Monday, December 17, 2012

National Leaders in Pancreas Surgery

Pancreas surgery is technically difficult and specialists at Penn Medicine perform among the highest volume of pancreatic operations in the Unites States, including the Whipple procedure, with complication rates and long-term survival statistics that set the standard nationally. As part of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, patients also have facilitated access to the full range of treatment options for pancreatic cancer including radiation, chemotherapy and the latest clinical trials—all under one roof.

At high-volume centers with integrated, multidisciplinary care teams, long-term survival for patients who undergo surgery for pancreatic cancer continues to improve. Recently, in one of the largest studies of its kind published to date, short-term recovery and long-term survival rates at Penn were shown to be among the best in the nation, demonstrating that Penn Medicine is at the forefront of providing the best care available for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Nationally and internationally recognized for their depth of experience and innovative research on the latest surgical treatment options, meet Penn’s pancreatic surgeons:

Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD
Chairman, Department of Surgery

A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Drebin continued his surgical training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before joining the faculty at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In 2004 he was recruited to Penn Medicine as chief of the division of Gastrointestinal Surgery and vice-chairman for research for the department of Surgery. Following his tenure as chief, Dr. Drebin was appointed chairman of the department of Surgery at Penn Medicine and the 14th John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine.

In addition to pancreas surgery, Dr. Drebin specializes in acute and chronic pancreatitis, the use of new technologies to manage liver tumors, disorders of the bile ducts and the management of gallbladder disease.

Learn more about Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD.

Charles M. Vollmer, MD
Director, Pancreas Surgery Program

Dr. Vollmer received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College and completed his internship and residency in general surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis. Dr. Vollmer’s training includes a clinical fellowship in hepatobiliary and GI transplantation surgery at Toronto General Hospital, as well as research fellowships in surgical oncology at UCLA School of Medicine and hepatobiliary oncology at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at the University of Toronto. He comes to Penn Medicine from Boston where he practiced at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

In addition to pancreas surgery, Dr. Vollmer specializes in treating all malignant and benign conditions of the pancreas and biliary system with a strong emphasis in care of pancreatitis. He also focuses on the management of pancreatic cysts and co-directs the Penn Pancreatic Cyst Program, a multidisciplinary team that evaluates and treats all types of pancreatic cysts.

Learn more about Charles M. Vollmer, MD.

Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
West Pavilion, 4th Floor
3400 Civic Center Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 800.789.PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Shoulder or Elbow Pain? Penn Orthopaedics Can Help You Live Pain-Free

Whether it’s the result of an injury or just from typical wear and tear, you don’t have to live with shoulder pain.

The Penn Shoulder and Elbow Service provides comprehensive care for shoulder and elbow injuries or problems. Penn’s nationally and internationally recognized orthopaedic specialists create and use the latest advances in shoulder and elbow diagnosis, treatment, surgery and rehabilitation to treat complex issues.

Shoulder and elbow problems can affect your ability to enjoy your favorite activities. Some commonly treated issues include:

For more information about the Penn Shoulder and Elbow Service or the shoulder and elbow specialists, visit or call 800-789-PENN (7366).

Penn Presbyterian Medical Center named “50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital”

Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) has been named as one of the nation’s “50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals” by Truven Health Analytics, formerly the Healthcare Business of Thomson Reuters.

The 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals annual report identifies the nation's top hospitals performing cardiovascular services, selected from more than 1,000 hospitals across the country.

The honor recognizes PPMC’s consistent leadership and quality in cardiology and cardiac surgery.  Penn Presbyterian is recognized for expertise in:
  • Complex arrhythmia management
  • Interventional cardiology
  • Noninvasive cardiology and cardiac imaging
  • Preventive cardiology
  • Vascular medicine and endovascular therapy 
  • Women's heart health

For more than a century, Penn Heart and Vascular at PPMC has provided outstanding health care services.   Penn Presbyterian's cardiac care teams work together to diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of cardiac conditions.  In addition to heart operations, PPMC’s cardiovascular surgeons also perform coronary artery bypass in high-risk patients, complex aortic surgery, heart valve repair and minimally invasive robotic-assisted cardiac surgery.

According to Harvey Waxman, MD, chief of cardiology at PPMC, the staff adheres to a process of continuous improvement to reduce surgical complications.  Even though the wound infection rate has been below 1 percent for the past several years, the staff wants to do better.  “Our goal is zero,” Waxman says.

For information about Penn Heart and Vascular at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, or to request an appointment, visit or call 800-789-PENN (7366).

Eight Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Indulging during the holidays is expected, but keep these tips in mind so the holidays don’t mark the start of a downward spiral into poor eating habits.

1. Weigh yourself
The holidays are not the time to avoid your scale. If you see the pounds creeping on, stop more weight gain as soon as you see it. Be proactive in avoiding holiday weight gain.

2. Write it down
Food journaling works best if you record your food and beverage intake as you go. Write down what, when, where and the quantity that you eat. Make sure to include all snacks and beverages even if you grab just one cracker on your way out the door.

3. Make time to exercise
Exercise helps you de-stress and clear your mind of all that you need to do this holiday season.

Walk the mall before you start shopping, take a new exercise class or practice some yoga or stretching to relax. If it’s too cold to exercise outside, treat yourself to some special cold weather workout gear. Working out in cooler weather can be invigorating, as long as you have the right clothes to stay comfortable.

4. Breathe
If you are a stress eater, consider an alternative to eating when you need a break. Just sitting silently with your eyes closed at any point during your day, or when you feel stressed, is very helpful for keeping yourself in balance. Remember, it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time: even just one minute of relaxing breaths in the midst of a busy holiday season goes a long way!

5. Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals often backfires. If you skip meals, you may overeat at the next meal, or let your hunger make bad food choices for you.

6. Learn How to Say “No, Thank You”
It’s hard to pass up goodies when they are offered. Not only are you turning down delicious foods, you may be worried that you are offending the host or hostess.

It’s okay to say no, but if you need a more creative way to say no, consider these:

  1. Thank you, but I already ate.
  2. That looks too good to eat!
  3. Thanks, but I'm getting a jump start on my New Year's resolutions!
  4. I worked out earlier, and I am trying to stay on track tonight.
  5. I'm trying to pace myself, but thank you!

7. Get enough rest
When you skimp on sleep, your body works harder to stay awake, and may lead you to make poor food choices. You might reach for another cup of coffee or a sugary snack to give you some energy. Or you might skip a stop at the gym because you are too tired. A lack of sleep can sabotage your efforts.

8. Watch the liquid calories
Holiday cocktails and wine with friends all add up to a lot of empty calories.

    One cup of eggnog – without liquor – has about 350 calories and 19 grams of fat.
    One cup of champagne has about 182 calories.
    One, 4-ounce serving of red wine has about 100 calories.

Of course, you can swap out healthier versions of classic favorites (light eggnog, for example), but alcohol can also loosen inhibitions, and lead to poor health choices. After a few drinks, you might be more likely to eat more, derailing your diet plans.