Why urologists are great surgeons

Every day, I am so grateful to be a urologist. Does that sound weird?! I’m sure it does! Why in the world would someone want to be in a field dealing with…you know what! But it is such a great field of surgery! We have lots of interesting and rewarding cases, and urologists are true professionals and usually genuinely nice people to be around. And you have to have a good sense of humor in this field!

Unless you work in surgery in some capacity, you probably have no idea what sort of training is involved in each surgical field. I don’t think I fully understood until I was a surgery intern. I just knew that I liked the idea of being able to “fix” someone’s problem and that it would take many years to get good at it. For urology it took 6 years, working 80-100+ hours per week.

The beauty of urology is that we start in General Surgery and rotate through everything from major trauma cases to belly cases to heart surgery. We get to see and help out with some major surgery. The adrenaline is really pumping when you have a patient crashing in the ER and you have to help stabilize them and rush them to the operating room!

When we then progress into our specialty of urology, we still have major cases and trauma but they are all focused on the urinary tract: Gunshot wounds to the kidneys, ruptured bladders from car accidents, machete wounds to the testicles, and even a penis that got caught in a machine and half the skin got pulled off. We can handle all of this.

Major cancers of the bladder and kidney require the urologist to have either specialized skills with the laparoscopic robotic instruments, or the courage to make a major incision in the flank or abdomen. We know how to make completely new bladders out of the intestines. These cases can take all day and require a laser-focus attention to detail as you progress through the countless steps of the surgery.

On the other hand, urologists do the most delicate surgeries of all, even down to microscopic surgery. In pediatric surgery, we repair birth defects on baby penises. In the field of infertility, we bring in powerful microscopes to do vasectomy reversals with sutures as fine as an eyelash.

Since we are dealing with pelvic organs, we have to be able to operate deep in the pelvis, often working by feel if the visibility isn’t good. We use scopes and lots of different tools to creatively remove tumors and stones. The technology is incredible and is always improving.

And believe it or not, there is an aesthetic aspect to urology. One of my colleagues would say after completing a well-done circumcision: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever!”

On top of all of that, urologists have to have the personality to help patients open up about very private things. That’s why successful urologists are often very friendly and funny!

I love the field of urology and my urological colleagues, and I want you to know that you can trust that your urologist, whether it is me or someone else, has had great surgical training to take good care of you!

To your health,
Dr. Christi

I Have Always Loved Back-to-School Time…Am I Crazy?

It’s that time again. Time to say goodbye to the lazy days of summer and hello to the structure and routine of a new school year. As a lifelong student, I have always loved back-to-school time, even though it means summer is over. A new school year is a fresh beginning and an introduction to new challenges to conquer.

As I send my own children back to the classroom, my hope for them is that they greet the new school year with open minds, and commit to doing their best work. This will be a challenge for my 10th grade son and 8th grade daughter, but it is also an exciting time in their school journeys.

I’d like to share with you my own school journey, because it was such a strong influence on the woman I have become. And, it’s the reason I have the honor and privilege of being a physician.

I have always wanted to be a doctor. Ever since the age of 3 (with the exception of some brief moments I dreamed of being a veterinarian or a traveling mathematician), I knew what I wanted to do. My husband often reminds me what a blessing it is to have a clear calling on your life…to know what you were designed to do. Throughout my education, I had that goal in mind.

In elementary school, I was tested and placed in the gifted and talented program, where I was able to study topics in depth and be challenged. One assignment I remember fondly was a project on sloths. There wasn’t much information in the local library about sloths, but I wanted to study something different and unique. It was a welcomed challenge!

When I got to middle school, I began to fall in love with math and science. I had some great teachers who inspired and pushed me as I advanced through my academic journey. Algebra was actually really fun for me, and I also enjoyed tinkering with my Radio Shack electrical kit and chemistry set.

High school was the really great stuff… Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, Calculus, Geometry, Trig.  I made aspirin in Chemistry class, and I thought that was so cool. My teachers were great and my Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia is still exemplary to this day. I’m so glad my parents made it possible for me to go there.

My regret is that I didn’t apply myself more in high school History class when I had the opportunity. As a teen, I just couldn’t appreciate it like I do now. But it’s never too late to learn, and I am currently reading the Hamilton biography. History is so important and this book is so fascinating. I was inspired to read it after I saw the musical about Hamilton, which I loved.

When it was time for college, I applied to Georgia Tech basically because my boyfriend was going there. Sad but true. We broke up even before we graduated high school, but it worked out great because I was awarded a full Presidential academic scholarship to Tech. I decided to study Chemical Engineering/Pre-med because I loved chemistry and calculus and thought it would be a fun challenge. I also figured that if medicine didn’t work out, I would have a good fallback career option.

College was great. I had a great group of friends in my sorority, and Georgia Tech was in a golden age of sports. Back to school meant those glorious football Saturdays and brand new books, mechanical pencils, and engineering paper. I enjoyed Chemical Engineering but it was super challenging, especially toward the end, after I had already been accepted to medical school. There were some really great classes, and I did the chemical engineering lab coursework in London, but my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I really had to grin and bear it at the end, and I was so glad to “get out” of Tech, as we like to say. I graduated with honors and moved on to my dream: medical school.

I was in heaven when I got to medical school! You may not know much about the University of Alabama School of Medicine, but it is an excellent medical school. The editor of the most widely used internal medicine textbook was from my school, and the surgery program was tops in the nation. During my time in medical school, I would sit for hours learning every intricacy of the human anatomy, and I delighted in learning all the mysteries of the body. It is so fascinating.

When I wasn’t studying, I made money by transcribing lectures for my classmates if they missed a class. I also did basic research, trying to find a new cure for cancer, and I won a competitive and prestigious Howard Hughes one -year fellowship grant to focus on my research. It was fun, but I realized I really love interacting with patients more than research.

Finally, the last mountain in my educational journey was residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. This was the very best urology training program. The professors were outstanding, and the breadth of experience was unmatched: I learned trauma at Ben Taub, general urology at the VA, pediatric urology at Texas Children’s Hospital, microsurgery at St. Luke’s and cancer surgery at Methodist. I also spent one year on cancer research, and I received the research award that year. During my last two years, I studied under two of the preeminent urologists who specialize in female urology, and learned a tremendous amount from them. It was an incredible 6 years.

I continue to learn as much as I can about my field by reading journals and going to seminars. It is essential to stay on top of all the medical knowledge, especially as a specialist, and I love to find the latest research and information for my patients. Learning never ends.

If you are a teacher or have children going back to school, I hope you have a great school year!

Cheers to a healthy you!
-Dr. Christi

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Looking back and looking forward

This is the four year anniversary of our beautiful little office!   We launched Houston Female Urology four years ago on 7/7/14.  I can hardly believe it.  So far we have over 5,100 patients in our practice!  We are very busy!  I cannot be more excited and grateful for the year that we have had and the year ahead!

In our fourth year we have continued to pursue the cutting edge of urology and urogynecology.   We added the new EMSella chair which is a simple and effective way to treat urinary incontinence and overactive bladder.  Patients are loving the EMSella!

I have pioneered the non-mesh robotic bladder lift.   The results have been as good as mesh.  While I still use and love the mesh repair, it is nice to be able to offer another option to patients who request it.   My robotic success rates remain in the 99% range with 0% conversion to open.

I’ve added platelet-rich plasma as an option to treat incontinence and orgasm dysfunction.  This is an exciting new form of regenerative medicine which is done right in the office.

We have launched a new website which has much more information on it to educate and inform.   It is really beautiful and user-friendly and can be found at ChristiMD.com.   A little shorter website name!

I’ve started offering free monthly webinars to educate patients and they have been very well-received.   This has been a great way to get the word out about new procedures and have private seminars to answer patients’ questions confidentially.

We have a new Physician Assistant, Shannon Bernbaum, who graduated with top honors from medical school.  She is a great addition to the practice.

The best part:  My whole team remains committed to providing excellent and personalized medical care.   I am honored to work with an incredible group of women who are completely dedicated and professional!   Patients are consistently impressed with my staff and it makes me so happy!

Finally, I want to honor and thank God for allowing me to be a part of what He is doing to restore and renew women’s health.  I rest in His power and grace and know He has good plans always for us!

Cheers to a healthy you!
-Dr. Christi

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Platelet-Rich Plasma for bladder leakage and orgasm

Have you heard about platelet-rich plasma yet? It is the hot new thing in medicine. It is used in orthopedics to heal joints, in the face to rejuvenate the skin, and now in the vagina to help improve bladder control and orgasm. It is a very exciting breakthrough and I have figured out how to inject it pain-free.

If you have problems with mild bladder leakage and/or weak orgasms, then platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can help you!

Platelet-rich plasma is derived from your own blood. When you first come in for the procedure, we will draw out your own blood. (This is the most painful part of the procedure.) Your own blood is then processed in a centrifuge to be able to concentrate and extract the plasma from the top. This plasma is yellow and it is filled with not only platelets, but also with growth factors which promote healing and rejuvenation. This is really good stuff!

Meanwhile, your vaginal area is being numbed with a cream for about 20 minutes. After that I use my special technique to inject the platelet-rich plasma painlessly. Patients are amazed, especially patients that have had the injection elsewhere and did NOT have a good experience.

Afterwards, there is minor bleeding and minimal pain. You may have a mild vaginal discharge for a couple of days, but the recovery is very easy and you can get right back to regular activities.

Over the next few weeks, the growth factors will be in there building new collagen, new blood vessels and new nerves that help you control your bladder better and improve your orgasms! God created sex and designed it be enjoyable between a wife and her husband. Yet many women struggle with weak or no orgasm. Do not feel ashamed to ask for help in this area. It will help you enjoy your husband and your life even more.

Call 281-717-4003 for an appointment.

All the best to you and many blessings,
Dr. Christi

Mother’s Day … It’s All About You, for a Change

Mother’s Day is YOUR day, so make sure you celebrate! After you spend the holiday with your children and family, it’s time to do something just for yourself. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is a renewed sense of self. How do you do that? Well, you can start with making sure you are in the best health possible, and that includes your feminine and intimate health.

Being a mom is wonderful, and you wouldn’t trade it for the world. But, let’s be honest: giving birth probably left your body in a worse physical state than before you were pregnant. Childbirth and the natural process of aging leave many women with reduced vaginal function and bladder control. Does this sound familiar? Vaginal dryness, laxity and reduced sensation are very common for moms, as well as problems with urine leakage.

Dr. Christi has a solution: ThermiVa

Think of it as a non-surgical Mommy Makeover for your feminine health. ThermiVa is a painless in-office treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to gently heat vaginal tissue and regenerate collagen. The treatment targets both the internal and external areas of the vagina to improve function and return appearance to a more youthful state. It turns back the clock on your feminine wellness, to the way it was before your children were born.

May is a busy month for Dr. Christi, with lots of moms scheduling their Mother’s Day gift to themselves. Call our office at 281-717-4003 to schedule your consultation for the best gift you can give yourself: a renewed you.

Cheers to a healthy you!
-Dr. Christi

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