Monday, October 25, 2010

Back Pain Relief Without Surgery or Narcotics

By using a structured approach, >97% of our patients last year were helped without the need for invasive surgery.

Although most people with pain get better, some don’t. For those with continued pain, Dr. Webb can offer real hope for targeted pain relief. Not only is Dr. Webb an expert pain , in pain management, he is also board certified in Radiology. This makes him uniquely qualified to both diagnose the cause of pain using imaging and treat that pain with the latest, clinically proven, minimally invasive techniques.

Dr. Webb is the only physician in Tulsa currently trained to perform the “MILD” procedure. This is a new, minimally invasive alternative to lumbar fusion surgery for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. Common symptoms that would benefit from this procedure are back and leg pain (including sciatica) that gets worse with standing or walking.

Whether your pain is from a bulging disc or a vertebral fracture, Dr. Webb is your best choice for expert imaging and pain management in Tulsa. Call for an appointment at(918) 260-9322.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Paid How Much?

It seems that when I talk to a patient with a fracture, I have to spend 5-10 minutes debunking myths and misinformation that they have received from their doctors. It seems that even in 2010, a lot of patients are being treated like it was 1980. "There's nothing we can do for you" or "It will heal on its own" are common things I hear, as well as lack of knowledge about procedures to fix these painful fractures.

Training at the University of Oklahoma, I frequently heard "Don't ask your barber if you need a haircut"--a colloquial way of saying 'Don't ask your surgeon if you need surgery'. When I do see patients who have been treated for their fractures, it's usually with metal hardware (usually costing well over $10,000) or an expensive 'kyphoplasty' kit.

There are many places where common sense could save a lot of money in healthcare. For example, you would never pay $3,000 for a procedure that could cost you $300--or would you?

When you're suffering from a painful vertebral compression fracture (VCF), cost is often the last thing on your mind. However, by choosing the wrong doctor, you could end up with a procedure that costs thousands more.

I specifically use devices to fix these painful VCFs which cost substantially less than other devices while delivering comparable results, particularly in pain reduction. One commonly used device typically used by other doctors costs about $5,500 to fix just fracture. If you were to have two fractures fixed, this generally costs $10,000 or more.

By contrast, the systems that I use typically cost about $1,200--and can treat 2, 3, sometimes even 4 fractures for that cost if needed.

I can remember a case when I first came to Tulsa. At a local hospital, a radiologist used equipment cost about $17,000. This was performed by a so-called expert in the field listed as a "Top Radiologist". However, the same procedure could have easily been performed for less than $1,500. That's would have resulted in savings of over 90% and knocked the patient's cost for the equipment from $3,400.00 to $300.00

These costs are passed on to the patients. I realize that a lot of doctor's don't consider the cost of a procedure. For example, a typical Medicare patient has a 20% copay. If you chose me over another provider, you could save up to $900 on the cost of a typical procedure.

If you happen to go to a doctor who doesn't consider your costs, you could pay up to $3,000 more for your procedure with typical copays. That's just money out the window, which is hard to justify in boom times, much less this economy.

Add to that, the fact that I fix hundreds of fractures each year where most docs only fix a few, and the choice is clear. When it comes to VCF, we offer Cadillac quality at Ford prices.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Pampers Causing Severe Diaper Rash

Today is a post about pain that I don't usually see. Apparently Proctor and Gamble has changed something about their diapers and it appears to be causing severe diaper rashes in babies. And I'm not talking about just a bad diaper rash. These newborns are experiencing a chemical burn that causes bleeding and oozing.

Unfortunately, I know this from experience. Our newborn was using the new Pampers (given to her at St. Francis) and experienced the exact same symptoms. We tried numerous things, including maternal diet modification, changing to formula, creams. Nothing helped until we switched to cloth diapers at our pediatrician's suggestion.

Now the rash has totally cleared up. We have since went back to using manufactured diapers (Huggies) without any problem.

If you've had a similar experience, please post. Also, here are some related links. So far, Proctor and Gamble has been denying this, saying that it is very rare.

Consumer Product Saftery Commission report - over 4,700 complaints

You can also joint this Facebook group which has over 11,000 affected members.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New alternative to back surgery.

The Vertos MILD procedure is a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. The procedure is done completely through a needle sheath and under x-ray guidance.

The company has released data from its ongoing FDA trial. So far, 67 percent of study participants had a successful outcome based on pain relief and improved function. In addition, to date, patients have shown clinically significant improved function from baseline per the study guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel on orthopedic and rehabilitation devices.

Study leaders have also noted that the data confirmed mild’s safety profile, with no dural tears, blood transfusions or other procedure or device-related complications having occurred.

Dr. Webb is the only physician in the Tulsa area trained to provide this minimally invasive alternative to invasive spine surgery.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Latest News - Prolia

We are now offering Prolia injections at our Tulsa office in continuing our tradition of bringing the latest, FDA approved treatment options to our patients with osteoporosis.

Prolia (denosumab) is the first drug approved by the FDA in an entirely new class of osteoporosis-fighting medications known as RANKL, or RANK ligand inhibitors. These medications work decrease bone loss in a way that is different from other osteoporosis medications (such as Fosamax, Boniva, etc.)

Our patients who have chosen Prolia so far have done so mostly because it is better tolerated than some oral medications such as Fosamax. In addition, convenience can play a role as Prolia is typically given every 6 months, rather than every day.

Compared to other injectable therapies done by intravenous (IV) infusion, Prolia can be injected in office under the skin, much like a flu shot. This typically takes about 15 minutes, including observation afterwards.

If you are interested in Prolia, or for more information, call our office at (918) 260-9322.

The newly approved drug, denosumab (Prolia), is an injectable medication derived from a synthetic antibody. It is approved by the FDA for treating postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and other patients who have failed or couldn't tolerate other medications.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Who Treats Osteoporosis?

Who do you see if you have a heart attack? A cardiologist. What if you have a brain tumor? A neurosurgeon. If you have osteoporosis? There is really no one right answer.

Osteoporosis is an unusual disease, in that no single medical specialist is considered the "go to" physician for treatment. If you find an osteoporosis specialist in your area, their medical specialty may vary: family practice, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, internists, nephrologists, orthopedic surgeons and radiologists. The reason for this is that osteoporosis is a complex chronic disease it has many underlying causes factors and manifestations.

Someone with uncomplicated located osteoporosis--that is, no fragility fractures--is often managed medically. Most commonly this is done by the patient's primary care physician such as a family physician, internists her OB/GYN.

If they have a hip fracture, then they will likely see an orthopedic surgeon. Or, they may see an interventional radiologist for a vertebral compression fracture. But often these physicians may not treat the underlying medical cause.

Other times, the patient have osteoporosis secondary to medications they are on or medical conditions they suffer from. For example,rheumatologists often see patients on chronic steroids for rheumatoid arthritis or other painful joint conditions. Likewise, nephrologists often see patients with chronic renal failure which is a cause of osteoporosis. In these situations, this particular physician see a large number patients with osteoporosis and therefore treat the disease.

There other physicians who take an interest in managing osteoporosis due to the large volume patients that they see with this condition. For example, in my community many OB/GYN and women's specialists as well as myself see patients with osteoporosis.

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