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Dr. John: Rotator cuff surgery, stem-cell transplant, birth-control pills

11:17 AM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
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Question #1
I am getting ready to have rotator cuff surgery. Game ready makes an ice unit that constantly runs ice water through a cuff and the cuff also contracts. It is supposed to help with pain and inflammation right after surgery. Have you heard of this? What are your thoughts? Thanks Theresa

Answer
The device you are talking about is used to provide continuous cooling and compression to the affected body part. Both of these are important parts of the recovery process, if done correctly. The important part is to remember that the surgeon has a set recovery program which might involve such a device. But in some cases they might not want you to use the device based on the kind of surgery that was done. Talk with the surgeon before the surgery and ask if devices like this are something you can use. If not, then don't use them as they will interfere with the program your surgeon uses successfully for your best recovery. If you can use them, than make sure you only use them as directed, applying it for only the amount of time recommended by your surgeon. It's important that you and your surgeon agree and stick to the same program to ensure the best recovery possible.

Question #2
Hello, I had a life saving Stem Cell Transplant last June 9, 2011. I've had minimal problems with graft vs. host so far but was wondering if these potential problems go on for years? All my blood work is normal, I'm Cancer free and my energy levels are near normal. I'm so grateful!!! Thank you, Danna

Answer
Any time a transplant is done there is a chance for a graft versus host reaction. This reaction occurs when the donor's immune cells attack the recipient cells, thinking they are foreign to the body and need to be eliminated. This can result in a variety of symptoms ranging from a dry mouth, to fatigue, jaundice or abdominal pain. The chances of this happening depend on how closely matched the donor and recipient are. If they are close, like identical twins then the chances are small. But the further away they are genetically, the greater chance there is for a graft versus host reaction. This reaction can either be acute or chronic. Acute reactions typically happen within 3 months of the transplant. Chronic reactions tend to start after the first 3 months but can continue for a lifetime. For both types there are treatments available that can successfully keep graft versus host reactions at bay.

Question #3
Hello! Are there any problems associated with taking birth control pills continuously, skipping the sugar pills, to keep from having your period? Thank you! Miranda

Answer
Although this method can work to minimize period bleeding it has many caveats associated with it. If it's done correctly then the danger from this method is low. Its risks will be similar to overall birth control pill risks. The other big risk is break through bleeding. There are versions of birth control pills that are made for this very thing. But even with these the important point is to make sure you are doing it correctly. That means working with your doctor and making sure you are not only using the right type of birth control pills but also are using them in the correct way. Otherwise you risk increasing your chances of getting pregnant.

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