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VOLUME V ISSUE 1

HouseCall

Robotics Revolution In Women’s Health Care OB-GYN surgeons Shannon H. McGranahan, M.D., and Stephanie S. Brown, M.D.

inside

Heart Vest Saves Lives I Breast Care Center Offers 3D Mammography Renovations To First Floor Entrance And Lobby Complete I Ask The Doctor


PATIENT PROFILE

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES Are Minimizing Incisions And Speeding Recovery For OB-GYN Surgery JUDITH GILLIAM, DEBRA CARSE AND AUDREY SMITH, ALL SOUTH HILLS RESIDENTS, HAVE NEVER MET EACH OTHER, BUT THEY HAVE SEVERAL THINGS IN COMMON. THEY ARE WOMEN WHO HAVE THE SHARED EXPERIENCE OF HAVING UNDERGONE HYSTERECTOMY. THEY ARE ALSO MEDICAL PIONEERS.

T

he women are among the first patients at

control. The system cannot operate on its own. The

St. Clair Hospital to have gynecologic surgery

da Vinci represents a dramatic advance in surgical

utilizing a breakthrough robotic technology

science, making it possible for surgeons to perform

that is transforming the way that many

complex and delicate laparoscopic operations in the

surgical procedures are performed.

safest and least invasive way possible. Robotic-assisted

The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System uses robotics and

surgery has numerous potential advantages for both the

computer technology to translate the real-time movements

surgeon and the patient, and is producing outstanding

of a surgeon’s hands into precise, micro-movements of

clinical outcomes. At St. Clair, the system has been

surgical instruments through tiny incisions. While the

in use since April 2011 for urologic surgery, and the

da Vinci system uses robotics, it is not a robot. A robot

Hospital has gradually expanded its robotic-assisted

operates automatically, based on pre-set instructions.

surgery program to include other surgical specialties,

With the da Vinci system, the surgeons are always in

including colorectal, general, thoracic and gynecologic. Continued on page 4

Stephanie Brown, M.D. (left) and Shannon McGranahan, M.D. are using robotics technology in gynecologic procedures at St. Clair Hospital.

2 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 3


PAtient Profile

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES Are Minimizing Incisions And Speeding Recovery For OB-GYN Surgery Judith Gilliam, debra Carse and audrey smith, all south hills residents, have never met eaCh other, but they have several thinGs in Common. they are women who have the shared experienCe of havinG underGone hystereCtomy. they are also mediCal pioneers.

T

he women are among the first patients at

control. The system cannot operate on its own. The

St. Clair Hospital to have gynecologic surgery

da Vinci represents a dramatic advance in surgical

utilizing a breakthrough robotic technology

science, making it possible for surgeons to perform

that is transforming the way that many

complex and delicate laparoscopic operations in the

surgical procedures are performed.

safest and least invasive way possible. Robotic-assisted

The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System uses robotics and

surgery has numerous potential advantages for both the

computer technology to translate the real-time movements

surgeon and the patient, and is producing outstanding

of a surgeon’s hands into precise, micro-movements of

clinical outcomes. At St. Clair, the system has been

surgical instruments through tiny incisions. While the

in use since April 2011 for urologic surgery, and the

da Vinci system uses robotics, it is not a robot. A robot

Hospital has gradually expanded its robotic-assisted

operates automatically, based on pre-set instructions.

surgery program to include other surgical specialties,

With the da Vinci system, the surgeons are always in

including colorectal, general, thoracic and gynecologic. Continued on page 4

Stephanie Brown, M.D. (left) and Shannon McGranahan, M.D. are using robotics technology in gynecologic procedures at St Clair Hospital.

2 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 3


PAtient Profile Continued from page 3

the Doctors The application of da Vinci technology to gynecologic procedures represents a clinical advancement that may dramatically change the way that women experience hysterectomies and other surgeries. And, according to the three St. Clair OB-GYNs — Stephanie Brown, M.D., Shannon McGranahan, M.D., and Sandor Mecs, M.D. — who perform robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery, it can even be said that da Vinci technology may revolutionize women’s health care. Stephanie Brown, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist who performs robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery at St. Clair. She describes the da Vinci system as a form of minimally invasive surgery that improves upon conventional laparoscopy. The surgeon, she explains, sits at a console that is in the operating room but several feet away from the patient. Using hand and foot controls, she manipulates a machine with four robotic arms that are positioned over the patient. Three of the arms hold miniaturized surgical instruments, such as a grasper or scissors, and one holds an endoscopic camera. At the console, the surgeon looks through

The biggest advantage “ is that the da Vinci system

enables the surgeon to see so well. … With the robotic-assisted system, you are not in direct physical contact with the patient, but what you gain in visualization compensates. It’s amazing.

An overhead view of the state-of-the-art da Vinci robotic surgical system. the system provides surgeons with extraordinary visualization and depth perception of the patient.

Interchangeable instruments with EndoWrist™ technology simultaneously follow surgeon’s hand and wrist movements

Anesthesiologist

–Stephanie Brown, M.D.

lenses that give her a three-dimensional image and the capability of magnification up to 10 times. “The biggest advantage is that the da Vinci system enables the

Video screen

surgeon to see so well,” Dr. Brown says. “You have extraordinary visualization; you can zoom in and the three-dimensional camera

Assistant

provides great depth perception. You can magnify and see the anatomy so closely. The wristed instruments can get at angles in the pelvis that you can’t otherwise achieve and the instruments move just like your

Nurse

hands. It’s amazing.” In addition to superior visualization, the da Vinci system provides the surgeon with enhanced dexterity and increased precision. Surgeon uses open-surgery hand movements, which are precisely replicated in the operative field by the instruments

Nevertheless, Dr. Brown acknowledges some initial skepticism. “I was a skeptic at first. I didn’t like the idea of my hands not feeling that tissue. As a surgeon, you feel it, respect it and know it. Especially with tough cases, I felt that I had to be in there physically, feeling Surgeon at operative console

the organs and arteries. With the robotic-assisted system, you are not in direct physical contact with the patient, but what you gain in visualization compensates.” Dr. Brown says that some patients believe their surgery will be performed by a robot. “When patients are first approached, some are taken aback. I tell patients that I do the procedure with the assistance of this instrument — it’s still laparoscopic surgery.” Dr. Brown completed her comprehensive da Vinci training program at an “epicenter” in Houston, Texas. An epicenter is a hospital where there is a well-established da Vinci program with experienced surgeons

4 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

The surgeon uses hand controls on the da Vinci console to manipulate the surgical instruments inside the patient.

who offer their expertise to help other surgeons and surgical teams

and sophisticated equipment. Shannon McGranahan, M.D., Dr. Brown’s

master the technology. St. Clair has a special robotics surgical team,

partner in the OB-GYN group of Dr. Patricia Bulseco, M.D., PC, also

which Dr. Brown calls “a well-oiled machine,” in a state-of-the-art

has completed da Vinci training at the Houston epicenter and the

operating room that features wide-screen, high-definition monitors

two surgeons often operate together.

Continued on page 6

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 5


PAtient Profile Continued from page 3

the Doctors The application of da Vinci technology to gynecologic procedures represents a clinical advancement that may dramatically change the way that women experience hysterectomies and other surgeries. And, according to the three St. Clair OB-GYNs — Stephanie Brown, M.D., Shannon McGranahan, M.D., and Sandor Mecs, M.D. — who perform robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery, it can even be said that da Vinci technology may revolutionize women’s health care. Stephanie Brown, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist who performs robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery at St. Clair. She describes the da Vinci system as a form of minimally invasive surgery that improves upon conventional laparoscopy. The surgeon, she explains, sits at a console that is in the operating room but several feet away from the patient. Using hand and foot controls, she manipulates a machine with four robotic arms that are positioned over the patient. Three of the arms hold miniaturized surgical instruments, such as a grasper or scissors, and one holds an endoscopic camera. At the console, the surgeon looks through

The biggest advantage “ is that the da Vinci system

enables the surgeon to see so well. … With the robotic-assisted system, you are not in direct physical contact with the patient, but what you gain in visualization compensates. It’s amazing.

An overhead view of the state-of-the-art da Vinci robotic surgical system. the system provides surgeons with extraordinary visualization and depth perception of the patient.

Interchangeable instruments with EndoWrist™ technology simultaneously follow surgeon’s hand and wrist movements

Anesthesiologist

–Stephanie Brown, M.D.

lenses that give her a three-dimensional image and the capability of magnification up to 10 times. “The biggest advantage is that the da Vinci system enables the

Video screen

surgeon to see so well,” Dr. Brown says. “You have extraordinary visualization; you can zoom in and the three-dimensional camera

Assistant

provides great depth perception. You can magnify and see the anatomy so closely. The wristed instruments can get at angles in the pelvis that you can’t otherwise achieve and the instruments move just like your

Nurse

hands. It’s amazing.” In addition to superior visualization, the da Vinci system provides the surgeon with enhanced dexterity and increased precision. Surgeon uses open-surgery hand movements, which are precisely replicated in the operative field by the instruments

Nevertheless, Dr. Brown acknowledges some initial skepticism. “I was a skeptic at first. I didn’t like the idea of my hands not feeling that tissue. As a surgeon, you feel it, respect it and know it. Especially with tough cases, I felt that I had to be in there physically, feeling Surgeon at operative console

the organs and arteries. With the robotic-assisted system, you are not in direct physical contact with the patient, but what you gain in visualization compensates.” Dr. Brown says that some patients believe their surgery will be performed by a robot. “When patients are first approached, some are taken aback. I tell patients that I do the procedure with the assistance of this instrument — it’s still laparoscopic surgery.” Dr. Brown completed her comprehensive da Vinci training program at an “epicenter” in Houston, Texas. An epicenter is a hospital where there is a well-established da Vinci program with experienced surgeons

4 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

The surgeon uses hand controls on the da Vinci console to manipulate the surgical instruments inside the patient.

who offer their expertise to help other surgeons and surgical teams

and sophisticated equipment. Shannon McGranahan, M.D., Dr. Brown’s

master the technology. St. Clair has a special robotics surgical team,

partner in the OB-GYN group of Dr. Patricia Bulseco, M.D., PC, also

which Dr. Brown calls “a well-oiled machine,” in a state-of-the-art

has completed da Vinci training at the Houston epicenter and the

operating room that features wide-screen, high-definition monitors

two surgeons often operate together.

Continued on page 6

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 5


PAtient Profile Continued from page 5

the PAtients For Canonsburg resident Judy Gilliam, having

in the world in her. She’s a good doctor and the

“I was surprised by how good I felt,” she says.

a hysterectomy was a matter of trust. The

nicest person. She said we could do it the ‘old

“Nothing hurt! Dr. Brown took such good care

68-year old retiree, wife and grandmother had

way’ if I wanted, but that I was a good candidate

of me and made me feel special. She even

known for several years that she might eventually

for the robotic-assisted surgery because I had

admitted me to the Family Birth Center after

need the operation, due to an ovarian cyst and

no scar tissue. I felt that if Dr. Brown said this

the operation, so that she could watch me more

uterine fibroids. Gilliam wasn’t worried — she

was safe and effective, then that was that. She

closely. There I was, among all the mothers

knew that hysterectomy was a common surgical

explained it all and prepared me for it.” My

and babies. I went home the next day, and did

procedure. Still, she was surprised when

need for surgery wasn’t urgent, so I waited for

not take a single pain medication after I was

Dr. Brown made a request: was she open to

her to finish her training. When she was ready,

discharged. I had no bleeding and no other

undergoing robotic-assisted hysterectomy?

I was ready.”

problems at all. I was able to resume my

Indeed she was. Judy never hesitated. “Dr. Brown is my doctor and I have all the faith

Judy had a hysterectomy, followed by an

normal activities quickly.”

uneventful and nearly pain-free recovery. Continued on page 8

I was surprIsed by how good I felt. NothINg hurt! … I was able to resume my Normal actIvItIes quIckly. I weNt home the Next day, aNd dId Not take a sINgle paIN medIcatIoN after I was dIscharged.

JUDY GILLIAM

da Vinci surgical patient Judy Gilliam had an uneventful and nearly pain-free recovery.

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Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 7


PAtient Profile Continued from page 5

the PAtients For Canonsburg resident Judy Gilliam, having

in the world in her. She’s a good doctor and the

“I was surprised by how good I felt,” she says.

a hysterectomy was a matter of trust. The

nicest person. She said we could do it the ‘old

“Nothing hurt! Dr. Brown took such good care

68-year old retiree, wife and grandmother had

way’ if I wanted, but that I was a good candidate

of me and made me feel special. She even

known for several years that she might eventually

for the robotic-assisted surgery because I had

admitted me to the Family Birth Center after

need the operation, due to an ovarian cyst and

no scar tissue. I felt that if Dr. Brown said this

the operation, so that she could watch me more

uterine fibroids. Gilliam wasn’t worried — she

was safe and effective, then that was that. She

closely. There I was, among all the mothers

knew that hysterectomy was a common surgical

explained it all and prepared me for it.” My

and babies. I went home the next day, and did

procedure. Still, she was surprised when

need for surgery wasn’t urgent, so I waited for

not take a single pain medication after I was

Dr. Brown made a request: was she open to

her to finish her training. When she was ready,

discharged. I had no bleeding and no other

undergoing robotic-assisted hysterectomy?

I was ready.”

problems at all. I was able to resume my

Indeed she was. Judy never hesitated. “Dr. Brown is my doctor and I have all the faith

Judy had a hysterectomy, followed by an

normal activities quickly.”

uneventful and nearly pain-free recovery. Continued on page 8

I was surprIsed by how good I felt. NothINg hurt! … I was able to resume my Normal actIvItIes quIckly. I weNt home the Next day, aNd dId Not take a sINgle paIN medIcatIoN after I was dIscharged.

JUDY GILLIAM

da Vinci surgical patient Judy Gilliam had an uneventful and nearly pain-free recovery.

6 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 7


PAtient Profile Continued from page 7

Debra Carse, 47, of Upper St. Clair, is a married mother of two and a registered nurse. As a nurse, she was aware of robotic-assisted surgery and knew that St. Clair Hospital was using a da Vinci system. She also knew Dr. McGranahan well, as a colleague and as her gynecologist. When Dr. McGranahan suggested that she have a robotic-assisted, hysterectomy to treat abnormal uterine bleeding that had persisted for two years, Debra had no doubt that this was the right option for her. “Dr. McGranahan was excited about

Pioneering technology

the most dIffIcult aspect of thIs surgery Is that you feel so good, you forget that you had surgery.

Art, Science and Science Fiction Merge in the da Vinci Surgical System

DEBRA CARSE

Robotic-assisted surgery is associated with a lower rate of complications and reduced

robotic-assisted surgery for gynecology,

length of stay. Patients have less post operative

and everything went exactly as she told me

pain, and subsequently less need for narcotic

it would. Dr. Brown assisted her, so I had

pain medication, and they experience far less

the benefit of having both of them there.

bleeding. They require minimal post-operative

Post-op, I had some discomfort from bloating,

nursing care. Instead of 6- to 12-inch abdominal

computer era, with a bit of science fiction

but my pain was so minimal that I only took

incisions and scarring, they have five tiny

in the mix, too.

Motrin.” Debra has exceptional appreciation

incisions that are more like punctures. Without

he da Vinci Robotic Surgical System

T

used primarily to mobilize hazardous

on the robotic technologies. The goal was

is the result of a convergence of

materials in unsafe environments, much

to take these innovative concepts and turn

powerful forces: the science of medicine,

like the bomb-detecting robots that police

them into a marketable medical device that

the art of surgery and the technology of the

use today.

allowed surgeons to operate intuitively.

In the 1980s, advances in electronics

In conventional laparoscopic surgery, the

and computer technology further propelled

surgeon moves the instrument handles in

the development of robotics. At the same

the direction that is opposite the way she

large wounds, patients are less likely to develop

device originates in the Italian Renaissance,

time, surgeons were developing minimally

or he actually wishes to go — an approach

an infection. Robotic-assisted surgery means

in the innovative mind of Leonardo da Vinci.

invasive surgery techniques and in 1987,

that surgeons describe as counter-intuitive.

robotic-assisted laparoscopy.

a shorter hospital admission ― usually one

da Vinci was undeniably a genius: a painter,

French surgeon Phillippe Mouret performed

Within four years, in 1999, the first

“Without an abdominal incision,

night as opposed to three or four following

sculptor, musician, architect, engineer,

the first laparoscopic gall bladder removal.

da Vinci system was introduced and cleared

you’re able to move easily —

open abdominal surgery ― and a faster,

inventor and mathematician. He created

Following that, there was explosive growth

by the FDA for laparoscopic surgery.

arguably the most finely detailed and

in laparoscopic technology and methods

easier recovery. For patients, that’s the real

anatomically accurate drawings of the

for simple surgical procedures.

miracle of robotic-assisted surgery.

human body ever produced. da Vinci also

The prototype for the da Vinci robotic

for the dramatic contrast between recovery from open abdominal surgery and

to stand and sit, to get in and out of bed, to shower and

The story of this breakthrough surgical

Intuitive Surgical, which is now the global leader in robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgical technology, chose to call the

even to breathe normally.

For Audrey Smith, a mother of three and

loved machines and mechanics. He loved

surgical system was created in the late 80s

robotic surgical system the “da Vinci” in

All you have are five little

management consultant who lives in Mount

to study and improve existing machines,

in an effort to improve military surgical

honor of the artist who created the first robot.

‘poke holes,’ where the

Lebanon, the decision to have robotic-assisted

and designed everything from harmonicas

capabilities for the U.S. Army. The Defense

With his apparently limitless capabilities

instruments were inserted.

surgery was more complicated. Smith was

to military tanks. In 1495, he developed

Advanced Research Projects Agency

and creativity, da Vinci blended art and

planning a business trip to China when

the world’s first robot, a medieval knight

(DARPA) funded research to test the

science in a singular way. His legacy has

Dr. McGranahan, her OB-GYN, informed her that

in armor that could sit, stand, walk and

feasibility of a remote surgery program for

endured for centuries and he continues to

she had large fibroid tumors that necessitated

turn its head.

use in the front lines of battle. The idea was

inspire futuristic thinkers, including those

to substitute robots for human medics and

who developed the robotic surgical system

another creative thinker, Robert Heinlein,

surgeons, to keep them out of harm’s way.

that is transforming many surgical specialties.

wrote a science fiction novel called Waldo,

The robotic medic concept never flourished,

about a man too physically weak to care for

but the DARPA research advanced the

himself. He gained some independence by

development of surgical robotics. Another

Because there is so much less manipulation of the internal organs, you experience less pain

a hysterectomy. “I was quite anxious,” Smith

and swelling. The most

recalls. “I had had previous abdominal surgeries

difficult aspect of this

and I knew what was involved; I was laid up for

More than four centuries later, in 1942,

surgery is that you feel

six weeks with those surgeries and had a lot of

so good, you forget that you had

pain. I had this trip to China scheduled for four

using a device that enabled him to manipulate

influence was the NASA-funded work of

surgery. When I lifted things, I felt

weeks after the surgery, which could not be

a mechanical arm. Inspired by the book,

scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

a pulling sensation that was like a

canceled. I was worried; would I be recovered

inventors began designing remote

in Pasadena, Calif.

reminder — ‘oh, yeah, I just had a

enough to go? Plus, I was dealing with a lot of

manipulators, called Waldoes, and by 1950,

hysterectomy, better slow down.’”

emotions about having a hysterectomy.”

these early robots were a reality. They were

Intuitive Surgical was founded in 1995 in Sunnyvale, Calif. and secured licenses

Continued on page 10 Debra Carse 8 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 9


PAtient Profile Continued from page 7

Debra Carse, 47, of Upper St. Clair, is a married mother of two and a registered nurse. As a nurse, she was aware of robotic-assisted surgery and knew that St. Clair Hospital was using a da Vinci system. She also knew Dr. McGranahan well, as a colleague and as her gynecologist. When Dr. McGranahan suggested that she have a robotic-assisted, hysterectomy to treat abnormal uterine bleeding that had persisted for two years, Debra had no doubt that this was the right option for her. “Dr. McGranahan was excited about

Pioneering technology

the most dIffIcult aspect of thIs surgery Is that you feel so good, you forget that you had surgery.

Art, Science and Science Fiction Merge in the da Vinci Surgical System

DEBRA CARSE

Robotic-assisted surgery is associated with a lower rate of complications and reduced

robotic-assisted surgery for gynecology,

length of stay. Patients have less post operative

and everything went exactly as she told me

pain, and subsequently less need for narcotic

it would. Dr. Brown assisted her, so I had

pain medication, and they experience far less

the benefit of having both of them there.

bleeding. They require minimal post-operative

Post-op, I had some discomfort from bloating,

nursing care. Instead of 6- to 12-inch abdominal

computer era, with a bit of science fiction

but my pain was so minimal that I only took

incisions and scarring, they have five tiny

in the mix, too.

Motrin.” Debra has exceptional appreciation

incisions that are more like punctures. Without

he da Vinci Robotic Surgical System

T

used primarily to mobilize hazardous

on the robotic technologies. The goal was

is the result of a convergence of

materials in unsafe environments, much

to take these innovative concepts and turn

powerful forces: the science of medicine,

like the bomb-detecting robots that police

them into a marketable medical device that

the art of surgery and the technology of the

use today.

allowed surgeons to operate intuitively.

In the 1980s, advances in electronics

In conventional laparoscopic surgery, the

and computer technology further propelled

surgeon moves the instrument handles in

the development of robotics. At the same

the direction that is opposite the way she

large wounds, patients are less likely to develop

device originates in the Italian Renaissance,

time, surgeons were developing minimally

or he actually wishes to go — an approach

an infection. Robotic-assisted surgery means

in the innovative mind of Leonardo da Vinci.

invasive surgery techniques and in 1987,

that surgeons describe as counter-intuitive.

robotic-assisted laparoscopy.

a shorter hospital admission ― usually one

da Vinci was undeniably a genius: a painter,

French surgeon Phillippe Mouret performed

Within four years, in 1999, the first

“Without an abdominal incision,

night as opposed to three or four following

sculptor, musician, architect, engineer,

the first laparoscopic gall bladder removal.

da Vinci system was introduced and cleared

you’re able to move easily —

open abdominal surgery ― and a faster,

inventor and mathematician. He created

Following that, there was explosive growth

by the FDA for laparoscopic surgery.

arguably the most finely detailed and

in laparoscopic technology and methods

easier recovery. For patients, that’s the real

anatomically accurate drawings of the

for simple surgical procedures.

miracle of robotic-assisted surgery.

human body ever produced. da Vinci also

The prototype for the da Vinci robotic

for the dramatic contrast between recovery from open abdominal surgery and

to stand and sit, to get in and out of bed, to shower and

The story of this breakthrough surgical

Intuitive Surgical, which is now the global leader in robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgical technology, chose to call the

even to breathe normally.

For Audrey Smith, a mother of three and

loved machines and mechanics. He loved

surgical system was created in the late 80s

robotic surgical system the “da Vinci” in

All you have are five little

management consultant who lives in Mount

to study and improve existing machines,

in an effort to improve military surgical

honor of the artist who created the first robot.

‘poke holes,’ where the

Lebanon, the decision to have robotic-assisted

and designed everything from harmonicas

capabilities for the U.S. Army. The Defense

With his apparently limitless capabilities

instruments were inserted.

surgery was more complicated. Smith was

to military tanks. In 1495, he developed

Advanced Research Projects Agency

and creativity, da Vinci blended art and

planning a business trip to China when

the world’s first robot, a medieval knight

(DARPA) funded research to test the

science in a singular way. His legacy has

Dr. McGranahan, her OB-GYN, informed her that

in armor that could sit, stand, walk and

feasibility of a remote surgery program for

endured for centuries and he continues to

she had large fibroid tumors that necessitated

turn its head.

use in the front lines of battle. The idea was

inspire futuristic thinkers, including those

to substitute robots for human medics and

who developed the robotic surgical system

another creative thinker, Robert Heinlein,

surgeons, to keep them out of harm’s way.

that is transforming many surgical specialties.

wrote a science fiction novel called Waldo,

The robotic medic concept never flourished,

about a man too physically weak to care for

but the DARPA research advanced the

himself. He gained some independence by

development of surgical robotics. Another

Because there is so much less manipulation of the internal organs, you experience less pain

a hysterectomy. “I was quite anxious,” Smith

and swelling. The most

recalls. “I had had previous abdominal surgeries

difficult aspect of this

and I knew what was involved; I was laid up for

More than four centuries later, in 1942,

surgery is that you feel

six weeks with those surgeries and had a lot of

so good, you forget that you had

pain. I had this trip to China scheduled for four

using a device that enabled him to manipulate

influence was the NASA-funded work of

surgery. When I lifted things, I felt

weeks after the surgery, which could not be

a mechanical arm. Inspired by the book,

scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

a pulling sensation that was like a

canceled. I was worried; would I be recovered

inventors began designing remote

in Pasadena, Calif.

reminder — ‘oh, yeah, I just had a

enough to go? Plus, I was dealing with a lot of

manipulators, called Waldoes, and by 1950,

hysterectomy, better slow down.’”

emotions about having a hysterectomy.”

these early robots were a reality. They were

Intuitive Surgical was founded in 1995 in Sunnyvale, Calif. and secured licenses

Continued on page 10 Debra Carse 8 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 9


PAtient Profile Continued from page 8

are significant. Following the far more invasive

she explains. “The da Vinci system is an extension

she says. “I’m happy to wake up in the morning

assisted hysterectomy, and Smith says that

open abdominal procedure, recovery is

of the surgeon. It’s like doing an open procedure,

and go to work.”

her doctor’s confidence convinced her.

challenging and many women experience

but through five very small incisions.”

“Dr. McGranahan is fantastic. I went in feeling

significant pain, bleeding and fatigue. A woman

so good about having this done, and it turned

is unable to drive, shop, do housework, lift

since childhood that she wanted to become a

standard for hysterectomy, while abdominal

out to be a great experience.” Smith echoes

things or return to work for six to eight weeks.

doctor and work at St. Clair Hospital. She

surgery becomes the exception. “We need to

made her dream come true by graduating

endeavor to reverse those figures, so that

from Denison University and then the University

80 percent of women have minimally invasive,

Dr. McGranahan proposed having a robotic-

Debra Carse and Judy Gilliam regarding her recovery experience. “I was out of anesthesia at 6 p.m. and up and walking at 8 p.m. That first night I was sore, but able to get out of bed by myself. I had the surgery on Thursday, went home Friday and went to the movies on Sunday. I was back at work one week later. My recovery was so smooth.” That smooth, rapid recovery is a bit of a mixed blessing, says Dr. McGranahan. “Patients rave about how quickly they rebound, but I have

I had the surgery oN thursday, weNt home frIday aNd weNt to the movIes oN suNday.

AUDREY SMITH

Still, some women need open abdominal

A native of Upper St. Clair, Dr. Brown knew

Dr. McGranahan envisions a future in which robotic-assisted surgery becomes the

of Louisville School of Medicine. She has two

robotic-assisted surgery. It should not be the

children, ages 12 and 9, and enjoys the family-

case in 2013 that the majority of women are

friendly environment within the Patricia J.

having the traditional open surgery. Our

Bulseco, M.D., PC, group. “With six doctors

mothers and grandmothers were having

in our group, we each get a day off during the

hysterectomies done that way in their mid-40s,

week, every week. I love OB GYN; I feel a special

mostly for heavy bleeding. Today we have

connection with female patients, I love surgery,

many other options for treating heavy bleeding,

and I love to deliver babies. Every time, it’s

so hysterectomy is not the automatic approach

the miracle of birth.”

to that. Still, women need hysterectomies for other reasons, and as women become educated

learned to advise them to take it easy. Too much

surgery because of the size of their organs or

activity can create complications; they can

medical complications such as obesity. Open

University of Pennsylvania who attended medical

about this, they will ask for this type of surgery.”

strain or even separate the internal incisions.

procedures, says Dr. McGranahan, do have the

school at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia

Dr. Brown agrees. “Robotic-assisted surgery

Even though this approach has tremendous

advantage of giving a surgeon the entire range

and completed her residency at West Penn

will eventually become the routine for GYN surgery.

advantages for patients, it is still surgery.

of dexterity, but the da Vinci duplicates that.

Hospital. She practiced there for seven years

Any case you’d normally do open, you should

You have to rest and let your body heal.”

“With the da Vinci, it’s like doing an open

before moving to her present position with the

consider doing robotically, unless the uterus is too

procedure, in the sense that I have the same

Bulseco OB-GYN group four years ago. She is

big. Robotic surgery allows for more dissection

and all has gone well. “I feel like I got myself

wristed mobility, the same 3D visualization,

married and the mother of two sons, ages 12

than you’d be comfortable doing laparoscopically,

back, so fast. The physical healing helped my

the same ability to make fine motor movements,”

and 10, and lives in Sewickley. “I love what I do,”

because you can see where the scars are.”

Audrey Smith went to China as planned,

Dr. McGranahan is a graduate of the

positive development; I believe that when you know you have this option, you’re more likely

Benefits of Robotic-Assisted Gynecologic Surgery

when compared to the conventional surgery. It felt like a miracle to me.” In the United States, 600,000 women undergo hysterectomy every year, for a variety

STEPHANIE S. BROWN, M.D.

time and the quality of the recovery experience

personal level for each woman, but even on a

Dr. Brown specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. She earned her medical degree at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and completed her residency at the Medical College of Ohio Hospital. Dr. Brown is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She practices with the Patricia J. Bulseco, M.D., PC, group.

broad social and economic level. Women are a

To contact Dr. Brown, please call 412.561.5666.

mean that women get back to their normal

• 5 tiny poke holes versus a 6- to 12-inch incision with scarring • Less pain and swelling

major presence in the workforce and their lives are full. Judy Gilliam, Debra Carse and Audrey Smith, as well as Drs. Brown and McGranahan,

uterine fibroids; prolapsed uterus; and heavy

• 1-2 weeks versus 6 weeks to resume normal activity post-op

marriages, families, jobs, elder care and other

bleeding. There are four approaches to removing

• 1 night versus a 3-4 night hospital stay

responsibilities. As Dr. McGranahan says,

the uterus: via a large open abdominal incision;

• Less post-operative pain

“So much depends on women. Getting them

of reasons: gynecologic cancer; endometriosis;

a vaginal incision; conventional laparoscopy;

are like most American women, juggling homes,

healthy and back to normal is a matter of

or with robotics. Currently, 60 percent of

• Less need for narcotic pain medications

concern that extends beyond the individual

women who have hysterectomies have the

• Reduced opportunity for infection

woman. The da Vinci technology is revolutionizing

traditional open abdominal procedure, rather than a minimally invasive one. The differences

–Shannon McGranahan, M.D.

tremendous. The greatly reduced recovery

lives more quickly. This matters, not only on a

to decide to have the surgery you need, rather than delay it. It’s just awesome, especially

is a matter of concern that extends beyond the individual woman. Women’s health is critically important to families and the entire community.

The implications for women’s health are

emotional healing, and I’m glad that I did it. Having this available to women is such a

So much depends on women. “ Getting them healthy and back to normal

• Low rate of complications

women’s health care. And it should — women’s

SHANNON H. McGRANAHAN, M.D. Dr. McGranahan specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. She earned her medical degree at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and completed her residency at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Bloomfield. Dr. McGranahan is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She practices with the Patricia J. Bulseco, M.D., PC, group. To contact Dr. McGranahan, please call 412.561.5666.

health is critically important to families and the community.” ■

10 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 11


PAtient Profile Continued from page 8

are significant. Following the far more invasive

she explains. “The da Vinci system is an extension

she says. “I’m happy to wake up in the morning

assisted hysterectomy, and Smith says that

open abdominal procedure, recovery is

of the surgeon. It’s like doing an open procedure,

and go to work.”

her doctor’s confidence convinced her.

challenging and many women experience

but through five very small incisions.”

“Dr. McGranahan is fantastic. I went in feeling

significant pain, bleeding and fatigue. A woman

so good about having this done, and it turned

is unable to drive, shop, do housework, lift

since childhood that she wanted to become a

standard for hysterectomy, while abdominal

out to be a great experience.” Smith echoes

things or return to work for six to eight weeks.

doctor and work at St. Clair Hospital. She

surgery becomes the exception. “We need to

made her dream come true by graduating

endeavor to reverse those figures, so that

from Denison University and then the University

80 percent of women have minimally invasive,

Dr. McGranahan proposed having a robotic-

Debra Carse and Judy Gilliam regarding her recovery experience. “I was out of anesthesia at 6 p.m. and up and walking at 8 p.m. That first night I was sore, but able to get out of bed by myself. I had the surgery on Thursday, went home Friday and went to the movies on Sunday. I was back at work one week later. My recovery was so smooth.” That smooth, rapid recovery is a bit of a mixed blessing, says Dr. McGranahan. “Patients rave about how quickly they rebound, but I have

I had the surgery oN thursday, weNt home frIday aNd weNt to the movIes oN suNday.

AUDREY SMITH

Still, some women need open abdominal

A native of Upper St. Clair, Dr. Brown knew

Dr. McGranahan envisions a future in which robotic-assisted surgery becomes the

of Louisville School of Medicine. She has two

robotic-assisted surgery. It should not be the

children, ages 12 and 9, and enjoys the family-

case in 2013 that the majority of women are

friendly environment within the Patricia J.

having the traditional open surgery. Our

Bulseco, M.D., PC, group. “With six doctors

mothers and grandmothers were having

in our group, we each get a day off during the

hysterectomies done that way in their mid-40s,

week, every week. I love OB GYN; I feel a special

mostly for heavy bleeding. Today we have

connection with female patients, I love surgery,

many other options for treating heavy bleeding,

and I love to deliver babies. Every time, it’s

so hysterectomy is not the automatic approach

the miracle of birth.”

to that. Still, women need hysterectomies for other reasons, and as women become educated

learned to advise them to take it easy. Too much

surgery because of the size of their organs or

activity can create complications; they can

medical complications such as obesity. Open

University of Pennsylvania who attended medical

about this, they will ask for this type of surgery.”

strain or even separate the internal incisions.

procedures, says Dr. McGranahan, do have the

school at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia

Dr. Brown agrees. “Robotic-assisted surgery

Even though this approach has tremendous

advantage of giving a surgeon the entire range

and completed her residency at West Penn

will eventually become the routine for GYN surgery.

advantages for patients, it is still surgery.

of dexterity, but the da Vinci duplicates that.

Hospital. She practiced there for seven years

Any case you’d normally do open, you should

You have to rest and let your body heal.”

“With the da Vinci, it’s like doing an open

before moving to her present position with the

consider doing robotically, unless the uterus is too

procedure, in the sense that I have the same

Bulseco OB-GYN group four years ago. She is

big. Robotic surgery allows for more dissection

and all has gone well. “I feel like I got myself

wristed mobility, the same 3D visualization,

married and the mother of two sons, ages 12

than you’d be comfortable doing laparoscopically,

back, so fast. The physical healing helped my

the same ability to make fine motor movements,”

and 10, and lives in Sewickley. “I love what I do,”

because you can see where the scars are.”

Audrey Smith went to China as planned,

Dr. McGranahan is a graduate of the

positive development; I believe that when you know you have this option, you’re more likely

Benefits of Robotic-Assisted Gynecologic Surgery

when compared to the conventional surgery. It felt like a miracle to me.” In the United States, 600,000 women undergo hysterectomy every year, for a variety

STEPHANIE S. BROWN, M.D.

time and the quality of the recovery experience

personal level for each woman, but even on a

Dr. Brown specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. She earned her medical degree at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and completed her residency at the Medical College of Ohio Hospital. Dr. Brown is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She practices with the Patricia J. Bulseco, M.D., PC, group.

broad social and economic level. Women are a

To contact Dr. Brown, please call 412.561.5666.

mean that women get back to their normal

• 5 tiny poke holes versus a 6- to 12-inch incision with scarring • Less pain and swelling

major presence in the workforce and their lives are full. Judy Gilliam, Debra Carse and Audrey Smith, as well as Drs. Brown and McGranahan,

uterine fibroids; prolapsed uterus; and heavy

• 1-2 weeks versus 6 weeks to resume normal activity post-op

marriages, families, jobs, elder care and other

bleeding. There are four approaches to removing

• 1 night versus a 3-4 night hospital stay

responsibilities. As Dr. McGranahan says,

the uterus: via a large open abdominal incision;

• Less post-operative pain

“So much depends on women. Getting them

of reasons: gynecologic cancer; endometriosis;

a vaginal incision; conventional laparoscopy;

are like most American women, juggling homes,

healthy and back to normal is a matter of

or with robotics. Currently, 60 percent of

• Less need for narcotic pain medications

concern that extends beyond the individual

women who have hysterectomies have the

• Reduced opportunity for infection

woman. The da Vinci technology is revolutionizing

traditional open abdominal procedure, rather than a minimally invasive one. The differences

–Shannon McGranahan, M.D.

tremendous. The greatly reduced recovery

lives more quickly. This matters, not only on a

to decide to have the surgery you need, rather than delay it. It’s just awesome, especially

is a matter of concern that extends beyond the individual woman. Women’s health is critically important to families and the entire community.

The implications for women’s health are

emotional healing, and I’m glad that I did it. Having this available to women is such a

So much depends on women. “ Getting them healthy and back to normal

• Low rate of complications

women’s health care. And it should — women’s

SHANNON H. McGRANAHAN, M.D. Dr. McGranahan specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. She earned her medical degree at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and completed her residency at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Bloomfield. Dr. McGranahan is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She practices with the Patricia J. Bulseco, M.D., PC, group. To contact Dr. McGranahan, please call 412.561.5666.

health is critically important to families and the community.” ■

10 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 11


Life-saving technoLogy

Life Saver Portable LifeVest can help save lives

T

hanks to a “vest,” two St. Clair Hospital patients who

Following rehabilitation, Andrew's heart began to beat out of

were about to experience life-threatening heart attacks

rhythm while he was at home. His LifeVest detected the life-

were able to spend the recent holidays with their families.

threatening arrhythmia and delivered a treatment shock.

But this was more than just an ordinary vest; it was the

LifeVest — the first wearable defibrillator manufactured by

had Andrew not been wearing the LifeVest, he probably would

Zoll Medical Corporation in Pittsburgh. Unlike a cardioverter

not have survived that day.

defibrillator, the LifeVest is worn outside the body rather than implanted in the chest. It requires no bystander intervention. Pittsburgh patient, Andrew Tichon, 61, was prescribed

Dry, non-adhesive sensing electrodes continuously monitor patient’s heart.

His electrophysiologist, Puvalai M. Vijaykumar, M.D. said

Bridgeville resident Frank Ptaszynski, 59, another patient of Dr. Vijaykumar, was also prescribed the LifeVest following balloon angioplasty and stent insertion. While visiting St. Clair

the LifeVest following a diagnosis of ischemic and dilated

Hospital for another unrelated medical condition, Frank passed

cardiomyopathy. After Andrew had been wearing the LifeVest

out after his heart lost its life-sustaining rhythm. As with Andrew,

for about six months, he went to St. Clair Hospital to have open

the LifeVest delivered a treatment shock and helped Frank regain

heart surgery. Following his surgery, he continued to wear the

consciousness. Moments later, his heart was restored to a

LifeVest during his recovery at an area rehabilitation facility.

normal rhythm. In both of these cases, the LifeVest came to the rescue. Once fitted, the LifeVest continuously monitors a patient’s heart and, if a life-threatening heart rhythm is detected, the device delivers a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm. The device alerts the patient prior to delivering a treatment shock by sounding an alarm and releasing a conductive gel over the patient's chest. According to Dr. Vijaykumar, the LifeVest is used for a wide range of patient conditions, including following a heart attack, before or after bypass surgery or stent placement, as well as cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure. “We recommend the LifeVest to a patient who is at risk for sudden cardiac arrest or who recently had a heart attack,” he says. “Typically, we wait for 40 days following a myocardial infarction (heart attack) before we can place an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Some patients may need to wait for 90 days. These are people who have a dilated cardiomyopathy, patients who had a recent balloon angioplasty or a stent placed, and people who had coronary artery bypass surgery. During this waiting period, the patient has to be protected from sudden cardiac arrest — and the LifeVest protects them.”

Comfortable, lightweight garment is washable and can be worn all day, except when bathing and showering.

If a life-threatening arrhythmia is detected, this alarm module alerts the patient with audible, visual and tactile alarms. A conscious patient can prevent a shock by simultaneously pressing two response buttons.

In the event of a life-threatening arrhythmia, these dry therapeutic electrodes will automatically deploy conductive gel prior to delivering a shock.

12 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1

This monitor is worn in a holster around the waist and from the sensing electrodes collects ECG data that can be sent to a doctor via modem.


Electrophysiology THE FASTEST GROWING CARDIOVASCULAR DISCIPLINE As an electrophysiologist, Puvalai Vijaykumar, M.D. can help determine whether a patient is at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest or cardiovascular disease. According to the Heart Rhythm Foundation, electrophysiology, a subspecialty of cardiology, is now the fastest growing of all the cardiovascular disciplines. Electrophysiologists, like Dr. Vijaykumar, are cardiologists who have additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms. Dr. Vijaykumar and his staff evaluate and treat patients who have a variety of cardiac arrhythmias and abnormal heart rhythms. Your heart sends out electrical signals throughout the muscle, thereby acting as a natural pacemaker. These signals will cause each of your heart’s four chambers to relax and contract in a rhythmic pattern. If your heart could not send out a signal, it would be a motionless pump. “People can have a slow heart beat or a rapid heart beat,” David DeCarlucci, MS, CES, Supervisor, Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehabilitation at St. Clair Hospital, demonstrates the LifeVest while exercising.

notes Dr. Vijaykumar. "As electrophysiologists, we evaluate their abnormal heart rhythm and prescribe the appropriate treatment. In some cases, we may need to insert a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator; and in other cases, they

on average, Lifevest is saving one life a day.

The LifeVest also allows physicians like Dr. Vijaykumar time to assess patients' long-term arrhythmic risk and make appropriate plans. Once

may need a procedure called a radio-frequency ablation.” Dr. Vijaykumar and his staff routinely handle heart rhythm

a patient gets shocked from a LifeVest, the patient

problems in patients of all ages. They often work closely with

immediately receives an implanted defibrillator.

other cardiologists and specialists to achieve the best outcomes

That waiting period goes away — they do not have

for these complex cases. ■

to wait for 40 or 90 days. Since the LifeVest is lightweight and easy to wear, Dr. Vijaykumar says it allows patients to

return to their normal activities of daily living, while having the peace of mind that they are protected from sudden cardiac arrest. “It’s like any vest you may wear with adjustable straps,” says Dr. Vijaykumar. The LifeVest is non-invasive and consists of two main components ― a garment and a monitor. The garment, worn under the clothing, detects arrhythmias and delivers treatment shocks. The monitor is worn around the waist or from a shoulder strap and continuously monitors the patient’s heart. To date, the LifeVest has been prescribed to more than 75,000 patients nationwide. ■

PUVALAI M. VIJAYKUMAR, M.D. Dr. Vijaykumar specializes in electrophysiology and cardiology at St. Clair Hospital. He earned his medical degree at Stanley Medical College and completed his medical training at Madras Medical College, both in India. He completed an internship at Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan, and fellowships at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn and Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, New Jersey. Dr. Vijaykumar is board-certified in cardiology and electrophysiology. He practices with Pittsburgh Cardiac Electrophysiology Associates, P.C. To contact Dr. Vijaykumar, please call 412.687.8838. Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 13


asK the DoctoR

Ask the Doctor Q A

BrIDGET K. BEIEr, D.O.

Is there a relationship between diabetes and heart disease?

There is strong link between diabetes and heart disease. People with both Type I and Type II diabetes are at increased risk of developing and dying from heart disease. If you have diabetes, you are twice as likely as someone without diabetes to suffer a heart attack or stroke. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 65 percent of people with diabetes die of a heart attack or stroke. Even at the time of diabetes diagnosis, many diabetics already have overt heart disease (past heart attack, peripheral vascular disease, or EKG changes). Many patients with diabetes have multiple risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, cholesterol abnormalities, and obesity. The pathogenesis of heart disease in diabetics is complex. In simple terms, high blood sugar levels over time can lead to the buildup of fatty materials on the insides of blood vessel walls. This in turn can cause abnormal blood flow, leading to increased chance of clogging and hardening of blood vessels. Chronic inflammation may also play a role.

The good news is, there are many ways for diabetics to reduce their risk of heart disease. Good blood sugar control is important. The goal HgA1c (this test provides an average of your blood sugars over the preceding 2- to 3-month period) for most patients with diabetes is less than 7 percent. Aggressive control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also vitally important. A goal blood pressure for most people with diabetes is less than 130/80. In regards to cholesterol, the LDL (“bad cholesterol”) should be less than 100 in diabetics without known heart disease. The target LDL in diabetics who have already been diagnosed with heart disease is less than 70. Fortunately, there are safe and effective medications available to help people meet their blood pressure and cholesterol targets. Smoking cessation lowers cardiovascular risk substantially. Additionally, a low dose daily aspirin may be beneficial in diabetics at high risk for heart disease, but is no longer recommended for low risk individuals. Finally, lifestyle modifications can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease in diabetics. Diet, exercise and weight loss can make a big impact. Try to get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week and follow a diet that is low in saturated fats and salt. ■

BRIDGET K. BEIER, D.O. Dr. Beier specializes in endocrinology. She earned her medical degree at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency at the University of Connecticut Health Care Center and a fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. She is board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology. She practices with Associates in Endocrinology, P.C. To contact Dr. Beier, please call 412.942.2140.

14 I HouseCall I Volume V Issue 1


Diagnostic aDvances

Advanced Technologies at St. Clair Hospital’s New Breast Care Center Enhance Mammography Screening

S

t. Clair Hospital’s new Breast Care Center in Bethel Park is quickly gaining a stellar reputation among patients for a spa-like ambience that offers them an environment exuding comfort, convenience and beauty. But patients are also praising the center’s advanced diagnostic imaging technology, particularly a new technology called 3D breast tomosynthesis. A recent study involving 3D breast tomosynthesis found a significant increase in cancer detection rates, particularly for invasive cancers, and a simultaneous decrease in false-positive rates with use of mammography, plus 3D tomosynthesis, when compared with mammography alone. At the St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center, 3D breast tomosynthesis, which is FDA-approved, is often used in conjunction with traditional digital mammography as part of a woman’s annual screening mammogram to capture more breast images.

WHAT IS 3D BREAST TOMOSYNTHESIS? 3D breast tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices” ― building what is essentially a “3-dimensional mammogram.” The 3D images allow doctors to examine breast tissue one layer at a time. Very low X-ray energy is used during the screening examination ― which takes about 10 seconds to acquire ― so a patient’s radiation exposure is safely below the American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines.

3D tomosynthesis has proven particularly beneficial in women with Dense breast tissue anD has reDuceD the number of unnecessary invasive Diagnostic proceDures.

With 3D images, St. Clair Hospital diagnostic radiologists can see tissue detail in a way never before possible. Instead of viewing all of the complexities of a woman’s breast tissue in a flat 2D image, a radiologist can examine the tissue a millimeter at a time. Fine details are more clearly visible, no longer hidden by the tissue above and below. When used together, 3D breast tomosynthesis and digital mammography have been proven to reduce “call-backs,” scenarios in which patients are asked to return for follow-up examinations to rule out any suspicious areas. The use of 3D tomosynthesis has proven particularly beneficial in women with dense breast tissue and has reduced the number of unnecessary invasive diagnostic procedures. ■ The St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center is on the Third Floor of the St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center–Village Square, 2000 Oxford Drive, Bethel Park. To contact the center, please call 412.942.3177.

Volume V Issue 1 I HouseCall I 15


St.Clair Hospital 1000 Bower Hill Road Pittsburgh, PA 15243 www.stclair.org

General & Patient Information 412.942.4000

HouseCall

Physician Referral Service 412.942.6560

Outpatient Center–Village Square 412.942.7100

is a publication of St. Clair Hospital. Articles are for informational purposes and are not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your personal physician.

Medical Imaging Scheduling 412.942.8150

Follow us on twitter at: www.twitter.com/stclairhospital

AuxiliAry lobby

Renovations Enhance Patient and Visitor Experience

I

n November, St. Clair Hospital formally

throughout the decades. In its honor, the First

original paintings and photography of local

dedicated its newly renovated First Floor

Floor Lobby was renamed the “Auxiliary Lobby.”

artists for sale. Just past the art gallery is a

Lobby and entryway to the Professional Office

Building, enhancements that have transformed

And while the lobby’s facelift has enhanced

new Information Desk, where patients and

the aesthetics, it also has greatly improved how

visitors can talk with a friendly customer

one of the most trafficked areas of the Hospital

patients and visitors navigate the building. The

service representative or volunteer before

from ordinary to extraordinary.

entrance features a new covered, wide entryway

stepping onto nearby elevators or relaxing

with automatic doors for patient drop-off or valet

on the brightly lit lobby’s many new couches

a generous gift from the Hospital’s Auxiliary,

service. Once inside, a new 45-inch electronic

and chairs.

which closed out its 67-year history at the

touch-screen Directory makes finding a physician’s

Hospital with a $500,000 donation to the St. Clair

office, Patient Registration, or even Café 4,

Office Building through the Auxiliary Lobby,

Hospital Foundation. Instrumental in the

a simple, speedy process.

patients and visitors have their choice of two

Much of the renovation was paid for through

Hospital’s founding in the early 1950s, the Auxiliary donated more than $6 million to St. Clair

A short walk through the sun-drenched glass atrium leads to a new art gallery featuring

When exiting the Hospital or the Professional

convenient Pay Stations for the Parking Garage’s new ticket-based system. ■


St. Clair Hospital HouseCall_Vol V Issue 1