Do You Have Blood in Your Stools?

Blood in stools can give you a good scare. The good news is that it is not always indicative of a serious health problem. Still, it is important to see your doctor so that diagnostic tests can determine if the blood is a symptom of a potentially serious health concern.

The simplest explanation for blood in your stools is bleeding somewhere in the digestive tract. Your doctor or gastroenterologist can help determine where the bleeding originates.

Keep in mind that not all blood in stools is visible to the naked eye. Whereas some people can see blood after wiping on their toilet paper, others can only be detected by a test that finds hidden blood in stools. Sometimes, bleeding occurs high enough up in the digestive tract that stools appear black and tarry. If you notice any of these symptoms, please notify your doctor.

Possible Health Problems Linked to Blood in Stools

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal fissures
  • Cancer
  • Colitis
  • Intestinal problems
  • Polyps
  • Ulcers

There are several tests your doctor may recommend to diagnose bloody stools including:

  • EGD
  • Colonoscopy
  • Capsule Endoscopy

For an EGD, your doctor inserts a flexible tube with a small camera attached to the end through the mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach. This can also be used to collect small tissue samples for a biopsy.

A colonoscopy is very similar to an EGD only in reverse. This time the tube is inserted through the anus and it allows the doctor to see the entire large intestine (colon). Tissue samples can also be collected to biopsy.

A capsule endoscopy is a procedure which entails swallowing a pill-sized capsule with a tiny camera. Images are sent via blue tooth to a belt worn by the patient as the capsule passes through the digestive tract. The purpose of this test is to visualize the small intestine / small bowel.

With all of these diagnostic tools, your doctor should be able to diagnose if any serious problems are causing blood in your stools. Just know that it is very important to see a doctor as soon as possible so that you can catch problems earlier — when they are more treatable – than later.

If you notice blood in your stools, contact the Department of Gastroenterology at La Peer Health Systems in Beverly Hills at (855) 360-9119.

Baseball Players and Shoulder Injuries

Should pain is a common problem for baseball players. The throwing motion used in baseball is unnatural and causes great strain on throwing shoulders. Softball’s windmill motion, conversely, is a much more natural throwing motion, causing far less strain and allowing players to pitch far more often.

Our Beverly Hills orthopedic surgeons see a lot of patients with shoulder injuries. The Southern California climate allows for baseball to be played year-round, putting thousands of shoulders at risk for injury 12 months of the year — as opposed to just half the year in other more temperate areas of the country.

How Do Shoulder Injuries Occur?

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint where the collar bone (clavicle), upper arm bone (humerus) and shoulder blade (scapula). The joint is stabilized by soft tissue, which includes static stabilizers like the shoulder capsule ligaments and labrum cartilage as well as dynamic stabilizers such as the rotator cuff muscles. These stabilizing elements work together to allow for a throwing motion. When some of these stabilizers are too loose or too tight, the balance is thrown off and tears can occur in the soft tissue.

The act of throwing a baseball is broken down into 5 parts:

  • 1. Wind up
  • 2. Cocking
  • 3. Acceleration
  • 4. Deceleration
  • 5. Follow-through

The shoulder ball (humeral head) fits loosely in the socket (glenoid), giving us all unrestricted movement in our shoulder joints. This does not come without a few drawbacks. While baseball players can bring their arms back as far as they want during the cocking stage and throw with great acceleration, this is all predicated on shoulder stability being maintained by a group of relatively weak soft tissue structures. As such, these ligaments and muscles are under tremendous stress during the act of throwing a baseball. Since pitchers throw with high or max velocity often in excess of 100 repetitions (pitches) during a game, this stress leads to a lot of shoulder injuries in the sport of baseball.

The most common types of serious shoulder injuries are as follows:

  • Torn rotator cuff
  • Torn labrum
  • Broken growth plates in the humerus for young players who are still growing

Common symptoms of a shoulder injury are a decrease in velocity, pain while throwing or after throwing, and the sensation of a shoulder that feels loose like it is coming out of the socket.

Ways You Can Avoid Shoulder Injuries in Pitchers

Since shoulder injuries are often caused by high stress for a high number of repetitions, the simplest solution is to decrease both of those factors. The first way to limit the chances of a shoulder injury is to avoid reaching a high pitch count. The second is to limit the throwing of curveballs and/or sliders because both pitches require additional strain. Both of these are especially important for young players with still-developing arms.

Even with these limitations, shoulder injuries can and will still occur. The best way to limit injuries to strains before they become full-blow tears or breaks is to keep an eye out for the symptoms. Baseball coaches of all levels need to be aware of the warning signs, which include (but are not limited to):

  • Velocity decrease
  • Loss of stamina
  • Poor throwing mechanics
  • Shoulder pain

If any of these symptoms occur, the best thing you can do is shut the pitcher down for a few weeks until the symptoms go away. If symptoms continue to persist, an orthopedist might recommend surgery as an option. The recovery time for shoulder surgery is usually about three months, but pitchers have an eight month-to-a-year recovery timeframe until they will regain their full shoulder strength and pitch velocity.

If you or your child has been experiencing shoulder pain before, after or during throwing exercises, contact the La Peer Department of Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine today at (855) 360-9119 to schedule an examination.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Thyroid Surgery

One of the benefits of scheduling your surgery with the Department of Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat) at La Peer Health Systems in Beverly Hills is that you will be undergoing a state-of-the-art procedure performed by one of the country’s best surgeons. One of these procedures is minimally invasive thyroid surgery.

What Is the Thyroid?

Your thyroid controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls how sensitive the body is to other hormones. It is located in the neck below the thyroid cartilage. There are three common medical conditions associated with the thyroid that may require surgery:

  • Hyperthyroidism: overactive production of the thyroid hormone.
  • Hypothyroidism: underproduction of the thyroid hormone.
  • Thyroid nodules: lumps or nodules that develop on the thyroid and these can be either single lumps or multiple nodules as well as benign or malignant.

What Is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is a procedure that is less invasive than open surgery but used for the same purpose. A minimally invasive thyroidectomy (MIT) is considerably less traumatic than a regular thyroidectomy, and yet the benefits of the minimally invasive surgery are equal to traditional thyroid surgery. Less risk and equal reward makes MIT procedures ideal for our ear, nose and throat doctors to perform on patients.

Developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, minimally invasive procedures for thyroidectomy require merely a small incision. This minimizes pain and discomfort after surgery, improves cosmetic results and reduces the duration of hospital stays.

The benefits of MIT include:

  • Less pain and pain medications
  • Quick recovery
  • Minimally invasive
  • Small incision
  • Minimal blood loss
  • No drains used

If you think you have a thyroid condition, or if your endocrinologist has recommended you need thyroid surgery, please contact our Beverly Hills Otolaryngologists; at La Peer today at (855) 360-9119 or click here to learn more about our esteemed Head & Neck Surgery department.

Did You Know Our Doctors Perform Revision Nose Jobs?

Not every nose job procedure is successful. In fact, about 10 percent of people who have received the procedure will go back for a secondary or revision surgery. This makes revision nose jobs a very popular form of cosmetic surgery.

Nose jobs, medically referred to as rhinoplasty, are procedures that aesthetically or functionally change the nose. Most people undergo rhinoplasty to reduce a bump, reshape the tip of the nose, or reshape a broken nose.

Despite the procedures popularity, rhinoplasty is a difficult procedure. Sometimes patients are dissatisfied with how their nose looks after surgery or there could be complications such as difficulty breathing. This is where La Peer Health Systems sets itself apart from other cosmetic surgery options.

Our surgeons are specialized facial plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills that only perform surgery in the head and neck region. (Regular cosmetic surgeons perform surgery on different parts of the body and do not specialize in the head and neck exclusively.) Many cosmetic surgeons do not take into account how noses can vary between different ethnicities, but we do. Our surgeons have performed nose jobs on people of all races, and we pride ourselves on that ability.

Our surgeons possess knowledge of the anatomy and aesthetics of the nose and provide patients with a nose job that results in a natural look that is well-proportioned to the rest of the face. Obviously, you want your rhinoplasty done right the first time — and that is always the goal of our surgeons — yet if you are not satisfied with your original procedure, we are confident that we can perform your revision nose job with stellar results. Revision surgeries are also more complex than the original procedure, so why waste such an important procedure to anyone less than qualified?

To find out more information about a potential revision nose job, contact the Beverly Hills facial plastic surgeons at La Peer Health Systems today at (855) 360-9119.

Eye Injuries from Fireworks Caused by Shrapnel

The Fourth of July and fireworks go hand in hand. Unfortunately, many people suffer eye injuries while detonating fireworks during the festive holiday. More than 2,000 firework related eye injuries are reported each year, ranging from minor scratches to complete loss of sight. Many of these people make their way into the office of an eye doctor known as an ophthalmologist.

Some scientists believe that these eye injuries are caused by pressure waves from the explosions, while others claim it is exploding shrapnel that causes the eyes to rupture or bleed. However, according to a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), it is shrapnel and not pressure waves that are causing the rash of injuries.

“This, for the first time, scientifically proves that you have to have the impact from an object such as a bottle rocket to cause serious eye injuries,” said Stefan Duma, who led the new research. “If you remove the projectile, you dramatically reduce the risk.”

For the study, Duma’s team used human eyes from a cadaver eye bank in North Carolina. Instrumentation was placed in the eyes and detonated explosives that mimicked firecrackers at various distances from the eye. The results showed that blast damage to the eye was limited to merely surface scratches at the closest distance, which was about three inches away. High-speed cameras showed these scratches were caused by unspent gunpowder that shot into the eyeball after the blast.

Though imperfect, this study still gives us a better understanding of how these eye injuries occur.

If you have sustained an eye injury after detonating fireworks, please contact our Beverly Hills ophthalmologists at La Peer Health Systems at 855-360-9119.