Monday, June 16, 2008


For patients suffering from back pain due to lumbar spinal stenosis, each day can be a struggle. The painful symptoms include aching back and leg pain worsened by prolonged standing and walking. Thankfully, a new minimally invasive procedure, the X-STOP Interspinous Process Decompression (IPD) System, has recently been developed to treat pain caused by this disease.
The X-STOP IPD System is the first alternative to conventional spinal decompressive surgery shown to significantly decrease symptom severity and improve physical function. The X-STOP device is a titanium metal implant designed to fit between the spinous processes of the vertebrae in the lower back.

The device is inserted through a small incision during a short procedure and will remain safely and permanently in place without attaching to bone or ligaments. The device keeps the space between two spinous processes open, so that when you stand upright, the nerves will not be pinched or cause pain. Dr. Chambers, Neurosurgeon at UAB Hospital and Medical West, said, "Because it is a minimally invasive surgery, the procedure is associated with a low rate of complications and a rapid recovery."

Dr. Chambers is a Principle Investigator of the COAST trial, a study to evaluate the long term outcomes of the X-STOP therapy, and one of the few surgeons in the Birmingham area who performs this procedure. For more information about lumbar spinal stenosis and the X-STOP IPD System, please visit Appointments in the Neurosurgery Clinic may be scheduled with a referral from a primary care physician by calling (205) 481-7938. A referral and prior imaging studies are required for an evaluation.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When dieting and working your way to healthy weight loss, it is important to know how many calories you are taking in, so you can compare this to the number of calories you are burning when you exercise. I have found this website,, to be so helpful in keeping track of what I'm eating. All you have to do is login, then find and click on the foods you have eaten for a particular day. The website tracks the amount of calories you are taking in, plus it calculates extras like carbs, sodium, fat, and more. You can also track how much you are working out, and what you are doing to burn calories. This is great if you want to begin a healthier lifestyle, and the website makes it easy to calculate your success!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eating the Heart-Healthy Way

Learning a few basics can lead to a lifetime of healthy eating. Follow these tried-and-true heart-smart eating guidelines:
  • Start with portion control. Even healthy foods can make you fat if you eat too much of them. Follow these guidelines: a meat portion should be the size of the palm of your hand, and a serving of fruit, vegetables or grain is the size of your fist.
  • Eat more fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and grains. Eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day reduces your risk of heart disease. Fruits and vegetables add heart-healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals to your diet. Whole grains are another rich source of fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels and control weight.
  • Be conscious of your fat intake. Fat occurs naturally in foods such as meat, dairy products, oils and nuts. Most of the fat in your diet should come from heart-healthy sources--fish, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, olive and canola oil--instead of butter, mayonnaise and lard. Remember that all fat, regardless of the source, contains calories. The American Heart Association recommends that 30% or less of daily calories come from fat, including 7% or less of daily calories from saturated fats and less than 1% from trans fats.
  • Choose heart-smart fats. Fats are not all the same. Saturated fats and trans fats need to be limited because they raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels; trans fats do further harm by lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. This increases the risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have the opposite effect. They lower LDL and raise HDL cholesterol levels. Consuming them instead of saturated fats and trans fats lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Drink more water. This is especially important when you add more fiber to your diet. Water is filling, and has no calories.
  • Read food labels. That's where you'll find information on calories, fats, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, sugar and other clues to a food's nutrients.
  • Cut back on refined sugars. Sugar lurks in many foods you might not suspect--such as cereals, breads, crackers, cured meats, peanut butter, frozen dinners, ketchup and other processed foods. "Fat-free" foods are often loaded with sugar. Check labels for the many names of sugar. These include molasses, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, maltose, honey, maple syrup and turbinado.
  • Watch the salt. Sodium (salt) may increase blood pressure in some people. Canned foods, meal mixes and frozen meals are often loaded with sodium. Watch out for colas and other sodas too.
  • Look for AHA approval. Keep your eyes open for a heart-check mark on food packages. The mark indicates that the item has been certified by the American Heart Association (AHA) as a heart-healthy food.
  • Know the source of your calories. Proteins and carbohydrates each have 4 calories per gram. Fat has 9 calories per gram. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram--and no nutrients.
  • Shop smart. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Processed foods often contain more fat, sodium and sugar--and fewer nutrients.
  • Be flexible. If you want chocolate mousse at dinner, cut back on something else earlier in the day. If you crave a few potato chips, go ahead--once in a while. Moderation is the key to lasting success.

For more information, please visit, or the American Heart Association.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's Tee Time!

Polish your clubs and get your swing ready, because the annual Medical West Golf Tournament is right around the corner!

Medical West Hospital will host their annual spring golf tournament to benefit the Western Health Services Foundation Thursday, April 17, 2008. The event will be held at Bent Brook Golf Course with a 1:00 p.m. shotgun start.

The Western Health Services Foundation, a support organization of Medical West, is a charitable foundation established to assist in the healthcare needs of the community. In the past, funds from the foundation have been used in nurse recruitment efforts and in developing a Surgical Transitional Unit at Medical West.

Medical West is encouraging companies to either participate in the tournament or sponsor the event. All participants will enjoy a day of golf, a great lunch, tee gifts, and a chance to win lots of great door prizes, including a large cash prize for a Hole-in-One!

Last year’s tournament was a huge success, and we hope to have another great turn out this year.

For more information, please contact Haley Montgomery, Marketing Director at
481-7272 or Marianne Beard, Marketing Specialist at 481-8502.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Flu Season is in Full Force!

That awful time of year, known as flu season, is now here and showing its ugly head! Many cases of the flu have been reported in Alabama, so beware! If you haven't had your flu shot, or even if you have had your shot, make sure to WASH YOUR HANDS frequently, and take your hand sanitizer with you, wherever you go! Visit this site: for more information on what you can do if you start to feel the dreaded symptoms of the flu.

Friday, February 1, 2008

New Heart Monitoring Technology Offers Early Detection

Do you have a pacemaker? Do you suffer from abnormal heart rhythms? If so, you may be the perfect candidate for a new technology called home monitoring. This term basically means monitoring of your heart while you are at home, or anywhere else.
BIOTRONIK® is a leading biomedical technology company that offers this home monitoring device. The device is equipped with special transmitters that will send medical and technical information from your pacemaker straight to your physician within 3 minutes. This allows your physician to monitor you and evaluate your condition as much as possible.

The information about your heart is forwarded to your physician at regular intervals, and can be viewed on a secure Internet site. Using this new technology, your physician will be able to view an overview about the progress of your illness and treatment. Your physician will be able to detect any changes in your status, and will allow him to make any adjustments to your treatment plan. If you experience any sudden changes with your heart rhythm or implant, your physician will be immediately notified via e-mail, fax or cell phone text message. The device has the capabilities to detect heart beat irregularities, paces or shocks delivered by your implant.

Although most physicians encourage patients to place the transmitter on their night stand so it will monitor their heart while the patient is sleeping, the device may be taken with you anywhere.
Dr. Hess, Cardiovascular physician at Medical West, recommends the home monitoring to many of his patients. He said, "This device has helped me to better treat many of my patients due to the frequency and accuracy of the data I receive. It is amazing how technology has advanced, and this is such a valuable medical tool."

For more information or to see if you are a candidate for the home monitoring device, please call Dr. Hess at 481-7557.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Spa Services Near You!

The first of its kind in the western Birmingham area, Medi-Spa West is a physician directed center focusing on both timely and affordable personal enhancement. Medi Spa West is located in the heart of Bessemer on the campus of Medical West, just a stone’s throw from the interstate. Medi Spa West offers an experience where medical expertise and spa pampering combine to form a personal rejuvenation experience.

Spa Services Offered Include:

  • Facials
  • Massage Services
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical Peels
  • Paraffin Treatments
  • Waxing Services
  • Make-up Applications and Lessons
  • Tinting Services
  • Body Treatments
  • Laser Services (hair removal,
    skin rejuvenation, etc.)
  • Medical Services (Botox,
    varicose veins, injectable fillers)

For more information, please call Medi Spa West at (205) 481-8890 or visit their website at