May 19, 2016 | | Los Angeles, CA
Client's rating: 5 of 5

Every morning, before her job as a business manager and personal assistant to a retired entrepreneur, Jennifer S. goes to the gym. She lifts weights, does pilates, runs on the treadmill, or attends spinning class between waking up and going to work. But for years, Jennifer had a difficult time getting to the gym as much as she wanted. She would have to spend hours each morning in the bathroom, because gastrointestinal problems meant that she couldn’t control her bowels. To make it to the gym, she would have to wake up an hour or more before she wanted to leave the house. Some days, she couldn’t leave the bathroom. She struggled with this condition for several years. It wasn’t life-threatening, she said, but it certainly had an effect on her quality of life. Previous doctors did not find a solution, but after a colonoscopy in fall 2013, a gastroenterologist referred Jennifer to Dr. Yosef Nasseri. Dr. Nasseri impressed Jennifer, she said: “He’s up on everything. He’s not stale, he’s into cutting-edge technology. I welcome that.” The diagnosis was rectal prolapse. And Dr. Nasseri had a solution for Jennifer’s problem: laparoscopic rectopexy. “I asked him, if your sister or mother was having this issue, would you recommend this surgery?” Jennifer said. “He said yes.” She wanted to get the operation done before the end of the year, so the date was set for Dec. 18. Dr. Nasseri operates at St. Johns, Marina Del Rey, Cedars Sinai and Mission Community hospitals. For Jennifer, he recommended Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City, and that’s where the operation was performed. In laparoscopic rectopexy surgery, the surgeon repairs rectal prolapse so that the rectum no longer protrudes from the anus. Stitches or mesh are used to fix the rectum in its normal place in the abdomen. The surgery is performed with “keyhole” incisions, each less than a quarter inch long, less than the size of the tip of a finger, and the doctor monitors with a tiny camera hooked up to a monitor. This means recovery is quicker and injury less likely, because less cutting is done to the body’s tissues. Jennifer said Dr. Nasseri recommended that the surgery be done via the abdomen, a good option for a young and fit patient. So it was, and the surgery went smoothly. “While I was in the hospital, he came to visit me every day, just about,” Jennifer said. “I know I was his only patient [at Mission Community Hospital]. I know he lives on the Westside. But he made it all the way out to Panorama City.” Especially because it was the holiday season, she said, she appreciated his presence. “He was great. I really, really enjoyed his bedside manner.” Jennifer spent several days in the hospital, and although she was uncomfortable, she was moving around and recovering well, so she was discharged. Discomfort and constipation lasted for a few days, but time and over-the-counter medicine helped. Due to the minimally invasive and purely laparoscopic approach, within a short time she was feeling better. For the first month, Jennifer had to eat a modified diet, and the transition back to normal food was gradual. Now, a few days shy of three months post-operation, Jennifer feels great. She wakes up twenty minutes before the gym, and no problems. She enjoys camping, as well as other activities that wouldn’t have been possible before. Future planning is more straightforward, as well: Jennifer is in her thirties, married for two years, and thinking about children. Taking care of children while having to spend up to two hours indisposed each morning, she said, did not sound possible; now, she’s much more positive about her ability to handle the schedule of a mother. “I’m totally normal now,” she said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not glad I [had the surgery].”

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