I enjoy vascular because I believe it puts a story together for the surgeon. 

Describe a satisfying moment in your career at USA when you thought “this is why I do what I do!”

When my grandmother was a patient here, and she had multiple gastrointestinal problems, and no one could figure out what was going on. I told her it sounded like mesenteric disease. She had an ultrasound and we discovered she had Celiac Disease. Post stent placement all of her symptoms have subsided, and she now has an appetite. The fact that I get to help people’s quality of life on a daily basis is why I do what I do. 

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?
I love kickboxing and watching movies. 


Lexie Girod, RVT, Vascular Technologist, Educational Coordinator 

Education
Georgia Northwestern Technical College 

Years of Experience: 9

What led you to your career?
My dad. He is registered in all modalities of ultrasound.  

What do you enjoy about your job? 
Helping and building a relationship with patients.  

Describe a satisfying moment in your career at USA when you thought “this is why I do what I do!”

Any time a patient thanks me for my service or gives hugs because they are so appreciative of my (our) skills. 

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?
Hanging out with my husband and dog!  


Brandie Lane, RVT, Vascular Technologist 

Education
Georgia Northwestern Technical College  

Years of Experience: 15 years 

What led you to your career?
My mother worked in admissions at GNTC when the vascular ultrasound program was beginning. I was studying early childhood education and was unsure of that career path. I decided to speak with the instructor of the program and went for it! 

What do you enjoy about your job? 
Patient interaction/care. I absolutely love meeting and hearing people’s life stories. 

Describe a satisfying moment in your career at USA when you thought “this is why I do what I do!” 
When I am able to diagnostically determine that a patient – who has exhausted all other resources to determine the source of pain – has a blockage/stenosis that can be fixed and change their quality of life completely. 

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?
Being mom + wife, church, healthy living, and reading! 


Jackie Davis, RVT, Vascular Technologist 

Education
Georgia Northwestern Technical College 

Years of Experience: 2

What led you to your career?
My interest in ultrasound when I was in high school. 

What do you enjoy about your job? 
Being able to help others.  

Describe a satisfying moment in your career at USA when you thought “this is why I do what I do!” 
A patient had been diagnosed with cancer and was in office for a DVT scan. His wife was in the room with us, and I said something funny. The patient laughed, and his wife said, "I haven't seen you laugh like that in months." 


What are your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?
Shop, eat and hang out with my family and friends. 


Amanda Wright, RVT, Vascular Technologist 

Education
Georgia Northwestern Technical College 

Years of Experience: 9

What led you to your career?
My older sister was a radiology tech and worked in the special procedures with vascular surgeons at a hospital in Rome, GA. Through her experience in healthcare, I learned about careers in the medical field. 

What do you enjoy about your job? 

What I find most rewarding in my role as a sonographer is following patients pre- and post-op. When my ultrasound findings lead the physician to the correct treatment course for the patient, I find it very gratifying and worthwhile. 

Describe a satisfying moment in your career at USA when you thought “this is why I do what I do!” 
When Dr. Greer and Dr. Sprouse told me they wanted to start scanning for pelvic vein insufficiency, I was initially intimidated by the idea of learning and implementing a new exam that was "unknown" to us in our lab. We worked very hard in the lab to learn and understand how to perform these exams and recognize normal and abnormal findings. When we began to have positive pelvic findings and the patients had successful procedures based off our ultrasound reporting, I felt very proud of our work and to be a part of a practice like USA. 

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?
When I'm not working, I enjoy the simple things the most like spending time with my husband, Jason, and daughter, Libby Claire.  

Tricia Royals, BS, RDMS, RVT, Vascular Technologist 

Education
University of Florida, Santa Fe College 

Years of Experience: 10

What led you to your career?
I love the problem-solving aspect of being a sonographer. 

What do you enjoy about your job? 
I love that I get to perform a variety of studies on a varied patient population. It keeps things interesting. 

Describe a satisfying moment in your career at USA when you thought “this is why I do what I do!” 
When I leave a patient room knowing that I found the reason for their problem. 

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?

I am a wife and mom of two boys, so I am a busy lady! I’m a potter and a beekeeper. I also love to craft and horseback ride. 

Posted by University Surgical  | Category: vascular