Doctors at major hospitals and local medical practices share answers to some of your most important healthcare questions, from what safety measures they are taking due to Covid-19 to whether its safe to schedule an elective surgery.
What are the symptoms of a stroke and what should I do if I think I or a family member may be experiencing one?
When it comes to strokes and aneurysms, time is brain. The quicker someone receives treatment for these conditions, the lower the chances they will experience death or disability. By offering the highest level of stroke services at Wellstar North Fulton Hospital in addition to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, we are saving critical travel time for patients in Northeast Georgia who would otherwise need to travel farther south to Atlanta for care.
BE FAST is an acronym that helps you remember ways to spot signs of stroke:
- Balance: Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Eyes: Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- Face: Facial weakness, uneven smile
- Arm: Weakness, unable to raise both arms evenly
- Speech: Impaired, slurred, difficulty repeating simple phrases
- Time: Call 911 immediately
If you or a family member is having symptoms, getting care quickly is crucial. At Wellstar North Fulton Hospital, the highest level of cerebrovascular and neurocritical care services are available to patients who suffer even the most severe types of neurological conditions. Wellstar is the leading provider of stroke and aneurysm services in North Georgia with one of the largest Joint Commission Stroke Certified–networks in the Southeast.
It’s important to get the healthcare you need, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Wellstar Health System provides a safe environment offering outstanding, expeditious stroke and aneurysm care to patients in their time of need.
-Benjamin Zussman, MD | WellStar Health System
What is anterior hip replacement?
Hip arthritis can be debilitating. Quality of life seems to decrease slowly over time and dysfunction seems to increase. Once it is determined that an arthritic hip is the cause of pain, every effort is made to maintain quality of life without surgery. Once non-operative options stop offering enough relief, the great news is hip replacement is a highly successful operation to return quality of life and improve function.
Anterior hip replacement is an advanced technique with many advantages: faster recovery, smaller incision with less tissue damage, more accurate positioning of components, and lower risk of dislocation compared to standard approaches.These differences matter in both the short-term and long-term success of a hip replacement.
Even better news is that nationally recognized hospital rating organization DEXUR ranked Northside Hospital Forsyth number one in the nation for lowest length of stay, number one
in Georgia for most experience, and number one in Georgia for the lowest readmission rate. What does this mean? Right in your backyard is one of the top joint replacement facilities in the nation. When the decision involves your body, your health, and your quality of life, choosing the most experience matters.
Arthritis and Total Joint Specialists is here to take care of you and help you navigate a complex process. Our goal is to get you back to living life with less pain and better function.
-Michael B. Gottsman, MD | Advanced Center for Joint Surgery
What protocols have you put in place to best serve your patients during this time? What recommendations do you have for your patients to maintain their wellbeing?
Meeting the healthcare needs of thousands of patients is Grady’s top priority, even during a pandemic. When presented with the challenge of Covid-19, the safe delivery of care required that we not only follow expert recommendations but that we also think outside the box.
First, we implemented CDC recommendations of mask requirements, temperature checks, enhanced cleaning, and reduced in-person appointments to ensure proper social distancing. Next, we ramped up our telemedicine program, offering both video and phone appointments for non-urgent consultations, routine check-ups, and medication refill needs. And while all these measures remain in place, we slowly and carefully opened up in-person visits because some things are best managed in a clinical setting.
While we have been accessible to patients throughout the Covid-19 crisis, we are concerned about the number of people who continue to delay basic preventive care or are no longer maintaining regular checks on their chronic conditions. Annual health screenings and keeping chronic illnesses under control are more important than ever. Unchecked diabetes, hypertension, and other issues are complicating factors for those who contract Covid.
Whatever your choice, an in-person or telehealth appointment, I encourage you to schedule time with your doctor.Taking care of your health and following Covid-19 safety precautions will help you successfully make it through the pandemic.
-Kelley Carroll, MD | Grady Health System
Are there specific treatments, services, or checkups you are offering or recommending as a result of the challenges many of us are facing? Has your office continued to offer in-person and elective procedures?
To keep our patients safe during this time, we want to emphasize the importance of getting you on your feet and out of our office as quickly and safely as possible. At Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center, we are proud to introduce state-of-the-art robotic spine surgery to Atlanta, and we are particularly pleased to be the first clinic in the Southeast to offer the Globus Medical ExcelsiusGPS system.The Globus ExcelsiusGPS robotic system has transformed what has historically been a fairly invasive surgery that required patients to stay anywhere from one to even four days in the hospital, into a procedure done smoothly and arguably more safely in an outpatient setting. In these days where we are working to avoid the hospital environment because of Covid-19 concerns, we are thrilled to be able to take care of patients in the private, relaxing setting offered by our surgery center. We also offer many safe alternatives to spine surgery. Most notably, therapeutic injections can relieve pain and enhance healing without surgery. We are able to address a broad range of pain conditions with regenerative, joint, and steroid injections and can help put an end to pain caused by arthritis, disc degeneration, injuries, and other factors.
We have worked hard to increase safety measures and screening, and we continue to remain open for business as an essential healthcare provider. While the triage and prioritization of Covid-19 patients has required many hospitals to limit elective surgeries and pain procedures, if you are in pain and simply cannot wait, we are available
to see you. We also offer telemedicine services, as well as the ability to upload images from home.
-Christopher Tomaras, MD | Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center
Is it safe to have elective cosmetic surgery? What kinds of cosmetic surgeries are you performing right now?
Yes, given that you have no signs or symptoms of Covid-19 and go through appropriate pre-operative Covid-19 screening—the same as you would at any hospital. At Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists, we have our own single-suite operating room where only one patient is operated on at a time. The OR is properly cleansed and sterilized between each patient and we take appropriate precautions with each patient in regards to COVID-19 screening. Additionally, all staff are screened regularly and/or quarantined if indicated to minimize any exposure to our office and operating room personnel.
I am a craniofacial-trained plastic surgeon and I regularly perform facial procedures, including deep-plane facelifts for longer-lasting results by tightening the muscle and underlying structures, eyelid surgery, chin surgery, routine rhinoplasties, as well as secondary structural cosmetic rhinoplasties to correct noses that have had prior plastic surgery, fat transfer to the face, and neck lifts. I also perform all body procedures, such as breast augmentation, breast lift, abdominoplasty, and body liposuction. Of course, we continue to do non-operative cosmetic procedures including Botox, fillers, laser treatments, and skincare,
-Greg Mackay, MD | Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists
What advice would you give your patients during these challenging times? Are you seeing patients currently in the office and what safety measures are in place with the procedures that you offer?
The ongoing pandemic has placed undue stress on patients, both physically and emotionally. In these unprecedented times, it is even more important to pay attention to proper nutrition, sleep, and exercise. A good rule of thumb is 150 minutes of exercise a week, seven hours of sleep per night, and eating regular, well-balanced meals. Both yoga and meditation are also great ways to help with both the mind and body.
We have been seeing patients in our office since the pandemic began but with proper Covid-19 restrictions. Before entering our office, all patients are screened at the door for both temperature checks and for any recent cough or illness. Masks are required at all times for patients and office staff; we restrict the number of patients allowed in the office and waiting room, as well. Furthermore, for the last eight months we have been offering virtual consults for those patients who would like to get to know us from the comfort of their own home. This service has proven to be an incredibly effective and popular option for our patients to discuss their aesthetic goals and medical questions with Dr. Deutsch.
We feel that with our safety protocols in place, we can continue to offer all surgeries in a low-risk environment.These cosmetic and reconstructive procedures include: breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reconstruction, breast reduction, facial procedures, injectables, liposuction, mommy makeovers, and tummy tucks. We perform surgeries at both Northside Hospital and the Piedmont Healthcare system. At Perimeter Plastic Surgery, we strive to give our patients the highest level of care in a nurturing, safe environment to reach their aesthetic needs during these unprecedented times.
-Mark Deutsch, MD | Perimeter Plastic Surgery
Does your office offer in-person and all elective procedures again?
AllSpine is currently offering in-person and televisits to new and existing patients while taking all precautions necessary to keep our patients safe.The medical services we provide change the life of a person living with spinal disorders, neurological issues, or debilitating neck and back pain. We work to offer the least invasive procedures possible and ensure the health and safety of our patients first and foremost. Our laser spine surgery addresses herniated or bulging discs with a noninvasive treatment that is completely outpatient.
-Dr. Shahram Rezaiamiri | AllSpine Surgery Center
What protocols has your facility put in place to best serve your patients during this time?
During the ongoing pandemic, it’s critical that patients continue routine check-ups and visits and, of course, seek emergency care when a health concern arises. We do not want people to put off their healthcare needs because they are concerned about exposure to Covid-19. At Southern Regional Medical Center, we adhere to CDC guidelines with mandated temperature checks, face masks, and social distancing. Cleaning rotations have been added and additional hand-sanitizing units placed throughout patient areas. For scheduled procedures and surgeries, patients are pre-tested for Covid-19 to assure their safety and the safety of our staff. Additionally, we have limited, tightly monitored visitation that also follows CDC protocols.The safety and wellbeing of our patients, community, and staff is our top priority.
-Charlotte W. Dupré | Southern Regional Medical Center