Local College Baseball Coach Undergoes Surgery to Get Back in the Game

Mike Kennedy, head baseball coach at Elon University

Mike Kennedy, head baseball coach at Elon University. Photo courtesy of Elon Sports Information Department.

Over the course of two years Mike Kennedy of Burlington, NC, experienced constant pain in his right hip. As the head baseball coach at Elon University he was having trouble doing his job. Simple things like getting into various positions he was trying to show his players were difficult and painful. Mike decided he needed to make a change before the start of his eighteenth season as coach.

Mike, being only 45 years old, thought he was too young to need a hip replacement. However, his active past playing baseball, including time as a minor-league catcher, running for exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle, in combination with his size (6’-2”, 210 pounds), may have led to his hip’s early deterioration.

Mike visited Scott Kelley, MD, orthopaedic surgeon with North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic, to find out what his options were for managing his hip pain. Dr. Kelley explained he needed surgery, but that Mike would know when it was time. He had tried Cortisone shots with some relief, but his hip finally told him it was time andMike had it replaced June 9, 2014. “It started restricting my everyday life because I’m active on the baseball field. If I had a desk job I might have waited longer, but for what I do I need to be able to move.”

While a hip replacement is a serious procedure Mike wasn’t uneasy before his surgery because Dr. Kelley came highly recommended. “I knew a couple people who had surgery by him before so I wasn’t nervous coming in.”

According to Mike, “Pre-op went fine. Dr. Kelley and his physician’s assistant Jamey (Messersmith) came in to check on me, Anesthesia came and then I woke up on the unit. The people at Duke Regional were nice, and the care was outstanding. I had surgery at 8 a.m., finished around 10 a.m. and was up walking by 1:30 p.m. The next day I had physical therapy, passed the test for discharge and was sent home. I only spent a little over 24 hours in the hospital.”

Mike’s first week after surgery was admittedly rough and included pain and stiffness. But since then, he has been getting better and better. He has been back to work watching games and feels close to normal. He’s also participating in outpatient physical therapy to help with his recovery.

Mike hopes to be back to his old self in eight months to a year. Just in time to add another winning season for the Elon University baseball team to the record books.

BlueCross BlueShield Policy Change for Bariatric Surgery Patients

BlueCross BlueShield North Carolina has eliminated their requirement that weight loss surgery patients complete six months of documented weight loss before being approved for surgery.

Both future patients and patients who are currently undergoing medical weight loss visits will now become immediately eligible for surgery, provided they have completed the other requirements in the bariatric surgery process, including psychological and nutritional evaluations, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram test, endoscopy, lab work, and sleep study.

Duke Medicine’s Ranjan Sudan, MD, serves as president of the Carolinas Bariatric Society. He and colleagues led the effort to unite bariatric surgeons in the Carolinas in support of this change. “What we have accomplished will positively influence all our patients,” he says. With this change, patients will be able to move to the surgery stage quicker than before.

Current patients at the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery are encouraged to call the clinic (Durham 919-470-7000; Raleigh 919-862-2715) to check their status and to ensure they have completed the requirements as set by the new policy.

To learn more about weight loss surgery at Duke, please visit www.dukewls.org.

Spotlight on hernias

Jin Yoo, MD

Jin Yoo, MD

Hernias are common conditions that general surgeons see and treat on a daily basis. Surprisingly, they are often misunderstood from what they are and how they are treated from a public’s eye. A hernia is essentially a defect some place in the body where there shouldn’t be a defect. A defect may be a hole that shouldn’t be there (ventral/incisional hernias) or a hole that is naturally present but enlarged (hiatal, inguinal and parastomal hernias). Internal organs and intestines can traverse the defect and get partially or completely stuck, which can cause pain, or worse yet, strangulation of the internal organs that can lead to serious complications and even death. Therefore, if someone is diagnosed with a hernia, the general medical recommendation is to get it fixed unless the surgeon provides a compelling reason NOT to fix it. A common misunderstanding of hernias is that patients (and even some physicians) believe the hernia is the actual bulge the patient sees on the body, and they want this removed or cut out. Unfortunately, the bulge is actually the internal organ(s) that are bulging across the hernia defect, and therefore, that is not how hernias are treated. Hernias are fixed by correcting the defect.

What makes hernias even more complicated is that there are many types and they have their own special names. Here are some common hernias:

1) Inguinal hernia – this is a defect that arises from three potential sites in a person’s groin. Depending on the site, they are classified as indirect, direct or femoral.

2) Ventral hernia – this is a defect that arises on a person’s abdominal wall. Again, depending on the actual site and/or their cause, they are classified by names such as spigelian, incisional, epigastric and umbilical, to name a few.

3) Hiatal hernia – this is an enlargement of a naturally occurring hole in the diaphragm where the esophagus traverses from the chest into the abdomen before it turns into the stomach. The enlargement leads to the protrusion of the stomach up into the chest cavity resulting in reflux and obstructive symptoms when eating.

Again, the management of hernias is to surgically fix them as soon as a person is diagnosed with this condition UNLESS there is a compelling medical reason not to by the surgeon. Therefore, a surgical consultation is always recommended. The techniques by which hernias are fixed may drastically differ, but the general approach is to (1) put the “bulging” content back to its original location and to (2) fix the defect by closing up the hole or closing it down to its normal size.

To learn more about hernia surgery at Duke Regional, click here.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Duke Regional Hospital among the best in the state

Duke Regional Hospital has been ranked among the best hospitals in the state by U.S. News & World Report. Duke Regional tied as the sixth best hospital in North Carolina and third best in the Raleigh-Durham Metro Area that includes Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill. The annual U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, now in their 25th year, recognize hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

Duke Regional has also been named a high performer in the following specialties:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology & GI Surgery
  • Geriatrics
  • Gynecology
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery
  • Orthopaedics
  • Pulmonology
  • Urology

U.S. News publishes Best Hospitals to help guide patients who need a high level of care because they face particularly difficult surgery, a challenging condition or extra risk because of age or multiple health problems. Objective measures such as patient survival and safety data, adequacy of nurse staffing levels and other data largely determined the rankings in most specialties.

To view the full rankings, click here.

Learn how to quit tobacco for good

no smokingDuke Regional joined other Triangle healthcare organizations to become tobacco free July 4, 2007. All tobacco products are prohibited on hospital property, including parking lots and sidewalks. Our commitment to providing a tobacco-free environment ensures the health and well-being of our patients and their loved ones.

On August 1, 2012, Durham County adopted new regulations for smoking in public areas making the City of Durham and Durham County smoke-free. The ordinance affects city and county grounds (including athletic fields, bus stops, parks and playgrounds), public transportation, sidewalks and other public areas.

If you use tobacco, but need help quitting, here are some tips from QuitlineNC.com:

  • Identify reasons you want to quit. Do you want to quit for your family, to improve your health or to take back control of your life? Think about what motivates you.
  • Get support. Success rates are much higher for tobacco users who have support while trying to quit. Identify a family member or friend who can help, or call QuitlineNC (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for support.
  • Set a date. Set a quit date and tell your family, friends and co-workers so they can support you in your attempt to quit using tobacco products.
  • Get rid of the temptation. Remove all tobacco products from your home, car and anywhere else you may want to use them.

For more tips and support in quitting, visit QuitlineNC.com.

Treatment for abnormal heart rhythms

Duke Regional Hospital’s team of skilled experts is ready to treat all types of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

Arrhythmias may be caused by many different factors, including coronary artery disease, electrolyte imbalances in your blood, changes in your heart muscle, injury from a heart attack or heart surgery. Irregular heart rhythms can also occur in healthy hearts as well.

At Duke Regional, arrhythmia services include radiofrequency ablation, implantation of automated internal cardiac defibrillators (AICDs), pacemakers and biventricular AICDs to return your heartbeat to a normal rhythm.

A dedicated electrophysiology laboratory is available for cardiac electrophysiology procedures, which check the heart’s electric signals. These electric signals determine how fast your heart should beat. If your heart rate is too fast or too slow, we will test it to find out why this is happening.

Learn more about Tim Donahue, heart rhythm specialist at Duke Regional Hospital.

How to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet this summer


By Elizabeth Villalta, MS, RD, LDN
Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery

The average person needs four servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and summer is the perfect time to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet because so many are in season. You can use fruits and vegetables to spice up a recipe, or if you have picky eaters, hide them in a recipe. However you do it, eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to boost the nutrition of any dish. Many fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber, which helps carry cholesterol out of the body. They also contain vitamins needed for everyday health, including the antioxidant properties of vitamins A, C, and E. Flavonoids and carotenoids give fruits and vegetables their color and also act as antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help fight off free radicals created in your body that can cause cancer. Here are some ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet this summer.

Fruit glazes or marinades: Blueberries, cherries, peaches, apricots and raspberries are all fruits that pair well with the savory flavor of meats and BBQ sauce. The juicy acidity of the fruit will help tenderize your meat. Check out recipes for a blueberry bourbon BBQ sauce and for peach chutney.

Fruit salsa: Peaches and mango can be a sweet addition to your salsa this summer. Peaches and mangos not only contain vitamins, but also an array of minerals that act as cofactors to keep normal body functions going. Try out this recipe for avocado-mango-salsa.

Grilled fruit and vegetables: Kabobs are a quick and easy way to combine fruits and vegetables together in the same meal. You can put onions, pineapples, peaches, bell peppers and tomatoes on a skewer and throw them all on the grill for a sweet and savory meal. Try this for dinner, honey chicken kabobs.

Soup: Cold soup in the summer is an easy way to beat the heat. You can make traditional gazpacho with tomatoes, or switch it up with a watermelon gazpacho that gives the perfect balance between sweet and salty. Try this recipe for watermelon and cucumber gazpacho.

Smoothies: For picky eaters who do not like vegetables, try adding kale or spinach to a fresh smoothie. The sweetness of the fruits hides the flavor of the greens. Kale and spinach add additional potassium, calcium and iron. Here is a recipe for a blueberry spinach smoothie.

Vegetable puree: For picky eaters who do not like vegetables, adding a puree of individual or mixed vegetables will help increase the servings you need daily. The best vegetables to puree are steamed or boiled carrots, cauliflower, yellow squash, broccoli, zucchini and spinach. Pulverize any combination of these vegetables and add them to sauces, casseroles, soups or stew. Try out barbell burgers or cauliflower puree.