At Mott when it mattered

danno schneiderLike many families, the reality of how fortunate we are to live near one of the country’s top ranked children’s hospitals was not something we ever really thought about.  That all changed when Danno came into our lives.

During a routine ultrasound while I was pregnant with twins last year, the doctor discovered that the heart of one of the twins was not developing properly. We learned even before he was born that our son, Daniel (eventually nicknamed Danno after we all fell in love with our 2-year-old’s attempts to pronounce his baby brother’s name) had a congenital heart defect. The exact diagnosis was double outlet right ventricle with pulmonary atresia and a large ventricular septal defect.  It’s a mouthful, and we were frightened, but knew we were in good hands at University of Michigan.

In early October, I was admitted to U-M’s Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital because my twin boys were beginning to show signs of distress. The doctors decided to deliver them on October 27 at 34 weeks gestational age.

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Chronic pain experience inspires new surgical offering

U-M physicians work with local couple to bring peripheral nerve surgery to Ann Arbor

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David L. Brown, MD, addresses the attendees and introduces A. Lee Dellon’s lecture, “Peripheral nerve surgery in 2015.”

After an accident, Sonya Persia went through several back, hip and neck surgeries, but new pain in her legs and feet never went away. Once Sonya and her husband Ray realized there are options beyond pain medication to improve her quality of life, they wanted to help others dealing with the same thing.

“Nobody knew what to do,” Ray Persia said, but they finally read an article about a procedure that fixes chronic pain caused by injury and/or compression of nerves.

The Persias traveled out of state for the surgeries, and now the couple from Highland, Mich., are advocates and donors, helping to bring the option of peripheral nerve surgery to patients at the U-M Health System.

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The Positive Feedback Loop

Medical mission work and a return to U of M

Dr. Gilman and a patient in Cartagena, Colombia.

Dr. Gilman and a patient in Cartagena, Colombia.

My first medical mission trip in 1998 was one of those absolutely life altering experiences.

I had been interested in this work for some time and was approached by a friend who needed an additional surgeon for a trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Working during that first trip, I really felt as if it gave me the opportunity to practice what we do as surgeons and physicians in the purest possible way. There are no other considerations but to offer our expertise to the people we see.

I’ve continued to visit this same hospital each year for 15 years, now leading an annual mission for pediatric reconstructive plastic surgery.  I am convinced that any volunteer participating in a medical mission would describe themselves asgetting more out of the experience than they Continue reading

New normal: A breast reconstruction patient story

A breast reconstruction surgery patient shares her story from diagnosis to DIEP flap reconstruction.“I think one of my lowest points was when I found out I was actually going to have a mastectomy,” Linda said. “That word was so scary…it was a word that you read, but to think this was going to be my journey was really frightening.”

Linda Van Howe is one of the many women being treated for breast cancer who had breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.

A new study shows that the rate of breast reconstruction for patients like Linda has gone up dramatically over time. Researchers found that 46 percent of patients received reconstruction in 1998 but that figure rose to 63 percent by 2007. Continue reading

New trends in breast reconstruction

Women making a decision about breast cancer surgery should include a plastic surgeon in that discussion. Several options for breast reconstruction give women choices, with each choice carrying its own risks and benefits.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“The decision tree is complicated. A plastic surgeon ultimately has to walk through the choices with patients and help them consider which option is best for their individual situation and preferences,” says Adeyiza Momoh, M.D., assistant professor of plastic surgery at the U-M Medical School.

As more younger women at high risk of breast cancer choose to have their breasts removed before cancer develops, a procedure called a DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap has become increasingly popular. The technique involves transplanting tissue from the woman’s abdomen into her chest. But unlike traditional tissue reconstruction, called a pedicled TRAM flap, where the entire rectus muscle was included with the flap, a DIEP flap involves a complex approach to dissecting out the small blood vessels and leaving the muscle behind. The blood vessels are then reconnected to blood vessels in the chest.

The technique preserves the abdominal muscle function and typically has fewer abdominal complications. Continue reading