What Urology Procedures Are Performed in Our Naples Office?

I’m Rolando Rivera, I am board-certified in urology and female public medicine and reconstructive surgery with Advanced Urology Institute.

So the surgery center is designed for primary outpatient interventions that are fairly uncomplicated, so we do do a fair amount of things at the surgery center. We do our prostate procedures…Urolift, we do a fair amount of those. Simple reconstructive procedures [such as] public reconstructive surgeries, stone disease, those kinds of things [and] the more complex reconstructive surgeries that require specific equipment like I do robotic surgery for prolapse, that is a hospital procedure.

Spanish Speaking Urologists at Fort Myers, FL

Luis Camacho, PA of Fort Myers, FLMy name is Luis Camacho. I am with Advanced Urology Institute. Dr Harris and I serve patients who speak Spanish. Spanish is my mother tongue and we want patients to feel comfortable in their own language. Sometimes, there are communication issues and when we speak our main language, we communicate better. Patients feel more comfortable. Our goal is to reach a bigger Hispanic audience so we can offer them a proper service for any urological condition they might have. Regardless if there are prostate problems, erection problems, [or] kidney stones, there are a lot of treatments we can provide in this field.

Becoming a Urologist – Dr. Howard Epstein MD

To become a urologist, one must really be committed to both people and study! First, students have to be top high school students. Then they go to a college or university to study the subjects needed before attending a graduate-level medical school.

Medical School

After completing the required subject courses, students take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and complete medical school applications. Applicants then must pass face-to-face interviews with professors who are medical doctors and have just one question: “Would I want this person to be my doctor?”

Once admitted to medical school, the future urologist can look forward to a program that will last at least four years, including grueling residency requirements and more exams. Upon completing exams, the student is a doctor, but merely graduating from medical school does not make a urologist!

Urology Studies

Howard Epstein, MD of St Augustine, FLThere is yet another exam called the American Board of Urology (ABU) Qualifying Examination, Part 1. Then the future urologist must complete five more years of schooling and residency practice. During this time, the new doctor must learn general surgery, surgical critical care, trauma, colorectal surgery, transplantation and plastic/reconstructive surgery. Also during this time, at least four years of clinical urology training are required. After all of that has been completed, the doctor must pass the ABU Certifying Exam (Part II) to become an ABU certified urologist.

There are a few medical programs that can shorten this process of nine years of graduate school, but they are not accepted in every state.

Re-certification as a urologist must occur every ten years. To continue as a licensed medical doctor, one must do a certain amount of continuing education credits each year. The learning never ends.

Urologists must learn how to examine and treat a large number of different disorders. They work with all kinds of diseases and injuries related to the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, the adrenal glands, the related arteries and veins, the bladder and the urethra. Urology also includes the male reproductive system, which means urologists also treat issues concerning erectile dysfunction.

The urinary tract is one of the most important parts of the body. It regulates which chemicals, vitamins, minerals and gasses go to every part of the body. While the urinary tract does not regulate what goes into the body, it does regulate what comes out, at least as urine, and ensures that blood composition is just right.

Dr. Howard Epstein

Dr. Howard Epstein did not have a traditional course of undergraduate studies for medical school. His first university degrees were a dual-major in electrical engineering and business administration. From friends who were in medical school, he discovered that he was more interested in their work than in the fields for which he had degrees, so he went back to school.

Dr. Epstein has been practicing medicine since 1984. He is a board certified urologist with the American Board of Urology, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Urological Association. He is also with the Florida Urologic Association. Serving as the chief of urology at the Gainesville Veteran Administration Medical Center increased his awareness of the unique needs of American veterans. He currently practices medicine at the Advanced Urology Institute’s two offices in St Augustine, Florida at the Southpark and Tuscan locations. To contact Dr. Epstein or for more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

5 Reasons for Women to See a Urologist

A urologist isn’t just a doctor for men. There are many reasons why a woman would need to see a doctor who treats the urinary system. The urinary system is a collection of organs that involved the kidneys and bladder, as well as the organs involved in the reproductive process.

Here are five common reasons why a woman may need to see a urologist

1. Kidney Stones

When minerals in the urine combine, they can sometimes stick together and create kidney stones that get lodged in the urinary tract. These stones vary in size and create a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms are pain and difficulty urinating. Some women may also experience fever or chills.

Treatment for kidney stones varies depending on patient and stone type, but urologists have plenty of treatment options on hand. In some cases, drinking lots of water can flush the stones out. In other cases, high-intensity focused ultrasounds can break the stones into smaller, more easily passable pieces.

2. Urinary Tract Infection

Commonly referred to as UTI, this a common infection that many women will develop at some point in their lives. It occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause pain and burning during urination. UTI’s can become serious, so treatment with antibiotics is important.

3. Bladder/Pelvic Prolapse

This painful condition occurs when the bladder begins to drop down into the vagina. There are a few reasons why this may happen. Some women develop this condition after childbirth, but for others it occurs as a part of the aging process. Correcting this problem usually requires surgery performed by a urologist.

4. Bladder Control Problems

Bladder control problems are twice as common for women, and the medical term for these problems is Urinary Incontinence. Urinary incontinence takes many forms. Some women experience dripping when they sneeze, cough or laugh. Some women have an overactive bladder that creates a sudden and urgent need to use the bathroom. No matter what form it takes, women can work with a urologist to find the best treatment, or combination of treatments, to help with their incontinence.

5. Cancer

There are certain cancers for which a woman would be treated by a urologist. These include cancers of the bladder, kidneys or urethra. Lower back pain, pain during urination, and blood in the urine can be signs of one or more of these cancers. Treatment varies depending on the type of cancer, how aggressive it is, and the overall health of the patient.

Women in Florida who need a urologist for treatment of one or more of these problems have many options. The Advance Urology Institute is a team of highly skilled medical professionals who practice at locations throughout the state and with a commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for their male and female patients. For more information about women’s urological issues, visit the Advance Urology Institute website.

Why Would You Need to See a Urologist

The urinary system is your body’s way of getting rid of urine. If there is something wrong with your urinary system, you may need to see a urologist. A urologist is a doctor trained and certified in treating issues with the many components of the male and female urinary systems and male reproductive organs.

Urologists treat a wide range of urological issues, including problems with the bladder, kidneys or urethra. If you are a man experiencing issues with your reproductive organs—penis, testes, scrotum, and prostate—it is a urologist you will need to see. And for women, issues with the bladder and pelvis are reasons to visit this kind of specialist.

Common bladder problems that send patients to the urologist are kidney blockages, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections (UTIs.) Treatment for these issues vary from patient to patient. For instance, some patients might be able to pass a kidney stone by drinking water and moving around to dislodge it, while others may need a more advanced treatment like a high frequency ultrasound, which is an ultrasound focused on the stone to break it down into smaller, easily passable pieces, similar to sand.

For men’s reproductive health, urologists can treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED). In most cases, this condition is easily treated with oral medication, though in some patients injection therapy may be necessary. Prostate cancer, the most common cancer that affects men, is another reason that men seek out a urologist for treatment. Again, for this issue, treatment varies by diagnosis. While some men’s prostate cancer can be monitored and treated with active surveillance, others may need surgery or chemotherapy depending on the aggressiveness of the cancer.

Women are more likely to see a urologist for bladder problems, often for changes in urination after pregnancy. Pelvic organ prolapse is another potential medical issue for women. Usually caused by age, this is when either the uterus or bladder begins to drop and press into the vagina. A urologist can treat this condition to relieve the discomfort and pain it causes.

Residents of Florida have access to a leading center for the medical specialization of urology with locations throughout the state. The Advanced Urology Institute is an exceptional team of medical professionals who treat their patients’ urological issues with compassion and a commitment to the highest quality care. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Fort Myers Office: Working Together For You

Collaboration between medical staff and patients is one of the most important aspects of medical care. Achieving successful outcomes happens when everyone involved works together. Medical offices that create spaces for this to happen are laying the groundwork for the best treatment possible. In describing the medical office he works in, Luis Camacho PA says, “Patients feel they are in a good atmosphere, where they can be treated respectfully.” A place like this is where patients and staff can work together.

Urology offices, like other medical offices, benefit from this collaboration. Each patient has unique needs based on their ailment, medical history, age, and many other factors. In a comfortable atmosphere, patients who feel at ease describing their medical issues can give urologist a clearer picture of their patients’ unique situations and the best approach to treatment. Whether the patient is suffering from problems with their prostate, kidneys, urinary track, erectile dysfunction, or any other issue, working together helps lead to a better outcome.

Luis Camacho PA of Fort Myers, FLFor instance, many men suffer from the negative side effects of an enlarging prostate as they age, and yet the best treatment for this is not the same for every patient. For some, diet and lifestyle adjustments may be all they need to treat their side effects, while some may need medication as well. For men with a more serious issue, their urologist may want to perform a transurethral resection of the prostate. For this procedure, a small device is used to trim away excess tissue from the prostate to shrink its size. There are other options, but what is important is tracking progress with your urologist.

Another common issue that patients and urologists work together on is treating kidney stones. Treatment will be determined by the size of the kidney stones, patient’s health, and pain level. If possible, the urologist may recommend non-invasive options like shock wave lithotripsy where water waves are directed at the stone, breaking it up into small pieces like sand that are easier to pass. For larger, more stubborn stones, the urologist may have to use an invasive option. An example of this would be making a small incision in the patient and inserting a scope to break up the stones.

No matter the issue that brings a patient into a urologist’s office, collaboration between patient and doctor is essential. A comfortable atmosphere, free of judgment, language barriers, or miscommunication is the best start to treatment. The Advance Urology Institute in Fort Myers understands the importance of creating this kind of atmosphere and does so every day.

Immunotherapy for Cancer

Immunotherapy

Cancer comes in many forms and choosing the right treatment options depends heavily on the patient, their health, and the type of cancer present. For patients with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body from where it started), chemotherapy has been a long-standing choice. However, for some patients, immunotherapy is the more effective treatment with fewer side effects.

Immunotherapy works by working with the patient’s body. The human body is designed to fight against infections and diseases, including cancer cells that grow and spread unchecked as they avoid the body’s natural defenses. Immunotherapy boosts the natural immune system, making it more effective in fighting cancer cells. It helps the body identify which cells should be left alone and which cells are cancerous and need to be attacked and eradicated. Immunotherapy utilizes the immune system to better recognize and target cancer cells, even after treatment has ended.

Dr. Amar Rava of Palm Harbor, FL l discusses ImmunotherapyOne of the biggest benefits of immunotherapy is its less severe side effects. Chemotherapy is known for its harsh side effects that can be devastating to patients. Side effects such as severe fatigue, hair loss, nausea and vomiting diminish quality of life for cancer patients. While immunotherapy is not without its side effects, most patients find that muscle aches, shortness of breath and headaches are easier to endure.

Immunotherapy can be used to treat many types of cancers. Urologists have been using it to treat bladder and prostate cancers, and typically for patients who have asymptomatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Having more treatment options for prostate cancer—the most common form of cancer found in men—means a successful outcome is more likely.

Immunotherapy is less toxic than chemotherapy and its less intense side effects allow for a better quality of life for patients with prostate and bladder cancer. According to Dr. Amar J. Patel, Board Certified Urologist, immunotherapy is also shown to increase life expectancy for cancer patients by up to three months. Advance Urology Institute achieves better outcomes for patients by utilizing all of the tools available in the fight against cancer, including the patient’s very own immune systems. For more information about immunotherapy, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

How Does the Bladder Sphincter Work?

The bladder sphincter is made up of two muscles that control the release of urine from the bladder through the urethra. If the bladder were a reservoir, then the bladder sphincter would be the dam that holds back water and controls when it is released. The bladder sphincter is made up of two muscles, the internal and external sphincter muscles.

  • The internal sphincter muscle is located at the opening of the bladder to the urethra. It is a smooth, involuntary muscle. Because of its location, it is also primary muscle prohibiting the release of urine.
  • The external sphincter muscle surrounds the area of the urethra outside the bladder. It is the secondary muscle in control of urine flow. It is made of skeletal muscle and is a voluntary muscle.

Both muscles function in a similar fashion. When one relaxes the voluntary muscle, the involuntary muscle relaxes as well. When these muscles are relaxed, they open up allowing for urine to flow out of the bladder through the urethra and out the body. When these muscles are contracted, they keep urine in the bladder. Given the functions of the bladder sphincter, it is understandable the important role it plays in urinary continence. Damage or weakening of these muscles can also be a main cause for urinary incontinence.

Urinary IncontinenceUrinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. It is a common yet embarrassing problem. It can be as mild as releasing a small amount of urine when you laugh or sneeze, or as serious as having the urge to urinate come on so strong and fast that you don’t have time to get to a bathroom. Problems with the bladder sphincters can cause several different forms of incontinence.

One form of urge incontinence occurs when the urethra can’t hold back urine in the bladder and the bladder sphincters relax uncontrollably.

Stress urinary incontinence is another common issue. In this case, stress or damage to the sphincters or surrounding muscles can cause urinary incontinence. This is common in women after childbirth, or in men after prostate surgery or radiation therapy. Neurogenic bladder dysfunction occurs when trauma or disease of the central nervous system causes a person to lose control of their bladder sphincter muscles.

Although issues caused by malfunctioning bladder sphincters can be embarrassing, there are a variety of treatment options available. The option that works best–whether it be lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery–depends on the patient and their overall medical history. Urologists work to understand their patient’s unique needs and develop the best plan to treat their bladder problems. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Surgical Options for Overactive Bladder

If you feel frequent, sudden urges to urinate that you cannot control, you might be suffering from overactive bladder. This condition can lead to feelings of embarrassment or shame, but it’s a common problem and can be treated in a variety of ways. For many people, overactive bladder can be treated with lifestyle changes such as special diet, weight loss, regularly timed trips to the bathroom, and exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Dealing with symptoms by using absorbent pads is also an option.

However, for some people, these methods are not enough to ensure they can live a healthy, fulfilling life. In these situations, surgical intervention is an option to correct overactive bladder problems.

Augmentation Cytoplasty

One of the options for treating overactive bladder is called augmentation cytoplasty. This procedure increases the size of the bladder. The surgeon accomplishes this by removing a small part of the intestine and using it to replace parts of the bladder in order to increase its capacity. For some people, this procedure allows them to resume normal bladder function. For others, the use of a catheter may be necessary for the rest of their life.

Urinary Diversion Surgery

Another surgical treatment option for overactive bladder is urinary diversion surgery. This procedure involves diverting urine from the bladder. One option for bypassing the bladder involves linking the ureters, which normally connect the kidneys to the bladder, to an ostomy bag outside of the body. Another option involves the creation of a new bladder inside of the patient’s body, which means they will be able to continue normal urinary function.

Bladder Removal

Bladder removal surgery, or a cystectomy, is the last resort option for patients with overactive bladder for whom no other treatment has been successful. For men, bladder removal surgery also involves the removal of part of the prostate; for women, it involves removal of the uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina. Because this is a risky procedure that involves multiple organs, it is usually only used for more serious urological conditions such as bladder cancer or birth defects. Removal of the bladder necessitates the use of a urinary diversion such as an ostomy bag or a stoma.

An overactive bladder can be a debilitating condition, but there are many options for treatment. If you are dealing with this issue, the physicians at Advanced Urology Institute are here to help you reach a diagnosis and find a treatment to restore your quality of life.

Prostate Cancer Types of Treatment

Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer men face. According to board certified urologist Dr. Arash Rafiei, “One in nine men will have prostate cancer in their lifetime.” Although somewhat common, not all cancers in the walnut-shaped prostate gland are the same. Every case of prostate cancer is different and affects men differently. Urologists work with their patients to find the most effective treatment option based on each patient’s individual needs.

Dr. Arash Rafiei: Urologist in Orange City, FLUrologists will consider their patient’s health, age, and the type cancer when deciding how to proceed. For some cases, the best treatment is none at all. When a patient has slow growing prostate cancer that is not spreading, a urologist may suggest holding off on treatment while monitoring the growth through routine appointments. The cancer needs to be taken seriously and watched closely, but invasive treatment is not always necessary for the patient’s health.

When treatment for the prostate cancer is needed, there are two main options: radiation and surgery. Both options offer the same level of prostate control and urologists will discuss the pros and cons of each with their patients. For surgical options the urologist may suggest a radical prostatectomy or robotic surgery. Both are well-tested invasive options that produce very good patient outcomes.

Radiation therapy is another common cancer treatment option. The radiation is centered on the prostate to kill cancer cells. The radiation will also kill some healthy cells as well, causing side effects. This is a non-invasive option that, like surgery, has its pros and con that a patient and doctor will want to discuss. Follow-up appointments to determine if the cancer responded to the treatment will also be necessary.

In addition to radiation and surgery, there are also some newer options that can be utilized in prostate cancer treatment. For instance, cryotherapy uses very cold temperatures to kill cancerous tissues and cells in the prostate by freezing them. There are also treatments using intense ultrasound waves centered on the prostate to destroy the cancer cells. These procedures are newer and there is less data on when they are the most effective, but they are options to consider.

All cancer is serious and can be a stressful and frightening prospect. Having a dedicated urologist who will listen and suggest the best treatment for each patient is key to success. Whether the best option is observation, radiation, surgery or a newer procedure, the Advance Urology Institute is a team of dedicated urologists with an array of treatment options for their patients.