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California woman travels to NorthShore for innovative prolapse surgery

Monday, May 15, 2023 11:35 AM

By: Susan White

“We‘re seeing great results with these procedures. It is literally life-changing, it’s amazing and so gratifying to be able to help patients like Kara.”Roger Goldberg, MD, MP, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery expert, NorthShore University HealthSystem.

Kara FordKara Ford is a super active mom who has been a fitness enthusiast, dance instructor and now teaches physical education while juggling a busy personal and professional schedule. But the California resident suffered in virtual silence from an array of bowel and related health issues for years before finding relief, thanks to innovative, minimally invasive surgery with urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery expert at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore), Roger Goldberg, MD, MP.

Ford endured severe cramping and spasms, the kind of pain that sent her to the emergency room, as well as relentless constipation and chronic bowel and pelvic health issues that got progressively worse over several years. Four pregnancies and four large babies added strain and stress to underlying problems.

“Women think it’s normal, it’s just the way it has to be and they don’t like talking about these symptoms,” said Ford, who finally hit a breaking point and knew she needed to find help. Online research and a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend led Ford to Dr. Goldberg, whom she first met in a telehealth video appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While traveling to Chicago for surgery was not exactly ideal for the West Coast-based Ford, she knew immediately she was in good hands with Dr. Goldberg. “He is very humble, but he was confident he could help me. To find a doctor who truly wants to help is so refreshing,” said Ford, who has seen more than her share of physicians.

A reconstructive surgery pioneer, Dr. Goldberg performed several procedures on Ford, including a minimally invasive rectopexy, which he developed with NorthShore obstetrician-gynecologist Ghazaleh Rostami Nia, MD, a procedure that is not currently available at other institutions.

“She had pretty severe symptoms, but her issues with bowel dysfunction and prolapse fit our expertise,” said Dr. Goldberg. Advanced pelvic floor imaging with dynamic ultrasound provides an accurate and painless way to diagnose structural bowel issues. Dr. Goldberg and Dr. Rostami created the Women’s Bowel Clinic within their Urogynecology Division in order to develop unique solutions for individual patients like Ford.

Bowel issues are incredibly common with about a fifth of adult women experiencing constipation, and around one-third of this group additionally suffering from obstructed defecation or evacuation issues, explained Dr. Goldberg.

“We’re seeing great results with these procedures. It is literally life-changing, it’s amazing and so gratifying to be able to help patients like Kara,” said Dr. Goldberg, who continues to innovate minimally invasive surgical techniques to repair a wide variety of pelvic support issues involving the bladder, bowel and pelvic organs.

“We’re delivering real fixes for some of the most vexing health problems that have all too often been ignored,” added Dr. Goldberg, who credits Dr. Rostami for leading this aspect of the division’s work. Dr. Rostami was recently awarded a prestigious grant from the National Institutes of Health to lead a national study of this procedure, which currently is still only offered at NorthShore.

Ford is beyond grateful for the treatment she received and the compassion throughout her healing process. “Dr. Goldberg is amazing and he has an outstanding team as well,” she said.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. There are new and minimally invasive treatments available for women’s pelvic and bowel issues. Learn more about NorthShore’s Center for Pelvic Health or make an appointment.