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March 24, 2000     Cape Gazette
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March 24, 2000

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42 - CAPE GAZETtE,Friday, March 24 - March 30, 2000 Surgery Continued from page 39 with Taiganides, who would remove the diseased part of the colon. "I'm very ready," said Snead a few moments before entering the operating room. "It's painful; I'll tell you that. It hurts constantly." Snead said he knew the proce- dure he was having was relatively new, and he was looking forward to having less recovery time than he would have faced with a tradi- tional open colectomy. "This is a hard way to get a vacation," said Snead, "especially when it' s not paid." Taiganides said why people develop diverticulitis is not clear- ly defined, but there are known factors that contribute to the con- dition: diets of low fiber and high fat or genetic predispositions. "Early surgeries [after the first attack] prevent complications," said Taiganides. Snead's case was very unusual, he said, because he is so much younger than most people who develop the disease. "By having this procedure now," said Taiganides as he pre- pared for the surgery, "he avoids the possibility of having a colostomy [a procedure for changing how feces exits the body so it goes to an external pouch rather than through the rectum.]" As Dr. Robert Wiltshire, anes- thesiologist, put Snead to sleep with general anesthesia, techni- cians bustled through the operat- ing room in preparation for the surgery. Soon, Taiganides was examining the inside of Snead's colon on a monitor to the side of the patient. One scope kept the inside of the colon lit and sending pictures to the screen, while the other served as the surgeon's tool. Finally, it was time for the Pneumo Sleeve to be placed on Snead's abdomen, secured by a plastic ring that would later keep the abdominal cavity protected from the air yet allow Taiganides to feel and view Snead's bowel. "There's a hard lumpy mass in here," said the surgeon as he used his sense of touch to assess the state of Snead's colon. "That's the advantage of having my hand in- here. You can do so much with feel, you don't really need to see. That's why laparoscopy has come so long to fruition - surgeons real- ly want to feel. "I can feel the disease in my hand, which is something you can't do laparoscopically; being able to stick my hand in here and feel it is invaluable." Once Taiganides isolated the diseased portion of the colon, he clamped each end of what he would remove, removed approxi- mately eight inches of colon, then reattached the two pieces. He said having part of the colon removed will not pose a problem for Snead. Eventually, he'll likely not notice any difference in his body at all. "The body adapts," said Taiganides. "He may have looser stools for a while, but it's not a serious problem." Surgery a success With any kind of colon disease, said Taiganides, surgeons will want to ensure that the disease is not cancer. To do that, the speci- men removed from the body is sent to the laboratory, where pathologists study the cells and determine whether cancer is pres- ent. Although Taiganides' initial assessment during surgery was cancer was not in Snead's colon, he was nonetheless delighted to have pathologists confirm the specimen was cancer free. Snead left Beebe three days after his surgery. Not only was Snead's recovery process going very well, being released from the hospital served as Taiganides' ver- sion of a birthday present for Snead. The hand-assisted laparoscopic technique may be used with many patients, but Stancofski and Taiganides said it is not appropri- ate for emergencies or for small children. Those who have had previous multiple abdominal sur- geries are also unlikely candidates for the new technique. Stancofski said those with his- tories of pulmonary problems are not well-suited for the proce- dure, either. "It's not for everybody," said Stancof- ski. "Anyone who has had no previous bowel surgery STANCOFSKI and is healthy otherwise is an ideal candidate." The cost of doing the procedure  is higher than for open colec- tomies, said Taiganides. With open surgeries, instruments are reusable, but with any laparoscop- ic procedure many other instru- ments are disposable. However, he noted, the overall cost involved is actually less. "Society's cost is far less with laparoscopic procedures," he said. Patients spend less time in the hospital, have reduced narcotic costs and because recuperation time is faster, return to the work force more quickly. For more information, Taiganides may be reached at Delaware Bay Surgical Service, at 644-4954. Stancofski may be reached at 645-7050. A pathologist in the hospital laboratory measures a colon specimen as work begins to gather details of the disease and determine whether cancer is present. The darkened area on the lower left side of the colon is the diseased area. Nursing assistant course begins April 4 Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens campus, will of- fer a nursing assistant course beginning on April 4. This 150-hour course teaches students to safely perform basic nurs- ing skills under the supervision of a licensed nurse. In includes an overview of basic anatomy, human needs, principles of observation and communication, emergency response, infection control and safety measures. Graduates will be prepared to take the nurse's aide compe- tency examination for certification. All nursing assistants must pass this exam to be certified to work in Delaware. Spring classes are scheduled from 5 to l0 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, through June 8. For more information, 854-6966. Funding may be available through the Job Training Partnership Act; for more information, contact Pete Loewenstein at 856-5400, Ext. 3630. What are you looking for in a hearing aid? Small size? Least background noise? Clear Sound? 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