Meet Dr. Nikola Alex Letham – LewisGale Hospital Montgomery

Meet Dr. Nikola Alex Letham – LewisGale Hospital Montgomery


(upbeat music) – I’m Dr. Nikola Alex Letham. I am an OBGYN here in
Blacksburg, Virginia. I’m with LewisGale Hospital Montgomery practicing with Virginia women’s health. (upbeat music) I’m a DO which is a Doctor of Osteopathy that varies a little bit from an allopathic physician or an MD. The idea is as an osteopath, we examine the body
more as an entire system and how it all can affect
each, each little bit. I think that excellent
patient care involves both understanding the condition
affecting the patient but also how it impacts
the patient’s life. And that treatments need to be tailored to each individual patient. Both understanding how that treatments going to affect the patient, but also focusing on the optimal benefit to the patient’s health. I think it’s important
when evaluate a patient that we look at the whole health. One’s mental health, emotional health all plays in part
throughout our whole body, and a lot of chronic
medical conditions can both impact mental and emotional health but also be impacted by
mental, emotional health. We’re understanding that
a lot of chronic pain can exacerbate depression, but also that depression can feed back
worsening pain syndromes. And so it’s important to
just not ask a patient how’s your pain, but really understand how that pain is impacting their lives. Is it impacting them in other ways such as their relationships, their job, and what impact those symptoms are having. A lot of women who have heavy bleeding, just don’t have heavy bleeding, it impacts their social life, it impacts how often they can go out, it impacts them at work, it impacts them mentally,
socially, sexually, and so when you are just thinking oh well, you know, you only
have bleeding for five days that doesn’t sound like so much; but when a woman can’t go out to dinner for a whole week every
month because she’s afraid that something is going to happen or, you know, you have to plan
vacations around your period because you’re afraid
that it’s going to be bad that’s a lot more impactful. And so I find that when
you really ask patients how a condition affects their lives, it helps us understand and also then the planned treatment, what kind of improvement
you are looking for. Because what we are really looking for is not just treating a symptom, it’s to make the patient’s life better. I really enjoy gynecology because it let’s me take care of a patient throughout their entire life. Starting in adolescents and throughout the changes of
the reproductive life span into menopause and really
providing that care for a patient’s entire life span and really being involved
in every aspect of that. There is a lot that
happens in a women’s life after they are done having babies. And as they approach menopause there’s a lot of changes and there’s a lot of different
ways we can address those. Hormone replacement therapy
used to be very taboo, much less so. We know that their are some benefits. There’s a lot of new treatments coming out as far as selective estrogen
receptor modulators or SERMs that allow us to target
specific parts of woman’s body such as her bone health or vaginal health to increase benefits to the
patient and minimize risk. There’s advances in what we can do to treat perimenopausal bleeding
like endometrial ablations. So surgical techniques we can
do to decrease those problems in that perimenopausal time frame. (upbeat music) Obstetrics and Gynecology is unique because we are medicine doctors, but we are also surgeons. Gynecology is very exciting to me because of that surgical aspect. The ability to perform a
procedure, to perform surgery. Medicine is always changing. Most recently during my training was the introduction of
da Vinci robotic surgery. And using it for more, more applications inside of gynecology. So not only hysterectomies, but also surgery for endometriosis,
surgery for fibroids, major advance was
gynecological cancer surgery. That allows a lot of women
to have their cancer surgery without needing the massive
incisions that they used to. Medicine is always changing and there’s always new devices
and new techniques emerging. Some stuff that is in the field currently that’s being explored is radiofrequency ablation of fibroids. Something that there are
a few centers exploring. Infertility is always evolving, In vitro fertilization,
embryo freezing, egg freezing are recent advances in that, that have allowed couples
to preserve their fertility. Pre-genetic diagnosis as part of in vitro so actually doing genetic testing on embryos before they are implanted for couples that are at high
risk for genetic problems to screen those embryos is a relatively more recent evolution of that. I really do enjoy doing da
Vinci robotic hysterectomies for patients who have had
multiple prior surgeries like C-sections which
are becoming more common. It let’s us dissect against scar tissue, increases visualization and generally helps us stay laparoscopic instead of having to make an incision. I’m excited to bring here to
LewisGale Hospital Montgomery is robotic gynecological surgery. So the ability to perform more
minimally invasive surgery, decreasing hospitalization time, decreasing complications and helping patients recover quicker. (upbeat music)

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