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Health Checkup: September 25, 2008

September 23, 2008


Fred Funk  (Mitch Stringer/PressBox)
Whether you're a scratch golfer or just a weekend duffer, chances are too much time on the course has led to "golfer's elbow," one of the most common golf injuries. Don't let an injury keep you in the clubhouse this fall. There are a few simple exercises to help build up forearm muscles and avoid golfer's elbow.

• Squeeze a tennis ball -- just a few minutes at a time helps strengthen your forearm.

• Wrist curls -- with a lightweight dumbbell, lower the weight to the end of your fingers, and then curl back into your palm, followed by curling up your wrist to lift the weight.

• Reverse wrist curls -- with hands palm side down, lift the weight up and down using your wrist.


Adequate and appropriate nutrition is important for the health and performance of young athletes. Exercise involves the repeated breaking down of tissue and then rebuilding it "better" than it had been previously. Eating the right amount of the right food is imperative to this rebuilding process. Listed below are a few strategies to finding the right food.

• Avoid processed or enriched foods.

• Eat foods of a variety of colors each day. The different colors of foods indicate they contain different nutrients.

• A well balanced diet for young athletes should primarily be carbohydrates for energy.

• Choose nutrient dense carbohydrates such as whole grains, pasta, fruits and vegetables and avoid energy dense carbohydrates such as candy, cookies and foods with added sugar, fructose, etc.

• Include a moderate amount of proteins as children and athletes need a greater amount of proteins than adults and non-athletes to assist in the rebuilding of tissue.

• Frozen fruits and vegetables retain more nutrients much better than canned.

• Fats, preferably unsaturated fats, are necessary in small to moderate amounts well.

• Avoid partially hydrogenated oils, otherwise known as trans fats. The government allows products to say zero grams of trans fat even if it contains the very unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils, so read ingredient labels carefully.

• Vitamins and minerals are necessary in small amounts. Best sources are in fruits and vegetables. Supplements may be okay, but check with your doctor first.

• Avoid fad diets.

• Food preparation is important to maintain nutrients so you should minimize the amount of fried foods in your diet. Steam food rather than boil it.


Link of the Week

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers information on everything from common sports injuries to choosing the right orthopaedic surgeon.

So You Want Your Vasectomy Reversed, Huh?

Dr. Karen E. Boyle, Director of Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, Sexuality and Aesthetics at Chesapeake Urology Associates answers your questions.

Q: My life has taken an unexpected twist and I want my vasectomy reversed. What can I expect?
A: A vasectomy reversal is a microsurgical procedure that reestablishes the communication of sperm into the ejaculate.

Q: How do the two vasectomy reversal procedures differ?
A: A vasovasostomy is a reconnection between the two ends of the vas deferens. Sometimes an epididymovasostomy is performed which connects the vas deferens to the epididymis.

Q: Which procedure is right for me?
A: The decision depends on  whether or not sperm are present in the fluid from the testicular side of the vas deferens. This fluid is collected and examined at the time of surgery.  The decision of which procedure to perform is decided upon based upon findings at the time of surgery.

Q:  What can I expect on the day of surgery?
A:  Vasectomy reversal is performed on an outpatient basis. Operating time is 3 to 4 hours, under general anesthesia, and patients can go home the same day.  Strict rest at home is required for 2-3 days after the surgery, with most patients taking at least 1 week off from work.  Complete recovery takes 6-8 weeks, and strenuous activity is avoiding during this time. 

Q:  What does the success of the procedure depend on?
A:  Two things will affect the outcome: the skill of your surgeon, and the presence or lack of sperm found in your fluid at the time of surgery. The most important thing you can do is choose a surgeon who is an expert in vasectomy reversal.

Q: When will I be “back to normal”?
A: You can resume ejaculation at 2 weeks postop, and it is recommended to do so to help keep the reconnection open.  The first semen analysis is taken at 6 weeks post-op. It may take up to 6 months for sperm to return to the ejaculate following a vasovasostomy and up to 1 year following an epididymovasostomy.  The surgery doesn’t effect sex drive or erections at all.

Q: What if my sperm never return to adequate levels?
A:  The majority of men have a successful procedure, with >95% of men having normal return of sperm to their ejaculate.  For the few men who don’t have normal return, sperm retrieval and invitro fertilization are options.

Karen E. Boyle, M.D. is a highly experienced, board-certified urologist specializing in vasectomy reversal, and one of the few surgeons who can perform the more challenging epididymovasostomy. Dr. Boyle graduated from Harvard with honors, and completed her training at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Today, Dr. Boyle is in practice at Chesapeake Urology Associates.

As the largest urology practice group in Maryland, Chesapeake Urology combines the expertise of 40+ top physicians in 20+ convenient locations throughout the state. CUA offers expertise in treating prostate cancer, testicular cancer, erectile dysfunction, vasectomy and vasectomy reversal. For details, call 1-866-955-0002 or visit

Issue 3.39: September 25, 2008