Advanced Women's Care of the Lowcountry: Offering Options for Today’s Women
Author: Bobbi Hahn | Photographer: John Brackett
Dr. Katherine Coley & Tracy Blusewicz
Hair and Styling by Anna Kendrick of a Beautiful U Salon
Did you know there’s a medical practice right here in the Lowcountry specifically tailored to meet the needs of today’s busy, multi-tasking women? With offices in Hilton Head and Bluffton, Advanced Women’s Care offers all the “usual” OB/GYN services—infertility, prenatal, labor/delivery, postpartum, surgery and lifetime gynecological care—in a serene setting featuring soothing music and tasteful artwork. In addition, the talented trio of providers, Tracy Blusewicz, M.D., F.A.C.O.G, Katherine Coley, M.D. F.A.C.O.G. and Jennifer Burks, certified nurse midwife (CNM), along with their support staff, provide on-site lab services, ultrasonography, urinary incontinence testing and several other in-office procedures. These timesavers and office hours beginning at 7:30 a.m. are indicative of the level of patient-oriented care available. “We have lots of families where we’ll have the mother, the daughter, the grandmother, and they’re all coming to us for different reasons, but they’re all here,” said Blusewicz, who founded the practice in 2007.
Did you know a hysterectomy no longer means a sizeable surgical scar, several days of hospitalization, and six to eight weeks of recovery time? (Now that all of the men have run screaming from the room, ladies, we’ll get down to the details.) While no woman wants a hysterectomy, when she and her physician have determined surgery is her best option, there is now an incredible alternative: laparoscopic hysterectomy. This is not your mother’s hysterectomy. Three tiny abdominal incisions (each only a quarter to one inch) are all that’s needed. Using a laparoscope (a thin, lighted tube with a camera) a surgeon peers into the abdomen, viewing the internal organs on a high-resolution monitor. A few other instruments are used to delicately separate the uterus from ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterine blood vessels and cervix. The uterus is removed through those same tiny incisions, or sometimes through the vagina. The incisions are closed with glue.
“The main benefit to laparoscopic hysterectomy is that the patient gets to go home the same day from the hospital, so it doesn’t require an overnight stay; and it has a much quicker recovery time—usually one to two weeks,” said Blusewicz. Result? Less pain, virtually no scarring, fewer medications, and a speedy recovery. “It’s really amazing, to see them come in a week later and they just feel great; they’re moving—it’s awesome,” Burks said.
Of course, this procedure is not for everyone; women with severe medical conditions will still need the traditional surgery, but laparoscopic hysterectomy is a welcome alternative for many. Advances in non-surgical solutions for the problems of heavy bleeding, fibroids, etc., have eliminated the need for hysterectomy from the lives of other women who, in years past, would have had no such alternative.
Did you know that approximately 20,000,000 American women experience urinary incontinence? Actually, the statistics vary widely—from 15,000,000 to over 40,000,000, depending on the source—and those figures are probably inaccurate due to under reporting by women too embarrassed to discuss the subject with their physicians. Dr. Coley adds that when she used to ask women if they had any problems or issues, most would not mention UI. Now that she asks directly if they have any leaking of urine, she finds that “shockingly, probably 40 percent of the time they’ll say, ‘Oh, yes I do actually.’” As we’ve given birth and/or grown older, many women have come to accept UI as something unpleasant we just have to live with. Let’s face it; we’ve all commiserated with one another while sharing stories of that telltale dribble following a cough or laugh. And those Poise commercials featuring Whoopi Goldberg as famous women in history with a “spritz” problem are amusing, but when a woman’s lifestyle is affected because she can’t sit through a two hour movie or wear light colored clothing, something needs to be done. Treatment can be those famous Kegel exercises, nutrition education, physical therapy or medication. Even weight loss sometimes helps. But when those measures don’t solve the problem, surgery can be the answer. One would expect to consult a urologist, but these days it’s common for an OB/GYN to perform the procedure; after all, their focus is in the same southern geographical region of a woman’s body, right?
Jennifer Burks, Tracy Blusewicz, and Katherine Coley
Simply put, a single incision is made in the vagina and a sling composed of synthetic material adds support under the urethra, preventing urine leakage from the physical stress of coughing, sneezing, jogging, etc. This corrective surgery normally lasts from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on whether more than one procedure is needed. It’s done on an outpatient basis, with a total recovery time of about six weeks, although women are generally “feeling like themselves in just a few days,” according to Blusewicz. “What I find is that people do not like to talk about urinary incontinence until it’s fixed. Then they’ll be out there shouting about it because they’re so happy that it’s made such a difference!” she continued.
Did you know that a certified nurse midwife can assume all duties associated with prenatal care, labor and delivery (except ultrasound and surgery) that were formerly the exclusive realm of doctors? Consequently, when an Advanced Women’s Care patient goes into labor in the middle of the day, there’s no need for all of the women in the waiting room to reschedule appointments, because CNM Jennifer Burks is there to save the day. Of course, Blusewicz and Coley also see patients during prenatal visits, and all three deliver babies, but the office schedule was specifically designed with the aforementioned scenario in mind—just another example of the comfort and convenience a woman can expect when she becomes a patient.
Infertility, gynecology and obstetrics: all are dealt with each day by the dedicated, talented trio of Blusewicz, Coley and Burks at Advanced Women’s Care. These three women are devoting their lives to providing local women—throughout their life spans—with the very best in women’s healthcare. What greater calling could there be?
Advanced Women’s Care of the Lowcountry, PC is located at 60 North Main Street, Suite A on Hilton Head Island and at 29 Plantation Park Drive, Suite 401 in Bluffton. Hours are Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. For appointments or more information, call (843) 341-3996. Visit online at advancedwomenscare.net.