Vanessa Elliott, M.D. – Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Division of Urology


[ Music ]>>My name is Vanessa Elliott, I’m an assistant
professor of surgery in the division of urology. I specialized in female urology and voiding
dysfunction. I was totally inspired by my mom, I had a mom who has chronic illness my
whole life as I was growing up. My mom was always this really tough person who had this
drive and she never gave up, growing up in our household there was no…you didn’t give
up o anything, you worked your hardest, you just stuck it out and that’s what you did.
When I went through medical school I had a mentor here who was a urologist and I was
with him one day seeing patients in clinic and I saw all these poor women who were having
problems with incontinence and they were telling these stories of how they suffered for 10,
15 years and they were too embarrassed to talk to their doctors. That’s kind of what
drove me into urology, I see people at all ends of the spectrum but most commonly here
I tend to see patients who have tried a lot of things and have not had a lot of success,
maybe they’ve had a few surgeries even before they’ve come to see me. There’s some therapies,
a treatment option for urgency, frequency and urinary incontinence, it’s a trial of
therapy. You get to have a small procedure done whether it’s in the clinic or in the
operating room, you get to try the device for anywhere from depending on how you implant
the leads to up to three weeks and you get to see if you like it. And if you do like
it and you have good responses to the device then we permanently implant basically a pacemaker
type device. [Inaudible] get the device turned on and it lasts for three to five years and
just as if you had a pacemaker for your heart you would have the battery changed every 3
to 5 years. It’s such a small procedure but they get such a huge benefit when it works
for them. Some of my patients come to see me and they’re exhausted because they wake
up every hour at night, they never get any sleep, they’re in the bathroom all the time,
they’re incontinent. It can be life changing in the sense that they may get a full night’s
sleep, maybe not have to get up from their desk ten times a day to use the bathroom while
they are at work. A lot of women they don’t know if they want to go through surgery to
fix something like incontinence so when the come back and they say I wish I would have
done this ten years earlier it makes me feel really good the I did something to really
improve their quality of life. [ Silence ]

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