Dr. Karim Sarhane is a general and laparoscopic surgeon who provides treatment for numerous conditions at the Burjeel Royal Hospital in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). Extensively published in the surgery field, Karim Sarhane, MD, co-authored a paper detailing the management of a rare burn condition, called “Phytophotodermatitis.” The paper discussed a 30-year-old woman who arrived at the ER following two days of painful blistering wounds over the upper surfaces of her hands. The patient’s hands had started peeling a day after she sliced limes for an outdoor party, with no other precipitating events recalled. The diagnosis was one of phytophotodermatitis, or a skin reaction related to the photosensitizing chemicals contained in fruits and saps. When the chemicals are smeared on the skin and exposed to the sun, one result can be acute redness and blistering. This is easy to mistake for atopic dermatitis, chemical burn, or type IV hypersensitivity reaction. Phytophotodermatitis treatments range from the application of a moist dressing (in mild cases) to burn unit admission and local wound care (in severe cases). Emergency treatments include topical application of a corticosteroid and cooling of the affected area. In the case described, a conservative management approach was undertaken, featuring a dry, sterile dressing and bacitracin taken daily, as well as hand exercises to avoid stiffness.
Medical treatments are evolving quickly, and nowadays, the new alternatives that offer hope to individuals suffering from various illnesses come in the form of clinical trials. Clinical trials investigate the advantages and dangers of new therapies, interventions, and medications. Clinical trials are scientific investigations assessing the efficacy and safety of potential new medical therapies or interventions before their widespread distribution. They involve healthy volunteers and people diagnosed with a disease or disorder for which the standard treatments may not be effective. Clinical trials are usually conducted in four phases, each building on the previous one. Phase 1 trials are the earliest stage of human testing that involve a small group of people who are healthy or who have the condition under study. During phase 1, the primary goal is to determine the safety of the new intervention and the correct dosage. Phase 2 of clinical trials involve a larger group of people with the condition under study. Studying and assessing the intervention’s efficacy is the main focus of this phase. During Phase 3 trials, a larger group of people enrolled to participate in the study to test the new intervention’s effectiveness and safety. Phase 3 clinical trials are randomized, double-blind, and controlled. This means that people are assigned to different groups randomly to receive either the experimental intervention or a placebo treatment. Both the subjects nor the researchers are unaware of which group they are in. After the study, researchers compare both groups’ values. Following regulatory approval, researchers undertake phase 4 trials called post-marketing studies to make the treatment safe and effective. Patients may access innovative therapies and procedures not available to the general public by participating in a clinical study. Patients may also receive specialized medical care and attention from a team of healthcare professionals. However, there are risks to participating in clinical studies, such as getting sick or having unpleasant side effects. Additionally, patients assigned to receive the placebo may become frustrated due to seeing zero improvement in their condition. Placebos are essential to clinical trials because they show how well a new drug works compared to a placebo or standard care. In clinical trials, researchers ensure that their testing results accurately demonstrate a treatment’s safety and effectiveness. They often use a “randomized, placebo-controlled” clinical trial as the gold standard to achieve this. This trial randomly assigns volunteers to a test group that receives the experimental intervention or a control group that receives a placebo or routine care. A placebo is an inactive substance that looks like the drug or treatment being tried. Researchers can tell if improvements seen in the test group are the product of the intervention or simply coincidental by comparing the two data sets. In some trials (double-blind, placebo-controlled), the research team is unaware of which participants receive the treatment, the placebo, or another intervention. Several resources are available to participate in a clinical trial for a medical condition. ClinicalTrials.gov and the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Trials Support Unit can assist in identifying appropriate clinical trials. Additionally, consulting with a doctor or healthcare provider can provide information about ongoing clinical studies. Support groups and advocacy groups for patients may also know of ongoing clinical trials that could help treat your disease.
Basketball is a thrilling sport, but it’s also one that requires plenty of skill and technique. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, there’s always room for improvement in your basketball skills. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to enhance your game and take your skills to the next level. Basketball is a dynamic sport that requires players to possess various skills to succeed. There are five main types of basketball skills: dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, and defense. Dribbling involves controlling the ball with your hands while moving around the court. Passing is the act of transferring the ball to a teammate. Shooting requires good hand-eye coordination and accuracy to score points. Rebounding is the ability to grab the ball when it bounces off the rim or backboard. And the defense is the skill of preventing the opposing team from scoring. Ball control is one of the most critical aspects of basketball. To improve your ball-handling skills, start by practicing dribbling drills. You can use cones or other obstacles to simulate game situations and improve your ability to maneuver around defenders. Focus on keeping your eyes up and your head steady while dribbling, as this will help you maintain control of the ball while scanning the court for passing opportunities. Hand alignment is crucial for accurate shooting and passing. When shooting, spread your fingers apart; the ball rests on your fingers’ pads, not your palm. Use your fingertips to control the ball’s trajectory and spin when passing. Practicing at game speed is essential to improving your basketball skills. Instead of going through the motions, simulate game situations during practice. This means practicing at full speed, with defenders and other obstacles present. Practicing consistently is the most effective way to improve your basketball skills. Not only will regular training help build muscle memory and fine-tune your movements, but it will also help you gain confidence on the court. Try setting aside a specific time slot each day or week for practice, and focus on specific areas you want to improve, such as ball handling or shooting accuracy. Watching professional basketball games or highlight reels can be a great way to learn new techniques and gain inspiration for your game. Pay attention to the moves and strategies of your favorite players, and try to incorporate them into your routine. Additionally, watching yourself play on video can help identify areas to improve and give you a new perspective on your game. Similarly, improve your footwork and reaction time if you have difficulty with defense. A key component of basketball is the physical demands placed on players. Improving your stamina, strength, and agility can significantly impact your overall performance on the court. Incorporating proper conditioning exercises, such as agility drills, weight training, and cardiovascular training, into your routine can help increase your endurance and reaction time while reducing the risk of injury. Mental toughness can help you stay focused and confident, even in high-pressure situations. Building mental resilience includes meditation, visualization, positive self-talk, and developing routines to prepare for games and practices. Finally, don’t be afraid to seek feedback and coaching from others. Whether it’s a more experienced teammate, a coach, or a specialized training program, receiving guidance and constructive criticism can help you identify areas where you need to improve and set goals.
Thyroid cancer is a condition where malignancy grows in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that sits at the base of the trachea (windpipe) and has a right and left lobe. A thin body of tissue called the isthmus connects these lobes. Malignancy is a condition where cell division occurs abnormally and may invade and infect nearby cells. The thyroid gland uses iodine to synthesize several essential hormones, including triiodothyronine, tetraiodothyronine, and calcitonin. These hormones control and regulate various physiological functions such as body weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Within the thyroid gland, there may be nodules. A doctor may discover these abnormally grown thyroid gland cells during a patient’s check-up. These nodules may be solid or filled with liquid. Over 90 percent of these nodules are benign, while 10 percent are malignant. Initially, thyroid cancer may not exhibit symptoms. However, as the malignant cells invade more nearby cells, signs and symptoms will eventually appear. The most common of these include neck swelling, difficulty swallowing food and breathing, and voice changes. As a result, healthcare professionals recommend regular check-ups due to the silent nature of the condition’s onset. About 53,000 Americans get thyroid cancer treatment yearly. While most treatments are successful, around 2,000 patients die annually due to the disease. Women are at three times the risk of getting thyroid cancer than men. For women, most cases involve those between 40 and 50 years old, while in men, most of those affected are from 60 to 70 years old. The condition may also affect children, but only in rare cases. The condition’s risk factors include a diet low in iodine, gene mutations, a family history of the disease, an enlarged thyroid (also known as goiter), and obesity. Other risk factors are radiation therapy in the head and neck, especially for children, and exposure to radioactivity, such as that experienced during a nuclear power plant accident. There are different types of thyroid cancer, including anaplastic, follicular, medullary, and papillary. Accounting for about 2 percent of all thyroid cancer types, anaplastic thyroid cancer, though rare, is the hardest to treat. The malignant cells grow quickly and may spread to surrounding tissues and other parts of the body. Medullary thyroid cancer also accounts for around 2 percent of all cases. It is caused by a genetic mutation leading to a faulty gene. As a result, this condition is primarily hereditary, with a quarter of those infected having a family history of the disease. Similar to anaplastic thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer is metastatic. This is a condition where the cancer cells spread from the original tumor and enter the lymphatic system or bloodstream, infecting other body parts. Follicular thyroid cancer is also hard to treat, since it may spread to the bones and organs such as the lungs. It accounts for about 15 percent of all cases. Diagnosis for thyroid cancer may be through blood tests, biopsy, radioiodine scans, and imaging scans. Blood tests check whether the thyroid is functioning properly and hormone levels. A biopsy involves removing the suspect tissue and observing it in a laboratory for cancer cells. Radioiodine scans involve a patient swallowing a safe amount of radioactive iodine and using a special device to measure radioactivity in the thyroid gland. The areas that emit less radioactivity require more testing to ascertain if there is cancer. Last, imaging diagnosis techniques, including computed tomography (CT) scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans, can be used to detect cancerous growths. Treatment depends on the tumor’s size and if it has spread. Common treatment methods include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, radioiodine therapy, and surgery. Chemotherapy involves administering drugs to the patient that kill the cancerous cells. Hormone therapy stops the release of hormones that spread cancer or may cause it to recur. With radiation therapy, a machine emits targeted radiation that only kills the cancerous cells, while in radioiodine therapy, the patient takes a higher dose of radioactive iodine than that used in radioiodine scans to shrink and destroy the cancerous cells. Last, surgery involves physically removing the tumor. The surgeon may perform lobectomy, where they remove part of the thyroid gland, or thyroidectomy, where they remove all of the thyroid gland.
Windsurfing, also known as boardsailing, is a water sport combining surfing and sailing using a craft called a sailboard to travel over water and glide over waves. The sailboard has a sail rig and a long board with fins attached to help steer it. The sail rig harnesses wind power to move the sailboard and rider. While the sailboard usually measures from six to nine feet in length, the sail rig will vary in size depending on the the windsurfer’s preferences and skills. The sport is done both recreationally and competitively. It dates back to the 1950s when Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer thought of how they could combine their individual sports (surfing and sailing, respectively) into one, leading them to make several sailboard prototypes. They patented their first sailboard in 1968, and by the 1970s, Schweitzer was mass-producing them. It soon quickly spread in popularity in North America. By the late 1970s, it had spread to Europe and became as popular as in North America. In fact, today Europe is one of the leading regions in sailboard manufacturing. As a competitive sport, windsurfers compete in slalom races, regattas, and wave sailing events. In a slalom race, the windsurfer follows a winding course and must pass between pole pairs with flags. Regattas feature sailing, speedboat, and rowing races of various types. Wave sailing is a sport where the surfer rides into waves using special gear. A windsurfer may do the sport on various water bodies and conditions, including oceans, lakes, estuaries, harbors, and large rivers. Initially, windsurfers could only surf close to the shore at slow speeds. However, sailboards have advanced in design and functionality such that windsurfers can now go into deep waters. In fact, experienced windsurfers have successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean, often reaching speeds of 40 knots using specialized sailboards. Wherever the windsurfer chooses to surf, there must be sufficient wind to drive the sailboard across the water. Importantly, the windsurfer must also follow the rules and regulations set for varying water surfaces, since some areas may be suitable for surfing but may be reserved for other activities such as swimming. Also, the individual will need to choose the right sailboard for the chosen body of water. For instance, due to stronger winds on oceans and lakes, the recommended sailboards have sturdier and heavier sails compared to those used in rivers and estuaries where the wind is not as strong. Specialized sailboards such as those used by experienced windsurfers may not be a good choice for beginners. This is because they are difficult to control due to their specific design features. There are also different windsurfing objectives. Freeriding is done mostly for recreation and is when an individual surfs just to enjoy the ride. Other objectives are often for competition. An example is focusing on speed to win a race, or maneuverability for slalom races. Another is where windsurfers ride waves, perform acrobatic skills, and perform other creative acts to display their skills. Judges award them points based on trick mastery and finesse. Windsurfing rules and regulations help avoid accidents on water. Among them, a windsurfer must maintain a three-mast distance from other surfers and swimmers. They should also never head to the waters when there are excessively strong winds or thunderstorms, and a windsurfer sailing downwind has the right of way over a surfer moving upwind. In addition, a windsurfer sailing perpendicular to the shore has the right of way over a surfer traveling parallel to the shore. Moreover, the surfer must keep the boom, the equipment that gives the sail structural support and that the individual grips onto to steer the sailboard, at shoulder height. When combined with bending the knees rather than the waist, they can then properly control the sailboard.
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) aims to improve surgical care globally. Its Operation Giving Back (OGB) initiative allows surgeons to volunteer their time in places where their skills are needed. In 2023, the ACS OGB program announced volunteer opportunities, including launching a fellowship allowing surgeons to travel to Hawassa University in Ethiopia. In August 2022, the OCG program, the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Authority, the University of Utah School of Medicine, and Hawassa University College of Medicine and Health Sciences established the Academic Global Surgery Fellowship Program. This fellowship opportunity builds on an earlier effort launched by the OCG program and Hawassa University College of Medicine. The joint effort between the OCG and the Hawassa College of Medicine program began in 2018 in the College of Surgeons East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) region. This program has focused on improving surgical and clinical services, quality improvement programs, and research at Hawassa University Hospital in Ethiopia, a country with a population of over 18 million people. The Academic Global Surgery Fellowship Program will facilitate multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary partnerships focusing on research, education, and surgical training. University of Utah or Virginia Commonwealth University students were selected for the fellowship opportunity. These fellows received an appointment for one year, where they will be involved with research, conducting educational and quality improvement programs, sharing data and results with the medical community, generating academic research, and gaining from mentoring opportunities at Hawassa University Hospital. The fellowship fosters a lasting relationship between the US and Ethiopia programs. Fellows will travel to Ethiopia during the appointment period for three to six months and can participate in advocacy programs if they wish. All this work culminates in the fellow presenting their research at conferences and their conclusions in the end-of-year report. Dr. Girma Tefera, director of ACS OGB, stated that this fellowship is an opportunity for medical professionals entering surgical fields to participate in research and quality research at the Hawassa University Hospital. It also presents opportunities to close healthcare gaps and to give Africans access to quality surgical care. The launch of the fellowship program in 2022 was one of many works the OGB program was involved in Africa. In April 2023, the OGB program partnered with COSECSA to volunteer to oversee COSECSA fellowship oral exams, equivalent to the American Board of Surgery oral exam for certification. Medical residents can take the oral exams after completing at least five years of postgraduate training (six years for neurosurgery), meeting all COSECSA course requirements, and passing the COSECSA written exam. Upon completing all these requirements, graduates receive the Fellowship of College of Surgeons designation, recognized in all COSECSA member countries numbering 14. This joint effort is part of an overall initiative between ACS and COSECSA to improve healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa. Outside of volunteering as examiners, the two organizations have joined efforts to spearhead the ACS-COSECSA Surgical Training Collaborative, one of its most extensive efforts. This ACS partnership is a part of the OGB initiative, which involved gathering ACS resources and that of multiple US hospital departments of surgery to increase the number of surgical trainees that train in Africa. The team established the first training site in Hawassa University Hospital in 2018. Since then, the collaboration has launched a second training hub at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, in 2020.
Surgeons utilize two distinct methods for diverse surgical interventions: laparoscopic and open surgery. It is important for preoperative patients to understand these treatment alternatives, including the surgical processes, benefits and drawbacks, and ensuing discomfort after operation. While clinicians are the ideal experts to determine the preferred surgical approach, patients’ comprehension of the two techniques enables meaningful treatment decisions. Laparoscopic or keyhole surgery involves a small abdominal incision of less than one centimeter. Through this opening, a laparoscope (a slender instrument equipped with a high-resolution camera) is introduced to enable visualization of the body’s internal structures without the need for open surgery. Surgeons then use a magnified view on a video monitor to perform the procedure. Various surgeries can be performed laparoscopically, including abdominal procedures to treat Crohn’s disease or inflammation of the colon, rectal prolapse (where а part of the rectum sticks out), chronic constipation, and duodenal perforation (holes in the intestine). Other surgeries that can be performed laparoscopically include gallbladder procedures, gynecological surgeries, and hernia surgeries to repair weak tissues in the abdomen. Laparoscopic surgeries are characterized by their minimally invasive nature, resulting in decreased pain, blood loss, and surgical trauma. The approach also reduces postoperative complications, promotes faster wound healing, and minimizes the duration of hospital stays. Less exposure to internal organs also reduces risks for external contaminants. That being said, trocar or instrument insertion, a key process in laparoscopic surgery, may lead to abdominal wall hematoma or bleeding, as well as umbilical hernia characterized by bulging tissue around the navel region. In some cases, doctors may recommend against laparoscopic surgery due to factors such as prior surgery in the area or excessive weight, which can impede surgical access and visibility. Emergency open access may be necessary in cases of significant bleeding or infection. Additionally, individuals with certain cardiopulmonary conditions may be at a higher risk of negative reactions to compounds like carbon dioxide used during laparoscopic procedures. Open surgery may be a safer alternative in these scenarios. Open surgery, a time-honored approach to surgical procedures, involves using a scalpel to make а large incision up to 10 inches in length on the skin to reach the intended surgical area. This technique provides surgeons with access to sizeable organs and facilitates the performance of intricate procedures like heart surgery, organ transplantation, and the elimination of kidney stones. Compared to laparoscopic surgery, open surgery is good for treating conditions like large tumors, complex fractures, and spinal tumors or severe scoliosis, which minimally invasive approaches cannot address. Open surgery also affords surgeons a clearer view of the operative site, facilitating more efficient tissue and organ manipulation. That being said, due to the need for extensive incisions, this type of surgery mаy cause increased post-operative discomfort, complications, and prolonged healing periods. Medical costs depend on several variables, such as the type of procedure, the patient’s medical history, and the health care facility. Typically, laparoscopic surgery incurs а higher cost due to additional equipment expenses. However, the quick recuperation and shorter hospital stay associated with laparoscopic surgery can offset costs. In the same vein, open surgery may seem cheaper at first glance, but а prolonged hospital stay and greater likelihood of complications may ultimately increase expenses. Patients should carefully weigh various factors when choosing between laparoscopy and open surgery. Consulting a medical professional is crucial to understand the nuances of one’s unique medical situation, rather than simply relying on personal judgment or non-expert opinions. A skilled surgeon will evaluate each patient before making recommendations, empowering them to make well-informed decisions.
Surgical robots have transformed how surgeons deliver medical solutions. Robot-assisted surgery allows doctors to perform complex surgical procedures faster and with more precision and control than was previously possible with conventional surgical techniques. Today, many surgeons frequently use robot-assisted surgery for various medical procedures. Among others, robotic surgery is used by general surgeons, urologists, gynecologic surgeons, colorectal surgeons, and cardiothoracic surgeons. Also known as robotic surgery, robot-assisted surgery comes with numerous benefits for both the patient and the surgeon. Doctors, through robotic technology, make tiny incisions that allow complex surgical procedures. Surgical robots are computer-controlled, self-powered devices programmed to aid surgeons in the positioning and manipulation of surgical instruments. During the procedure, three to four tiny robotic arms are inserted through a small incision on the patient’s body. One robotic arm holds a small camera while two arms assume the role of a surgeon’s hands. A fourth arm may help move tissue out of the way. Through a small console, the physician controls the robotic arms with a standby surgical team nearby for any needed assistance during the procedure. Because the robot’s “hands” are very dexterous, surgeons can operate in very tight body spaces that they would normally find very challenging to access through open surgery. The robotic arm’s reach is also greater than that of a human hand. In addition, robotic arms can rotate and maneuver the small surgical instruments in tight spaces in ways human hands cannot. A sophisticated high-definition camera provides enlarged 3D views of the surgical area that a human eye couldn’t possibly generate. Robot-assisted surgery is a great option when the surgeon needs to access hard to reach parts of the body. The tiny surgical instruments help avoid the necessity of the large incisions made when using conventional surgical tools. Since robotic surgery involves the use of smaller instruments, it becomes much easier to navigate around healthy tissue or organs. This reduces the potential impact the surgery can have on the patient’s body, as less tissue is touched or damaged. It also contributes to less pain and a more comfortable recovery journey. Robotic surgery is considered minimally invasive, and compared to conventional surgery tends to have a shorter recovery period. However, because people are very different, the healing times will of course vary for the same procedure. Also, patients can save on the cost of hospital stays, since most robot-assisted surgeries can be performed on an outpatient basis, which also saves time. Because of the greater precision and smaller incisions, the chances of surgical site infection are also reduced. Smaller incisions may also mean less bleeding and swelling after surgery. This can translate to requiring less pain-relieving medication that is typically associated with conventional surgery. Compared to conventional surgery, incidences of a patient requiring a blood transfusion or experiencing major complications after robot-assisted surgery are generally much fewer. However, it’s important to point out that robot-assisted surgery may not be an option for every procedure or patient. The suitability of the procedure will depend on the particular medical case. Therefore, patients should talk with their healthcare providers about the benefits, risks, and how robot-assisted surgery compares with conventional open surgery and other minimally invasive surgery options.
Laparoscopic surgery is a revolutionary surgical technique that utilizes innovative methods to deliver improved surgical outcomes. Through the insertion of short, narrow tubes known as trochars into the abdomen via small incisions, this procedure paves the way for transformative medical possibilities. Surgeons skillfully employ long and narrow instruments within these trochars to manipulate, cut, and suture tissue, granting them great precision. In stark contrast to traditional open abdominal surgery, which necessitates substantial incisions ranging from 6 to 12 inches, laparoscopic surgery embraces a more precise approach. With a mere two to four small incisions measuring half an inch or less, the benefits can be substantial. This technique allows for enhanced visualization and optimal surgical maneuvers. These incisions serve distinct purposes: one acts as an entry point for a camera, while the others accommodate the surgical instruments. A vast array of common surgeries can now be accomplished through laparoscopy, heralding a new era of medical advancement. The procedure entails using a laparoscope, a slender tube equipped with high-intensity light, and a high-resolution camera at its forefront, granting doctors a clear view of the abdominal organs. Guided by these live images projected onto a video monitor, physicians gain invaluable information without resorting to extensive incisions. Moreover, they can extract biopsy samples and perform surgical interventions, all during the same procedure. Eligibility for laparoscopic surgery hinges upon the complexity of an individual’s condition. This technique is rapidly emerging as the preferred choice for an expanding range of common operations, driven by its cost-effective nature and improved patient outcomes. Doctors now recommend laparoscopy to examine various organs, including the liver, appendix, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, small and large intestines, and reproductive organs. Exceptional advantages associated with laparoscopic surgery include reduced bleeding, accelerated healing, and diminished pain and scarring. Unlike standard open surgery, recovery time after laparoscopic surgery can be remarkably reduced from several weeks to a few days. A vital aspect contributing to these favorable outcomes is the minimal manipulation of abdominal contents during laparoscopic procedures. Before undergoing most laparoscopic surgeries, patients typically receive general anesthesia. Adequate preparation is vital, and doctors typically advise patients to abstain from eating or drinking for approximately eight hours before the procedure to minimize the risk of anesthesia-induced nausea. In addition, it’s essential to arrange for a reliable means of transportation home considering the potential disorientation resulting from the anesthesia’s effects. Specific instructions regarding medications may also be provided by the attending physician. While laparoscopy generally carries a low-risk profile, it is important to remain vigilant for any potential complications. Although rare, instances of bleeding, infection, or organ damage may occur. If symptoms such as fevers or chills, escalating abdominal pain, redness or discoloration, bleeding, and shortness of breath persist, consult the doctor. Other signs that might warrant a doctor’s attention include swelling, bleeding, continuous nausea or vomiting, inability to urinate, or lightheadedness. There is a minor threat of organ injury during a laparoscopy, which might result in the leakage of blood or other fluids into the body if an organ is accidentally pierced. In such circumstances, additional surgical intervention is required to repair the damage and restore function. Less prevalent risks of laparoscopic surgery include issues from general anesthesia, inflammation of the abdominal wall, and the formation of blood clots that could spread to the pelvis, legs, or lungs. While these dangers are rare, it is critical to be aware of them and get proper medical assistance if any of these symptoms occur.
Weight loss helps address health issues like the risk of congenital conditions and can boost self-esteem due to body contouring. The loss, however, can result in loose and sagging skin that does not respond to exercise, and may require removal through surgery to enhance the contouring further. Two primary surgical options exist – panniculectomy and tummy tuck. The choice between the two may be confusing. Though the end goal remains the same, there are differences in the process, candidates, cost, and risks. A panniculectomy involves removing the panniculus, the excess loose skin that forms a flap below the waistline and over the thighs. The panniculus does not emanate from pregnancy, excess weight, or regular weight loss. It emanates from losing excess body weight, typically over 100 pounds, mostly from extensive weight loss procedures like gastric bypass. The extent of a panniculectomy, considered a medical procedure, depends on how much skin is removed. A tummy tuck, on the other hand, is considered a cosmetic procedure that involves removing excess stomach skin and tightening the abdominal muscles. Sometimes surgeons add an abdominal mesh to reinforce muscle repair. This woven mesh surgically temporarily or permanently supports organs after surgery or damaged tissue during healing. The second difference between a panniculectomy and a tummy tuck is eligibility. The former is best for patients with life-impacting sagging skin, which follows heavy weight loss, especially gastric bypass. Other candidates include individuals experiencing hygiene issues under the skin such as ulcers and infections, especially below the pubic region. The excess skin flap can also affect the individual’s mobility. On the other hand, a tummy tuck addresses sagging skin that does not affect the individual’s health and is mainly for cosmetic purposes, especially contouring the body for a more hourglass shape. Other good fits include individuals with sagging skin following a pregnancy who cannot get rid of the excess skin despite exercise and diet changes. In conjunction with liposuction, a tummy tuck can help resolve body-related self-esteem issues and those seeking to get rid of more skin after a panniculectomy. The third difference is the recovery time after each procedure. Recovery from any mild to major surgery involves surgical drains, skin glue, steri-strips, and the dressing. The surgeon provides instructions on how to care for each over the recovery period. A panniculectomy typically takes eight weeks to heal. However, the time may vary depending on the surgery’s extent and the patient’s attendance to the wound after the surgery, especially daily tasks and nutrition. Even weeks after the healing has taken place, however, the patient should refrain from strenuous activities like heavy lifting. Tummy tucks take less time to recover from due to less surgery complexity – usually four to six weeks. With proper care, especially hygiene of the surgical area, the patient should resume regular activity, including strenuous tasks, in the first few weeks following the procedure. Due to the extent of the surgery, panniculectomies are more costly than tummy tucks. A procedure typically costs between $8,000 and $15,000, plus additional fees like anesthesia, compared to an average of $6,000 for a tummy tuck. However, as a medical procedure, insurance companies may cover part or all of a panniculectomy. There is also the cost of taking time off work, especially for self-employed individuals – patients should set aside a minimum of eight weeks for recovery, compared to four to six weeks for a tummy tuck. Finally, the risks and side effects differ. Although both procedures cause discomfort and pain, the side effects tend to be more severe for panniculectomy. These can include pain post-surgery, fluid retention, and numbness. Other effects, though rare, include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and infections. Conversely, tummy tuck patients may experience bruising, numbness, deep vein thrombosis, and bleeding around the surgical area.