With an ever-changing medical industry, staying informed on the latest advancements, cutting edge treatments and recommendations on preventative care is more important than ever. In May, SRQ hosted “Taking Care: Advancements in Women’s Health Initiatives” at The Francis in Downtown Sarasota.  The event included some of Sarasota’s most notable physicians as panelists and was sponsored by CS&L CPAs. 

SRQ: What are some of the exciting new things happening in your field of medicine? Dr. John Fezza, Cosmetic Facial Surgeon: In the field of cosmetic facial surgery, there’s an awful lot of new advances, almost on a weekly basis. We see a lot of new trends that are tailoring treatment to a patient, from minimally invasive all the way through to surgery. The goal is to make people look like themselves and natural. First, we make sure that the patients are ready and prepared for surgery and are medically stable and are maximizing their health. I figure out what is going to promote and enhance their natural features. My mother was an artist and my dad was a surgeon. So I grew up with a diverging thought process, but my mom always taught me about mother Earth, facial proportions, da Vinci and the ideals of art. A heart-shaped face is what we want to achieve by creating apple cheeks and through lifting the cheeks we recreate the appearance of youth. Lori Abrams, OBGYN, Abrams Center for Women: One of the new things for teens is the HPV vaccine that prevents cervical cancer. A new vaccine now prevents four types of cervical cancer. For more mature women, we are continuing to explore hormones. It is always a challenging conversation, but we have some new medications that are non-hormonal for women going through menopause that don’t want to take hormones. Dr. ELizabeth Callahan, Dermatologic Surgeon and Founder SkinSmart Dermatology: Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death among women 25-29. Recent selfies and things in the media lately like a young woman undergoing pre-cancer treatment on her face going viral triggered a lot of awareness and recognition that damage is being done when you don’t know it, even when times are good. To see a young, pretty girl have a horrific reaction on her face drew attention from media all over the world. For older women, there are a lot of non-invasive opportunities that earlier generations didn't have available to them. I’m talking specifically about neurotoxins and facial fillers. We’re using them now in ways that are not just cookbook “fill in the line to make the line go away,” we’re doing things like stimulating collagen. We now know where to put what and are creating soft silhouettes and replacing missing pieces to create a sense of happiness. Patients look happy and refreshed and feel better about themselves and that’s extremely rewarding to me. Dr. Chippy Nalluri, Cardiologist, Heart Specialists of Sarasota: As we know, women outlive men. As the body ages, we begin to calcify. One of the parts of the heart that calcifies is our valves. The aortic valve is the valve that regulates the flow of blood out of the heart throughout the rest of the body. As a person gets older, their valve begins to calcify and their output from the heart gets very restricted. Traditionally, we would have to cut the sternum, stint the sternum, open up their chest, open the heart, take the chunk of calcium out, put in a new biological valve, sew the patient up, wire the sternum back together and then they are in the hospital for a week and then cardio rehab. Now we have transcatheter aortic valve replacement. We can do the exact same procedure through a little hole in the leg. Through a puncture in the leg, we access the artery and direct a hose around and into the heart, through the calcified valve, crush the old valve, open a balloon and around the balloon is a new valve. We then deflate the balloon, remove the hose and the patient has a brand new valve. We have had patients go home in as little as three days. I do the imaging and look at the ultrasound of the heart as the procedure is being done. And you can literally see a heart that is beating at 10–20 percent and with the new valve it begins to beat at 50–60 percent. To me, this is the greatest technological advance and we at Sarasota Memorial are one of the first community hospitals to offer this tertiary care program to our community.

SRQ: In navigating the changing environment of regulated health care and a changing climate for insurance and coverage, what should we be on the lookout for? Dr. Christina de Guia, Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist: A lot of psychiatrists in this area are starting to not take insurance and actually have people pay out of pocket because insurance reimbursement has been so low. In some ways, setting a base price for services. This has become a big stressor on the community, because a lot of people need to see a psychiatrist or even just a therapist and a lot of therapists in the community don’t take insurance either. It is a frustrating thing. With doctors that do take insurance, their waitlist to get in and see a psychiatrist or child psychiatrist can be two months out. If the stressor is acute, meaning “I feel like I’m going to hurt myself now” or “I’m having such severe panic attacks that I can’t go to work right now,” they have to wait two months to see a doctor, which means the burden falls on the primary care physician who may or may not feel comfortable starting somebody on medication. It is causing a stressful environment for everybody.