Gastroenterologists Owe Their Modern Techniques to Doctors Shinya and Wolff

Though both of these men initially practiced as surgeons, today’s gastroenterologists can thank Japanese-born doctor Hiromi Shinya and his for his contribution to their field of medicine. The colonoscopy has become a common procedure used to diagnose and treat conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Shinya’s Life and Career

Born in 1935 in Yunagawa, Japan, Hiromi Shinya graduated medical school in 1960 and was selected to an exclusive internship at the United States Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, a placement requiring excellent English skills. This paved his path to the US where he entered residency at Beth Israel in New York City as a general surgeon. While he was a senior resident in the 1960’s, he and cardiothoracic surgeon William Wolff began collaborating over their shared interest in a new fiber-optic endoscope technology, which they thought could improve screening for colon polyps and cancers.

A Major Development

In 1969, Shinya and Wolff performed some of the first modern colonoscopies. The advantage of this new method was its ability to inspect the entire length of the large intestine. Previously, intestinal polyps were only observed when painful symptoms occurred, and required abdominal surgery when identified. The new procedure removed much of the uncertainty surrounding this medical issue. Additionally, they honed the technique so that only one physician was needed to perform a colonoscopy while other methods required two.

Eventually, they tested Dr. Shinya’s design, a tiny wire loop that could remove a polyp right during the procedure, eliminating the need for surgery entirely. The team performed over 2,000 procedures before making their findings public to the medical community, which they did in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1973. Gastroenterologists were initially slow to adopt this approach, wary of it being surgical in nature, but by the 1980’s the colonoscopy had become a widely accepted practice.

Importance of Colonoscopies

Before these two doctors changed the landscape of this field of medicine, the danger of intestinal polyps was underestimated. Today, it is common knowledge among physicians that they often progress from small benign growths to carcinoma, or cancerous tumors. For this reason, many medical societies recommend a screening at age 50, followed by another each decade thereafter. It is currently the best tool available to prevent the development of colon cancers. It has been estimated that each year, this procedure prevents tens of thousands of new cases of cancer.

In addition to its use for preventing and diagnosing cancer, gastroenterologists in the US use colonic endoscopy to diagnose and observe other diseases of the GI tract, most notably Irritable Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerative colitis.

The newest enhancement of this type of exam is the Virtual Colonoscopy, which uses computer imaging to show the findings of a completely non-invasive scan. This technique is still under development and testing, and it remains to be seen whether it will eventually supplant the regular colonoscopy. Once a cutting-edge development in its own right, the work of Dr. Wolff and Dr. Shinya is now a standard for gastroenterologists and surgeons.

Walk Your Way to Old Age – Joint Replacement Surgeries Overseas for International Patients

Joints wearing out with age are a common problem, which is on the rise with unhealthy eating habits, and lethargic life routines. With growing age and calcium depletion, bones start to become more and more brittle. It is all the more common with females as a lot of calcium from their body tends to be used up in bearing children and nursing them.

With high success rate and affordability of joint replacement surgery (at least in some countries), you can surely walk your way to old age.

There is not a single joint in our body that we can avoid using, which makes each and every joint equally important. There are a few joints which face a little more wear and tear than the rest, and hence need replacement.

The most popular surgeries include:

Knee Replacement: Knees carry our body weight to a great extent, and hence chances for their exhaustion are quite high. The problems might start as early as mid-30’s and knee replacement is the most commonly performed replacement surgery across the world.

Knee replacement surgery involves making an incision along the center of the knee and removing the damaged parts of the thigh and calf bones i.e. the femur and tibia using a bone saw. The new components are then fixed with the help of bone cement. Flexible polyethylene cushion is added between the new joint and old tibia surface to offer some shock absorption and reduce friction.

Hip Replacement: The hip joint also has to bear a lot of friction, and even more if you are overweight. The majority of patients who suffer need hip replacement are suffering from osteoarthritis. The hip joint wears with age, with depleting calcium.

Hip replacement surgery involves replacing the ball and socket joint that form the hip joint. The prosthetic ball is added after removal of the femoral head. This ball is connected to a stem which is inserted into the marrow of the femur to fix it and form a new joint. The rest of the joint is resurfaced and lined with a prosthetic cup forming the socket. This procedure is very popular and very successful, however since running; jumping and other strenuous activity will be prohibited to an extent.

Shoulder Replacement: The problem here is not weight, but is generally required due to degeneration of bones and joint and general stiffness leading to a lot of pain and restriction in motion.

Shoulder replacement surgery is an extremely successful procedure that restores the motion and relieves the pain. The procedure involves removal of the damaged humeral neck, resurfacing and adding a prosthetic humeral stem that fits inside the humerus. The top of this stem is designed so as to hold a ball to replace the natural joint.

Planning a joint surgery overseas?

Though it will be painful on the physical front, and even overwhelming thinking about adding a foreign body part inside you, to help you move better, these surgeries are quite common, effective and successful. It is very costly in the USA, and there might not be such good medical facilities in Nigeria and other African countries.