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  • January 14, 2022

    By Allison Larson, MD

    Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or spend the season curled up by the fireplace, the low humidity, bitter winds, and dry indoor heat that accompany cold weather can deplete your skin’s natural moisture. Dry skin is not only painful, uncomfortable, and irritating; it also can lead to skin conditions such as eczema, which results in itchy, red, bumpy skin patches. 


    Follow these six tips to prevent and treat skin damage caused by winter dryness.


    1. Do: Wear sunscreen all year long.

    UV rays can easily penetrate cloudy skies to dry out exposed skin. And when the sun is shining, snow and ice reflect its rays, increasing UV exposure. 


    Getting a sunburn can cause severe dryness, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer. Snow or shine, apply sunscreen before participating in any outdoor activity during the winter—especially if you take a tropical vacation to escape the cold; your skin is less accustomed to sunlight and more likely to burn quickly.


    The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.


    That being said, if you are considering laser skin treatments to reduce wrinkles, hair, blemishes, or acne scars, winter is a better time to receive these procedures. Sun exposure shortly after a treatment increases the risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), and people are less likely to spend time outside during the winter.


    Related reading: 7 Simple Ways to Protect Your Skin in the Sun

    2. Do: Skip products with drying ingredients.

    Soaps or facial products you use in warm weather with no issues may irritate your skin during colder seasons. This is because they contain ingredients that can cause dryness, but the effects aren’t noticeable until they’re worsened by the dry winter climate.

    You may need to take a break from:

    • Anti-acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
    • Antibacterial and detergent-based soap
    • Anything containing fragrance, from soap to hand sanitizer

    Hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer, which contains a high level of skin-drying alcohol, cannot be avoided; we need to maintain good hand hygiene to stop the spread of germs. If your job or lifestyle requires frequent hand washing or sanitizing, routinely apply hand cream throughout the day as well.


    During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen a lot of people develop hand dermatitis—a condition with itchy, burning skin that can swell and blister—due to constant hand washing. Sometimes the fix is as simple as changing the soap they're using. Sensitive-skin soap is the best product for dry skin; it typically foams up less but still cleans the skin efficiently.


    3. Do: Pay closer attention to thick skin.

    Areas of thin skin, such as the face and backs of your hands, are usually exposed to the wind and sun the most. It’s easy to tell when they start drying out. But the thick skin on your palms and bottoms of your feet is also prone to dryness—and tends to receive less attention.


    When thick skin gets dry, fissures form. You’ll see the surface turn white and scaly; then deep, linear cracks will appear. It isn’t as pliable as thin skin. When you’re constantly on your feet or using your hands to work, cook, and everything in between, dry thick skin cracks instead of flexing with your movements. 


    To soften cracked skin, gently massage a heavy-duty moisturizer—such as Vaseline—into the affected area once or twice a day. You can also talk with your doctor about using a skin-safe adhesive to close the fissures and help them heal faster.


    Related reading:  Follow these 5 Tips for Healthy Skin

    4. Don’t believe the myth that drinking more water will fix dry skin.

    Contrary to popular belief, the amount of water or fluids you drink does not play a major role in skin hydration—unless you’re severely dehydrated. In the winter, especially, dry skin is caused by external elements; it should be treated from the outside as well. 


    The best way to keep skin hydrated and healthy is to apply fragrance-free cream or ointment—not lotion—to damp skin after a shower or bath.
    Some people need additional moisturizers for their hands, legs, or other areas prone to dryness.

    While some lotions are made better than others, most are a combination of water and powder that evaporates quickly. Creams and ointments work better because they contain ingredients that can help rebuild your skin barrier. 

    Look for products with ceramide, a fatty acid that helps rebuild the fat and protein barrier that holds your skin cells together. The AAD also recommends moisturizing ingredients such as:

    • Dimethicone
    • Glycerin
    • Jojoba oil
    • Lanolin
    • Mineral oil
    • Petrolatum
    • Shea butter

    For severely dry skin, you can try a “wet wrap” technique:

    1. Rinse a pair of tight-fitting pajamas in warm water and wring them out so they’re damp, not wet.
    2. Apply cream or ointment to your skin.
    3. Put on the damp pajamas, followed by a pair of dry pajamas, and wear the ensemble for several hours.

    Dampness makes your skin more permeable and better able to absorb hydrating products. If the wet wrap or over-the-counter products aren’t working for you, talk with a dermatologist about prescription skin hydration options. 

    Drinking more water isn’t the answer to dry winter skin. The best solution is to apply fragrance-free cream or ointment directly to damp skin. Get more cold weather #SkinCareTips from a dermatologist in this blog: https://bit.ly/3KbVUA1.
    Click to Tweet

     

    5. Don’t confuse skin conditions with dryness.

    Skin conditions are often mistaken for dry skin because peeling or flaking are common symptoms. Redness of the skin or itching in addition to dryness and flaking indicates a skin condition that may need more than an over-the-counter moisturizer.


    Skin cells are anchored together by a lipid and protein layer (like a brick and mortar wall). With very dry skin, the seal on this wall or barrier is not fully intact and water evaporates out of the skin’s surface. The skin will become itchy and red in addition to scaly or flaky. If you experience these symptoms, visit with a dermatologist.

    6. Don’t wait for symptoms to take care of dry skin.

    Be proactive—the best way to maintain moisture is to apply hydrating creams and ointments directly to your skin on a regular basis. Start by applying them as part of your morning routine. Once you get used to that, add a nighttime application. And carry a container of it when you’re on the go or keep it in an easily accessible location at work.

     

    You can’t avoid dry air, but you can take precautions to reduce its harsh effects on your skin. If over-the-counter products don’t seem to help, our dermatologists can provide an individualized treatment plan. Hydrated skin is healthy skin!


    Does your skin get drier as the air gets colder?

    Our dermatologists can help.

    Call 202-877-DOCS (3627) or Request an Appointment

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  • June 07, 2020

    By MedStar Team

    Recently published collaborative research examined temporal trends and surgical outcomes of minimally invasive surgery approaches for colorectal cancer by hospital type. “Minimally Invasive Surgery for Colorectal Cancer: Hospital Type Drives Utilization and Outcomes” was published in the Journal of Surgical Research. The study sought to assess these relationships to improve access to high-quality surgical care for CRC patients.

    The study collected data from the National Cancer Database which organizes oncology data from more than 1500 accredited cancer facilities across the United States and Puerto Rico. The main outcome variable was the performance of minimally invasive surgery for the associated cancer type. Secondary outcome variables included surgical margin, conversion to open, length of stay, 30-day unanticipated readmission rate, 30-day mortality, 90-day mortality, and overall survival. The main independent variable was hospital type and facility-level variables included location by US region, center type, and average center volume.

    The results of the study found that of 234, 935 cases, 48.5% of colorectal cancer surgeries were performed in comprehensive community hospitals, 28% in academic, 12.5% in community, and 11.1% in integrated networks. Many procedures performed in community hospitals were open, while all other hospital types primarily performed minimally invasive surgery. The percentage of robotic surgeries was highest in academic hospitals (7.9%) and lowest in community centers (3.3%).

    The study findings showed rates of MIS utilization overall (40.1%), as well as for laparoscopic (36.8%) and robotic (3.3%) procedures specifically, were lowest in community hospitals compared with comprehensive community (46.2% laparoscopic; 5.7% robotic), integrated network (47.7% laparoscopic; 6.8% robotic), and academic (46.3% laparoscopic; 7.9% robotic) centers.

    MIS utilization rates varied substantially by hospital type for both the laparoscopic and robotic approaches however were generally lower at community centers for both cancer types. Also, compared with laparoscopic colon surgery at academic centers, community centers treated lower grade tumors with higher 30-day and 90-day mortality. In conclusion, “Future research and healthcare policy must address these trends at the community level to facilitate safe, effective access to these techniques across the US.”

    This research was supported by a grant from the Georgetown Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science and The Lee Folger Foundation.

    The research team included researchers from the MedStar-Georgetown Surgical Outcomes Research Center, MedStar Health Research Institute, and MedStar-Georgetown University Hospital: Anthony M. Villano MD, Alexander Zeymo MS, Brenna K. Houlihan MD, Mohammed Bayasi MD, Waddah B. Al-Refaie MD, FACS and Kitty S. Chan PhD.

    Journal of Surgical Research, 2020. DOI: 10.1093/jbcr/irz168

     
  • June 07, 2020

    By MedStar Team

    Recently published research evaluated lung ultrasound findings in patients admitted to the internal medicine ward with COVID-19. “Point-of-Care Lung Ultrasound Findings in Patients with Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pneumonia” was published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The study sought to diagnose and monitor patients who received point-of-care ultrasound and assess the findings.

    The research was led by Kosuke Yasukawa from the Department of Medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, in collaboration with Taro Minami from Care New England Medical Group and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

    Patients with COVID-19 typically present with bilateral multilobar ground-glass characteristics. Chest CT has been used in the diagnosis and management of patients with COVID-19. However, CT is not always readily available and the disinfection of CT machine after the use of a patient with COVID-19 may result in a delay of care for other patients requiring CT examination. While the utility of point-of-care ultrasound has been suggested, detailed descriptions of lung ultrasound findings are not available.

    The research team retrospectively evaluated lung ultrasound images of 10 patients who received point-of-care ultrasound and were diagnosed with COVID-19. The images were stored and reviewed to determine demographics, comorbidities, laboratory, and radiographic findings. The findings showed that characteristic glass rockets with or without the Birolleau variant (white lung) were present in all 10 patients. One patient required transfer to intermediate care unit, and another patient required transfer to intensive care unit. Four of the patients required administration of oxygen via a non-rebreather mask. Abnormal lung ultrasound findings were detected in all of the patients. Two patients had septal rockets and small subpleural consolidations were detected in five patients. Although glass rockets and the Birolleau variant can be seen in patients with cardiogenic pulmonary edema, none of the patients were diagnosed with decompensated congestive heart failure.

    The results found confluent B lines and thick, irregular pleural lines present in all patients evaluated. The glass rockets, confluent B lines, thick irregular pleural lines, and subpleural consolidations are likely not specific to COVID-19. However, these findings can be an aid for diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic when pretest probability is high.

    The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2020. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-0280

  • June 07, 2020

    By MedStar Team

    Congratulations to all MedStar researchers who had articles published in April 2020. The selected articles and link to PubMed provided below represent the body of work completed by MedStar Health investigators, physicians, and associates and published in peer-reviewed journals last month. The list is compiled from PubMed for any author using “MedStar” in the author affiliation. Congratulations to this month’s authors. We look forward to seeing your future research.

    View the full list of publications on PubMed.gov here.

    Selected research:

    1. E-Cigarettes, Vaping Devices, and Acute Lung Injury
      Respiratory Care, 2020DOI: 10.4187/respcare.07733
      Cobb NK, Solanki JN.

       

    2. Pharmacogenetics in Practice: Estimating the Clinical Actionability of Pharmacogenetic Testing in Perioperative and Ambulatory Settings
      Clinical and Translational Science, 2020DOI: 10.1111/cts.12748
      Smith DM, Peshkin BN, Springfield TB, Brown RP, Hwang E, Kmiecik S, Shapiro R, Eldadah Z, Lundergan C, McAlduff J, Levin B, Swain SM.
    3. The Role of MRI in the Diagnosis of Pelvic Floor Disorders
      Female Urology, 2020. DOI: 10.1007/s11934-020-00981-4
      Fitzgerald J, Richter LA.

    4. COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2) and the Heart - An Ominous Association
      Cardiovascular Revascularization Medicine, 2020. DOI: 10.1016/j.carrev.2020.05.009
      Khalid N, Chen Y, Case BC, Shlofmitz E, Wermers JP, Rogers T, Ben-Dor I, Waksman R.

     

  • June 07, 2020

    By MedStar Team

    Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, GHUCCTS has reconsidered their application, selection, and appointment cycle for new KL2 scholars. Most current KL2 scholars, nationally, have been unable to make significant research progress due to practical and institutional restrictions, despite continued KL2 support. We want to make sure that our next KL2 scholars have the best opportunity to benefit fully from their new awards.

    Final evaluation of previously-submitted applications has been deferred and the call for new KL2 applications has been reopened. Projects that are novel, inter-or multi-disciplinary and collaborative will be favored. The KL2 scholars will be awarded up to $90, 000 salary support and $40,000 project support per year (for up to three years). 

    The 2020 application deadline has been extended to July 6, 2020 and an anticipated appointment date no earlier than September 2020. 

    Who is eligible: Junior Faculty with a full-time or equivalent appointment at a GHUCCTS institution (Georgetown University, Howard University, or MedStar Health) at the time of award activation. Scholars must devote 75% effort to the program for three yearsscholars must be US Citizens, Non-citizen Nationals, or Permanent Residents. Individuals who were, or currently are Principal Investigator of NIH R01, P01 or P50 subprojects, or individual K (e.g., K01, K08, K22, K23) grant ARE NOT eligible; current/former PIs of non-NIH peer reviewed research grants >$100k annual direct costs are ineligible.

    Learn more about the program and applicatation requirements on the GHUCCTS website.

    QUESTIONS? Contact the Executive Committee:
    Jason G. Umans, MD, PhD jgu@georgetown.edu
    Charles Howell, MD charles.howell@howard.edu
    Kathryn Sandberg, PhD sandberg@georgetown.edu

  • June 07, 2020

    By MedStar Team

    Every year, MedStar Health awards scholarships to approximately 30 first-year Georgetown University medical students in order to pursue research during the summer. For seven weeks, each summer scholar works under the direction of a MedStar Health physician-investigator to conduct research in a specific area. These scholars are housed at various departments throughout the MedStar system and their experience has been tailored to work remotely given the COVID19 pandemic.

    Congratulations to the Class of 2023 Scholarship Recipients. Best of luck with your research!

    MedStar Health Research Institute

    Recipient

    Research Area

    Mentor(s)

    Matthew Sheridan

    Quality Improvement

    Raj Ratwani

    GiGi Yip

    Quality Improvement

    Raj Ratwani, PhD

    MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

    Recipient

    Research Area

    Mentor(s)

    Peter Rakita

    Mental & Behavioral Health

    Matthew Biel, MD

    Alice Kim

    David Thomas

    General Surgery/Surgery Education

    Shimae Fitzgibbons/John Lazar

    Ankit Misha

    Surgical Oncology

    Waddah Al-Refaie

    Cupeil (Kevin) Choi

    Radiation Oncology

    Keith Unger

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center

    Recipient

    Research Area

    Mentor(s)

    Emily Kim

    Burn Surgery

    Laura Johnson

    Daniel Childers

    Vascular Surgery

    Steven Abramowitz

    Aisha Inuwa

    Grant Wilhelm

    OB/GYN, HIV and Pregnancy

    Rachel Scott

    Kira Chandran

    Nikash Shankar

    Emergency Medicine

    Mary Ann Amirshahi

    Sadhana Sathi

    Endocrine Surgery

    Victoria Lai

    James Severin

    Ethics

    Ben Krohmal

    Matthew Cabrera

    Meghan Chin

    Surgical Critical Care

    Seife Yohannes

    Michael Hammer

    Josh Kang

    Clark Pitcher

    Anna Hogan

    Erin Rachel Vaughan

    Palliative Care

    Hunter Groinger

    MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2)

    Recipient

    Research Area

    Mentor(s)

    Elizabeth Duquette

    Human Factors Engineering

    Kristen Miller

    MedStar Georgetown Pediatrics at Tenleytown

    Recipient

    Research Area

    Mentor(s)

    Aditi Gadre

    Pediatrics

    Elizabeth Chawla

    MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

    Recipient

    Research Area

    Mentor(s)

    Daniel Kim

    Medicine

    Stephanie Detterlne/Christopher Haas

    Joshua Fallentine

    Sports Medicine

    Andy Lincoln

    Eric Nieto

    Orthopaedics (Foot & Ankle)

    Jason Wisbeck

    Madeline Walsh

    Endocrinology

    Pamela Schroeder

    Gianna Guarino

    Eliana Schaefer

    Caroline Wu

    The Curtis National Hand Center

    Avi Giladi

    Caleb Grieme

    Nijo Abraham

    Orthopaedics (Total JoilOVELY*0207nt)

    Henry Boucher

    Aman Chopra

    Orthopaedics (Shoulder)

    Anand Muthi

    MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

    Recipient

    Research Area

    Mentor(s)

    Stephanie Michales

    Alexandra Eckert

    Family Medicine

    Nacny Barr

    MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

    Recipient

    Research Area

    Mentor(s)

    Krytal Henderson

    Medicine

    David Weissman

     

  • June 04, 2020

    By Rachael D. Sussman, MD, Urology

    If you think bladder leaks are just a normal part of aging, think again. Although advertisements for absorbent pads and undergarments are plentiful these days, several effective treatment options can actually help resolve this annoying, and sometimes disabling, problem.

    Occasional urinary incontinence may be no big deal. But if you’re bothered by any degree of bladder leaking, it’s never too early to speak to a urology specialist. In most cases, we can help!

    Why Do Bladder Leaks Happen?

    Essentially, there are two major types of urinary incontinence:

    • Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is common for both men and women. It happens when your bladder is a bit out of sync—so you have strong, sudden urges to urinate but you’re not able to hold it long enough to reach a restroom. What causes this urge are abnormal bladder contractions, meaning your bladder starts to squeeze and empty on its own before you allow it. Sometimes this can happen due to things like a urinary tract infection or consuming too much fluid, which can be easily treated. Other risk factors include menopause in women and an enlarged prostate in men, both natural parts of aging that can prompt tissue changes and weakened nerves in the pelvic floor. Other causes may be nerve-related disorders such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, radiation treatment for prostate cancer, or lifestyle issues like obesity and smoking.
    • The other common type, especially in women, is stress incontinence. When you experience pressure to your abdomen—from laughing, coughing, lifting, even intercourse—weakened muscles that typically keep your bladder closed ease open and let urine escape. For women, the major risk factors are pregnancy and childbirth, which cause pressure that can damage nerves and tissues that support your bladder. Stress leaks are also more common in people who are overweight; who frequently strain themselves with weightlifting, chronic cough, or even constipation; or those who’ve had pelvic-area surgeries, such as a hysterectomy in women or prostatectomy in men.
    If you’re bothered by #bladderleakage, it’s never too early to speak to a urology specialist. There are lots of effective treatment options for #incontinence, says Dr. Rachael Sussman. bit.ly/2B2ni4r via @MedStarWHC
    Click to Tweet

    How Common Is Urinary Incontinence?

    It’s hard to say exactly how many Americans experience these two most common types of incontinence (and some people experience both). Recent studies suggest more than 50% of adult women and about 25% of men over age 65 have had some degree of urine leakage within the past year. That’s quite significant, and the problem tends to increase with advancing age. Yet, studies show that few incontinence sufferers ever seek treatment for it.

    That’s extremely unfortunate, because there are so many highly effective ways to treat incontinence, from conservative behavior changes to more advanced devices and procedures. If one doesn’t work well enough, I always encourage people to try another.

    Conservative Approaches to Bladder Leaks

    Try these simple steps first.

    • Dietary Changes: Cut back on bladder-irritating foods and beverages that can make incontinence worse. These include coffee, tea, spicy and acidic foods and beverages, carbonated drinks, and alcohol. Be sure to drink enough water as well, so your urine is very pale yellow. Dark, concentrated urine is another bladder irritant.
    • Constipation Control: Getting into a good bowel regimen can also help to ease an overactive bladder, since constipation can put pressure on your bladder, and worsen your control. Get more fiber in your diet from fruits, vegetables, and beans or add a fiber supplement. Talk to your doctor if you’re taking prescription pain relievers, allergy medicines, antacids, or certain blood pressure medicines, as they often cause constipation. You might also consider taking an over-the-counter stool softener. A general goal: one soft bowel movement per day.
    • Timed Voiding: Don’t wait until you get an uncontrollable urge before you hit the bathroom. Try to urinate every three hours, whether you feel the need or not. This can also help keep your bladder from becoming overly stretched and weakened over time.
    • Bladder Muscle Exercises: Kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles that help you control your bladder. These exercises are particularly helpful for stress-caused leaks but can also help those with other types. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles (the ones you’d use to stop urinating). Hold that squeeze for 10 seconds, then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat ten times. Perform this cycle a few times each day while you’re seated and relaxed—although not while you’re urinating. Or consider working with a physical therapist who specializes in addressing pelvic floor issues.
    • Urge Suppression Technique: For people with urge incontinence, this exercise can give you time to reach the bathroom. When you feel a sudden urge to urinate, do a series of quick pelvic floor squeezes (again, the muscles you’d use to stop urinating), take a deep breath, then repeat. This exercise signals the brain to temporarily stop the involuntary bladder contractions and give you extra time to make it to the bathroom.
    • A Little Weight Loss: A recent study of women found that losing just 8% of your body weight can reduce bladder leak incidents by 50%.

    Bladder Control Medications

    If behavioral steps don’t offer enough relief, medication is available to treat urge incontinence (overactive bladder). There are two types:

    • Anticholinergics: These prescription medicines help relax your bladder by blocking receptors that make it squeeze uncontrollably. They can help reduce those sudden, urgent feelings that you need to urinate. Side effects can include dry eyes or mouth and constipation, so they’re not for everyone.
    • Beta 3 Agonists: This newer category of medicines activates receptors in the bladder that help it relax and allow it to hold more urine. It can be used alone or taken with an anticholinergic medicine. Some studies suggest the combination may be more effective.

    While no medicines are currently FDA-approved for stress incontinence, the following well-tested interventional therapies can dramatically improve bladder control.

    Devices and Minimally Invasive Procedures

    For urge incontinence:

    • Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation: Similar to acupuncture, this technique involves inserting a fine needle electrode into nerves in the ankle that connect to nerves controlling the bladder. The electrode sends mild electrical impulses to the bladder that can minimize its unpredictable squeezing. Weekly sessions take about 30 minutes and continue for 12 weeks. A recent study showed that more than 70% of patients who had this low-risk therapy experienced at least 50% fewer incontinence episodes.
    • Sacral Neuromodulation: This nerve stimulation technique involves placing a small pacemaker just under the skin in your hip area. The lead wire sends electrical impulses to the nerves controlling bladder contractions, helping minimize the sudden urges. Once placed, it can be set for up to five years, when battery replacement is needed. The only downside may be that you can’t undergo an MRI with the current device in place; however, a new MRI-compatible model may be available by 2021. A rechargeable version is also in the works.
    • Botox®: The same substance used to paralyze your frown muscles for a younger-looking face can also calm an overactive bladder. The liquid is injected into the bladder through a small needle that we guide with a camera. The results last from three months to a year, with very few side effects. Again, patients often experience half as many urgency episodes after this treatment, although it must be repeated. A new Botox gel formulation in development for incontinence will allow us to place it directly in the bladder area without an injection—for even less discomfort.

    For stress incontinence:

    • Vaginal Pessary: This small device made of silicone can be inserted into a woman’s vagina to help support her pelvic organs and provide compression to help prevent stress-induced bladder leaks. It’s a simple device that can offer immediate results. The device can stay in for up to three months and be changed by your doctor, or a woman can take it in and out as frequently as they like (similar to a diaphragm). A recent review of studies found that women report high levels of success and satisfaction with the pessary, particularly if properly fitted by a healthcare specialist. It’s an excellent option for someone who is not a good surgical candidate or who only leaks occasionally, such as during exercise.
    • Bulking Agents: This low-risk, quick-fix approach involves injecting a silicone or other filler material into the urethra to plump the area and help it stay closed during sneezes, lifting, exercise or other activities that cause bladder leaks. Bulking therapy works better for women than men, and may need to be repeated, since the material tends to break down within a couple of years. However, it can be a good option for older patients who may not be good candidates for surgery, or those who want quick results and don’t have time for other procedures before an event such as travel.

    Surgical Approaches

    • Sling: This gold standard for treating stress incontinence involves a 20-minute outpatient surgery to place a supportive sling under the urethra. Made of mesh or from tissue taken from the patient’s own abdomen or thigh, the sling acts like a firm backbone. It supports the weakened tissues and muscles that help keep the urethra closed to prevent bladder leaks. It has a 90% success rate for women and can also be used in men with stress-induced leaking.
    • Artificial Urinary Sphincter: This device, currently used for men only, includes a fluid-filled cuff that hugs around the urethra to keep it closed, a small pump in the scrotum, and a fluid-filled balloon in the abdomen. When you want to urinate, you squeeze the pump to empty the fluid from the cuff that is hugging the urethra into the balloon that sits in the abdomen. The cuff stays open for a few minutes so you can urinate. Then, it automatically closes again to reseal the urethra and keep you dry. This device works very well, can stay in place for up to 10 years, and offers a high level of patient satisfaction. It’s also being tested for use in women.

    What’s Ahead?

    At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, we offer all the latest urinary incontinence treatments from guidance on behavioral approaches to innovative surgical techniques. We’re also involved in researching potential new treatments, including autologous derived muscle cells to treat stress incontinence in women. This involves taking some muscle tissue from the leg, growing these cells in a lab and then injecting them into the urethra to help grow additional sphincter muscle, which could improve bladder control. So far, the study shows great promise!

    In the meantime, women and men have many highly effective treatments available to help relieve the most common types of incontinence. At the Hospital Center, we work with you to explore underlying causes, help you choose the right therapy, and explore another option if we don’t see results. Many patients tell me that finally treating their incontinence has been life-changing.

    I encourage anyone who’s more than mildly annoyed by this common condition to make an appointment with a urologist. Incontinence is not something you have to just deal with. We can take steps to treat it and dramatically improve quality of life.

    Bothered by leaks?

    Our specialists can help.

    Call 202-644-9526 or Request an Appointment