Atlanta doctors from a range of specialties share how best to take care of yourself and maintain your health—both physically and mentally.
Q: What is a living-donor liver transplant and how does it work?
A: Emory Healthcare’s Liver Transplant Program has performed more than 2,700 liver transplants, making it a leading national program. This is in part because of Emory’s expert physicians and care teams who utilize cutting-edge clinical treatments for liver failure patients. Living-donor liver transplantation is just one of those therapies.
This innovative procedure involves removing a portion of liver from a healthy living donor and transplanting it into a recipient. The liver has the unique ability to regenerate—meaning it can regrow after a segment is surgically removed. The partial livers in both the donor and recipient will ultimately grow to near full size and have the same functional ability as a whole organ. Both the donor and recipient must undergo a thorough health evaluation and a range of compatibility tests before transplant is performed.
Nationally, there are more than 14,000 people on the waitlist for a liver transplant with only about 5,000 deceased-donor livers available for transplant. Having the ability to perform living-donor liver transplants allows those on the waitlist a lifesaving intervention before their condition worsens.
From Joseph F. Magliocca, MD, Surgical Director, Liver Transplantation Emory Liver Transplant Program
Q: Why is it important for men to get screened for prostate cancer? What can men expect in the diagnosis and treatment process?
A: There is increasing evidence that screening for prostate cancer with the PSA blood testis effective at saving men’s lives by detecting the cancer at an earlier, curable stage. Since PSA screening became widespread in the 1990s, prostate cancer death rates have been cut in half, and most of that decline appears to be due to early detection.
The unfortunate challenge with prostate cancer is that when it is at a curable stage—prior to spreading—it is most typical to have no symptoms at all. So, we rely on PSA quite a bit to find the cancers at an early stage. If the PSA level is high, this should lead to a visit with a urologist who will evaluate your risk of significant prostate cancer based upon your history and physical exam. In most cases, a specialized prostate MRI scan is the next step if your urologist is concerned that cancer may be present. It can help to determine if a biopsy is necessary.
From Justin Watson, MD, Wellstar Urologist
Q: What advice would you give your patients regarding their mental health needs during this difficult time?
A: We have had a lot of patients this year tell us hair restoration surgery is something they have been considering for a long time, and they’ve decided after this year they do not want to wait anymore. They do not want to continue to miss out on life and special events with friends and family because they are uncomfortable or self-conscious about their hair loss. We encourage people who are concerned with their hair loss to schedule a complimentary consultation and get information about your treatment options. Patients constantly tell us their only regret was waiting as long as they did to do something about their hair loss. If we have learned anything this year it’s that life is filled with unexpected curveballs, so if improving the appearance of your hair would make you happier and more confident, don’t wait another day to start restoring your hair.
From Ken Anderson, MD, FISHRS & Daniel Lee, MD, FACS of Anderson Center for Hair
Q: How can parents support their children during this difficult time?
A: Parents can validate their child’s emotions. It is important to tell kids that feelinganxious right now is normal and that they can handle their feelings with help. Parents can help kids regulate their emotions by incorporating family rituals like having kids do a silly dance at the beginning or end of the school day or encourage kids to mindfully listen to music, color, or breathe deeply. Creating family rituals and routines is a good way to help ground kids. That could include listing gratitudes in the morning, creating secret handshakes, and eating meals together. The consistency gives kids something they can count on and helps increase cohesion as a family. I would also encourage time outside since kids are increasingly connected to screens for both learning and leisure/socialization. Spending time in nature relieves tension and stress. Anything that gets kids moving is great, but physical activity outside can also be an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. Practicing mindfulness helps to interrupt the flow of constant worries.
From Taryn Abrams, MD of Rogers Behavioral Health
Q: With so many individuals working from home these days, what are some important considerations to make regarding at-home workspaces?
A: As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in upper extremity conditions, I find it important to maintain proper workspace ergonomics, especially in today’s work-from-home world. Ergonomics is the creation of a workspace that properly fits an individual so that their position and posture are optimal to prevent pain and injuries.
For example, the proper monitor and chair height can relieve stress on the shoulders, neck, wrists, and back. I treat a lot of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. When caused by overuse, it can be managed with improving wrist positioning through the use of a mouse pad that includes a wrist support or a gel wrist support for typing. These are simple changes to improve one’s overall wellbeing during these stressful times.
From Obinwanne Ugwonali, MD of Peachtree Orthopedics
Q: What causes some people’s teeth to whiten well and other’s not so much?
A: Here are some factors that determine how teeth will respond:
- The beginning color of the enamel: Darker teeth often show a more noticeable difference.
- The thickness of enamel: Only enamel changes color. Thicker enamel has a better chance of whitening.
- Previous dentistry does not whiten—only teeth do. If you have bonding, veneers, or crowns they will not change color.
Even if you are not a good candidate for whitening there are still options for you to achieve a bright white smile. Sometimes whitening is combined with other approaches to achieve your ideal smile. At Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we work with you to design the smile you are looking for by providing a customized treatment plan to meet your goals.
From Debra Gray King, DDS, FAACD of Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry