Women in New Orleans are fortunate to have a wealth of options when it comes to healthcare, and for those specifically approaching motherhood or facing the challenges of breast cancer, several national and regional medical leaders are available right here in our community. Between world-class physicians and state-of-the-art facilities and technologies, women in New Orleans don’t need to travel out of town or out of state to access leading-edge procedures and new approaches to care.
Located in Metairie, Omega Hospital (2525 Severn Ave., 832-4200, OmegaHospital.com) has garnered a reputation as a trailblazer in advanced breast reconstruction procedures for breast cancer patients and survivors. Omega provides an intimate, luxurious atmosphere for women undergoing surgeries, women who, thanks to pioneers in the field, now have more reconstruction options than ever before.
Omega’s associates include more than 50 physicians across 19 medical and surgical specialties, all of who are board-certified in one or more fields. Two of Omega’s breast reconstruction specialists are Dr. Ali Sadeghi and Dr. Robert Allen, experts in the revolutionary Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforators (DIEP) flap procedure, a procedure that reconstructs one’s breast from skin and fat from the abdomen.
“An added benefit of removing tissue from the abdomen is that the patient receives a tummy tuck simultaneously,” says Dr. Sadeghi. Also known as the “tummy tuck” flap, the DIEP flap procedure removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. Far preferable to surgeries of the past, this procedure doesn’t involve muscle removal, allowing for both a quicker recovery time and the maintaining of core strength.
As patient body types and needs often differ, the DIEP flap may not be right for everyone. Fortunately though, in addition to the DIEP flap, Drs. Sadeghi and Allen also perform the Profunda Artery Perforator (PAP) and the Gluteal Artery Perforator (GAP) flap procedures. The PAP procedure utilizes skin and fat from the back of the thigh (under the buttock crease), while the GAP procedure takes skin and fat directly from the buttock.
The use of one’s skin and fat helps create as natural a breast as possible, which is of utmost importance to Drs. Sadeghi and Allen. Further, according to Sadeghi, the option for women to receive reconstruction at the time of mastectomy should be commonplace practice.
“We know through statistics that 80 percent of women do not return for reconstruction,” says Sadeghi. “We are trying to advocate for a whole new rationale behind reconstruction at the time of mastectomy.”
According to Sadeghi, the benefits are both financial and psychological. Financially, it’s more efficient to conduct two surgeries at once. Psychologically, it can be traumatic for a woman to wake from surgery without a breast, and by conducting reconstruction simultaneously women wake to a new and sometimes improved breast.
Drs. Sadeghi and Allen also preform a newly pioneered technique, fat grafting to the breast for rejuvenation and reconstruction. This procedure is usually performed as an outpatient basis with the added benefit of removal of unwanted fat and rapid recovery.
Since 1983, New Orleans has been home to a national gem in fertility, one of the nation’s leading clinics specializing in new infertility treatment. Employing traditional treatments and the latest advances in reproductive technology, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), the Fertility Institute (offices in Mandeville, Metairie and Baton Rouge; (800) 375-0048; FertilityInstintute.com) offers new hope for families who have trouble conceiving or who have genetic abnormalities that may cause a difficult quality of life for a child.
All nine Fertility Institute physicians are board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, with many having received special certification in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. A pioneer in the introduction of new infertility treatment in the region, the institute’s bragging rights include a long list of firsts. Highlights of that list include establishing the first sperm bank in the Gulf South and performing the first IVF in the same region in 1983. The Fertility Institute was the first clinic to achieve a pregnancy with its first IVF, and achieved the first male and female sex preselected in vitro fertilization babies.
“Advanced reproductive procedures, specifically in vitro fertilization (IVF) is where my heart is,” says Dr. Sissy Sartor, one of the many esteemed physicians at the Fertility Institute. “With IVF, we can help people conceive that only 15 years ago would have been told they were sterile and that they would not have their own children.”
With a passion for helping families and a love for medicine, Dr. Sartor joined the Fertility Institute in 1998 and since joining the team has devoted her medical expertise to furthering advances in reproductive health. Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Sartor helped develop the Center for Reproductive Health with a thriving IVF program at Louisiana State University Shreveport. She holds an Associate Clinical professorship at LSU New Orleans.
Touro Infirmary (1401 Foucher St., (888) 357-9137, Touro.com) staff describe the local medical center as more than just a hospital; instead, “It is the place where babies come from.” The Family Birthing Center at Touro is focused on offering a comprehensive, individualized approach to birth preparation, labor, delivery and postpartum care, with the goal of supporting expectant parents every step of the way and making every birthing experience unique.
According to Christine Albert, AVP Marketing and Development at Touro Infirmary, the hospital is the third busiest single labor and delivery hospital in the state, and the only full-service maternity care provider in Orleans Parish since the closing of the Labor and Delivery unit at University Hospital in 2009. In ’12 alone, more than 3,000 babies were delivered at Touro – more than any other single hospital in the area.
“The Family Birthing Center at Touro provides moms with an overall unique birthing experience, from water births to private lactation services. We try our best to make the birthing experience a smooth and memorable one,” says Dr. DuTreil, OB/GYN at Touro Infirmary.
In April 2013, the hospital will welcome a special delivery: A newly renovated Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) updated with the goal of enhancing Touro’s ability to care for the tiniest and most fragile of patients. Located on the second floor of the main hospital, the new NICU expands across 11,000 square feet of space for babies, parents and nursing staff in the Family Birthing Center.
With five open bay and 15 private and semi-private rooms, the NICU’s space has been designed to aid in the progress of each baby’s health by eliminating stimulation from noises that can have a negative impact. The private rooms also have a family area so parents can always be by their baby’s side. These rooms are also used by parents on the baby’s last day in the hospital to ensure their preparedness for caring for their new special bundle of joy.
Touro’s new NICU will provide infants with the most advanced nursing care, including the latest respiratory support equipment and lactation services. The NICU will also offer a perinatology clinic to treat patients with high-risk pregnancies. Perinatology services include amniocentesis, genetic counseling, 3-D and high-imaging ultrasounds, non-stress testing and in utero blood transfusions.
More information on Touro’s new NICU can be accessed at Touro.com/fbc and tours may be scheduled by calling 897-8260.