Category Archives: Obstetrics

Obstetrical questions

Don’t Have An Elective Cesarean Section

FINALLY!!!!!!  In the April 2013 ACOG Committee Meeting Bulletin, The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), which represents over 30,000 Obstetricians and is the largest OB/GYN society in the United States has stated that elective or maternally requested Cesarean Section should no longer be recommended over the vaginal delivery due to the significantly higher risks of complications associated with the Cesarean Section.

Although most women believe the C/S to be safe, it has been not been shown to be safer than the vaginal delivery and in fact has been shown to increase the risks of complications to both mother and baby.

Hopefully, we as Obstetricians will do a better job and do right by our patients and help put a stop to the over 500,000 unnecessary C/S performed each year in the United States.

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Teen Moms, Get Second Opinions on Your Cesarean Section

ASK DR NOVOA- Just wanted to clarify something. I have had two patients come in this week as transfer patients from other doctors hoping to be able to deliver vaginally after been delivered by Cesarean section. Since I specialize in the Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC), this is not unusual.

Both girls were teens when they delivered their first babies. Both were delivered by different doctors. Each was told that because they were teens they would have to be delivered by C/S because they were high-risk.

To clarify this situation. Teen moms are considered high-risk because of their age. However, teens ARE NOT at a significantly higher risk of delivering their babies by C/S just because they are teens. In the majority of cases, the inability of the patient to deliver vaginally has more to do with the doctor than the patient.

I specialize in high-risk deliveries with a significant percentage of my practice associated with teen pregnancy.

The risk in my practice of a pregnant teen needing a C/S is 5%. This compares to 35-50% compared to the national average.

The bottom line, if you stick to the recommendations of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), teens have a 5-15% risk of C/S rather than 30-50% which is what we are seeing.

So moms out there, please advise your friends and daughters to ask questions and get second opinions when you hear you need a C/S. Please keep in mind that it is estimated that 50% of all C/S in the US are unnecessary. It is up to you to ask the important questions to avoid having a surgery that not only leaves a large visible scar but puts you at risk for serious complications now and in the future with all your pregnancies.

Sincerely,

Dr. Julio C. Novoa

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Sexual and Reproductive Coercion

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recently published a committee opinion discussing the subject of Sexual and Reproductive Coercion (SRC).

SRC is a pattern of physical violence or psychologically coercive behaviors intended to control a woman’s sexual decision making, contraceptive use, or pregnancy.

These behaviors are examples of intentional attempts of others, most commonly the male sexual partner, to control the sexual and reproductive rights of a woman.

The coercion includes contraceptive sabotage, where a patient’s partner intentionally hides birth control pills, refuses to wear a condom during intercourse, makes holes in condoms, or forcefully removing intrauterine devices or vaginal contraceptive rings in an attempt to get their partner pregnant against their will.

The coercion, however, may also include pressure from family and friends by embarassing or pressuring a woman through guilt or intimidation into having a child before the woman is ready. It also includes forcing a woman to have an abortion or termination of pregnancy.

Sexual and reproductive coercion is commonly associated with sexual and physical violence. One study involving adolescent mothers on public assistance reported birth control sabotage by over 50% of their dating partner.

Recommendations in order to assist patients at risk for sexual or reproductive coercion include (1) offering  hotline numbers and referrals to local domestic violence shelters and agencies, (2) offering long-acting methods of contraception less detectable to their partners such as the IUD, the Implanon or Depo Provera Injectable. (3) When using an IUD, trimming the string inside the cervix in order to prevent the partner from feeling the string or being able to pull the IUD out, (4) Provide Emergency Contraceptive (Plan B) pills and (5) Provide harm-reduction strategies and safety planning.

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ASK DR NOVOA- Why is Board Certification in Obstetrics Not Necessary?

I recently read a blog written by a Board-certified OB/GYN commenting that she disagreed with the American Medical Association’s position on allowing non-Board certified doctors to practice medicine.
 
Although I can appreciate the need for standardization and minimal requirements in regards to training and experience, I have to strongly disagree with doctors stating that Board-certification is absolutely necessary.
 
If you review each of the Board requirements for the 24 specialties certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, you will become very aware of a recurrent loop-hole regarding true confirmation of sustained proficiency and expertise in each practice specialty.  Currently, there is no daily, monthly or even yearly monitoring of the practices of Boarded doctors, especially in Obstetrics and Gynecology.  That is to say, that once you pass your Board certification, you are under no obligation, nor are you required to be monitored to confirm that you are practicing in the manner which allowed you to get your Board-certification.
 
As an example.  The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) specifically states on it website the following “THE ABOG DOES NOT LICENSE MEDICAL DOCTORS. LICENSING OF MEDICAL DOCTORS IS DONE BY THE RESPECTIVE JURISDICTIONS IN WHICH SUCH DOCTORS PRACTICE.
 
THE ABOG IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY MEDICAL DECISIONS MADE OR TAKEN BY ANY MEDICAL PRACTITIONER WHO MAY BE A MEMBER OF THE ABOG. THOSE DECISIONS ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TREATING PHYSICIAN AND HIS OR HER PATIENT.”  www.abog.org
 
What this amounts to is that the ABOG and other Boards do not routinely monitor the practice patterns of its member doctors to confirm that they are maintaining even a “minimal level of competency, proficiency or ethics” (except maybe during a re-certification year, where the doctor may be asked to submit up to “10” patient charts for review). “10” charts???? Really???? If the average OB were to deliver only 10 patients per month or 120 per year, this represents an evaluation of only 8.3% of their practice during that re-certification year. For doctors delivering between 200-400 babies per year, the percentage of possible evaluation falls to as low as 3% in that year alone. Further, if they are allowed to “cherry-pick” their case list, it is no wonder that the ABOG may be missing up to 50% of the unnecessary C-Sections which their Board-certified members are doing per year.
 
The tragedy of this problem can best be  demonstrated by the current extraordinarily high level of unnecessary Cesarean Section (C/S) associated with Board-certified OB/GYNs in the United States.  
 
In 1967, the rate of C/S was only 5%, today it is 33%.  Despite this embarrassingly high rate of C/S, we have not seen any documented benefits in the literature when comparing the risks vs. benefits to either the baby or the mother with having such a high rate of C/S as compared to the rate during the 1970s.
 
It is estimated that 500,000 C/S per year are unnecessary with greater than 90% of them being performed by Board-certified OB/GYN doctors.  
 
In comparison, the risks of complications associated with non-board certified OB/GYN doctors, certified mid-wives and family practice OB/GYNs are much LOWER when comparing both low and high risk patients.
 
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Healthy People 2010 have all recommended the benefits of keeping a rate of C/S at or below 15%.
 
The reasons for all this are obvious.  Doctors are practicing defensive medicine and for the convenience of the doctor over the needs and benefits of the patient.  This includes both non-boarded and Board-certified doctors.  However, with greater than 90% of OB/GYN doctors being boarded, the problems with obstetrics in today’s society is overwhelmingly due to the behavior of Board-certified OB/GYNs.
 
Now, after decades of seeing what has been going on, year after year, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has finally starting to comment that there is a problem.  However, this is still too little, too late.
 
What needs to happen with all the Boards, is that doctors claiming proficiency and expertise based on being board-certified should be required to post monthly stats for the general public to review in order to confirm this level of proficiency on a day to day basis.  Until this happens, all being board-certified means is that you passed a written test and passed an oral exam stating what should be done, but not necessarily agreeing to practice that way in order to maintain your board-certification.
 
Until this happens, I refuse to be board-certified by the ABOG.  However,  I practice what I preach and I post my delivery stats online every month for the general public to review.  Despite delivering between 300-500 babies per year and specializing in complicated deliveries, such as Twin Vaginal Delivery and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC), I have a primary C/S rate of less than 7% and VBAC failure rate of less than 10%.
 
As far as CME,  I am required to have 24 per year to keep my Texas Medical License.  I, however, have earned over 1000 (yes, one thousand) in the past 3 years.
 
So, for my colleagues that are Board-certified, please help do something about the problem and stop pretending that Board-certification has the merits that you are bestowing upon it.  We all know of Board-certified doctors that routinely practice below the recommended standards and are ethically challenged.  We all know that Board-certification doesn’t keep any doctor from practicing the way they want to practice, especially in ways that make it easier for the doctor.  We all know that an overwhelming number of Boarded doctors are practicing defensive medicine (which is unethical).  We all know that very few times, if ever, does a Board-certifying body make one its Fellows produce statistics regarding their practices.
 
Until a Board-certified doctor is required to prove that not only can they pass a test, but that they practice every day the way they stated when they became Boarded, the American public is better off evaluating both Boarded and non-Boarded doctors on a case by case basis.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Julio C. Novoa, M.D.

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What is too attractive?

Hi Ladies. This FYI for all you beautiful/attractive/sexy ladies that like to dress as attractively as possible when you go to work. The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a defense of the firing of an employee by her employer because she was “irresistibly attractive” and threatened his marriage even though there was never any sexual harassment or flirtation going on.

Although the laws of Texas are different, employers can fire employees in Texas without cause. So consider the following article before going to work.

What is even more concerning is, What if the GIRLFRIEND doesn’t like you???? In this case, it was the WIFE and marriage, but what if its the girlfriend and someone he is just dating, or that he is just interested in you but has to fire you to avoid issues of sexual harassment????

Interesting…….

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ASK DR NOVOA- Cosmetics VS Plastics???? Who is better!

Dear Friends,

I have heard a rumor that at least one plastic surgeon is claiming to have been the first surgeon to bring AWAKE procedures to El Paso and that the reason I charge so low is because I use knock off implants rather than the implants sold by the Allergan Company.

Although i am very disappointed, I am not at all surprised by the unprofessional ethics and behavior of some of the plastic surgeons in El Paso.

In 2008, I, Dr. Novoa, a cosmetic gynecologist, was the first surgeon to perform an AWAKE Breast Augmentation, in the El Paso area. This procedure was created by Dr. Anil Gandhi and is a trademarked procedure .

After I began to do this procedure, many local plastic surgeons were in an uproar stating that AWAKE procedures was a surgical impossibility, that they were barbaric, that they were dangerous and were inferior to General Anesthesia. To this day, this is still commonly stated by Board Certified Plastic surgeons in the area despite the fact that they have never been trained on how to do the procedure and have no research to back up any of their comments. The reasons for their negative comments have been because of professional biases as well as economic losses.

Question, if you were a plastic surgeon charging $10,000 for a Breast Augmentation and a cosmetic gynecologist starting charging $3,500 for the same procedure and at the same level of difficulty, what would you do or say???

In 2010, because of all the negative pressure from the plastic surgeons, I created an instructional video which can be seen on YouTube.com under my name. Since this date, it has been seen 95,000 times and is considered by many as one of the best instructional videos on how to do an AWAKE Breast Augmentation. Rumor has it that even our local Board Certified Plastic surgeons have watched it in order to finally learn how AWAKE Breast Augmentation is done, which is exactly why I created it.

In 2011, that is exactly what happened, with the plastic surgeons offering AWAKE procedures despite the fact that they were doing everything in their power to stop me as a cosmetic gynecologist from doing them.

In September 2012, I published my first paper on AWAKE Breast Augmentation, called TABS or Tumescent Anesthetic Breast Augmentation. It is now considered internationally as peer reviewed paper on AWAKE Breast Augmentation.

I am currently working on two chapter in a soon to be published book on Advance Breast Augmentation and have been invited to speak in Las Vegas in January 2013 at two international cosmetic conferences on the subject of AWAKE Breast Augmentation and the use of High Profile Implants made by the Allergan Company.

Since 2008, I have performed 605 AWAKE Breast Augmentation with complication rates lower than the national average for Board Certified Plastic Surgeons.

I do not claim to be a Plastic Surgeon. I don’t want to be one, because I believe that a Cosmetic OB/GYN is a far more rounded surgeon regarding the medical needs of female patients. I consider myself to be an expert on the female sexual and reproductive specialties of medicine. I also consider myself to be an expert on complicated vaginal deliveries and Cesarean Sections.

The reason I charge lower prices is not because my practice uses inferior products, it is because I provide services based on the economical needs of the women of El Paso, Texas. How can any cosmetic surgeon claim to offer AFFORDABLE PRICES when they charge $10,000 for a procedure which is one third the annual income of most El Pasoans?????

I have put up with this for too many years. Enough is enough.

I am now asking everyone out there to help me stop this unethical behavior.

If asked, Dr. Novoa brought AWAKE Breast Augmentation to El Paso and is still the only surgeon trained by Dr. Gandhi to perform AWAKE and TABS Breast Augmentation as well as AWAKE liposuction, tummy tucks and vaginal rejuvenation surgery.

I am also asking anyone and everyone out there that has personally heard any defamatory comments made by any cosmetic or plastic surgeon about me to contact me.

I guess this is the only way to finally stop all this. What I wanted for the women of El Paso was to provide safe, effective and affordable cosmetic services. What I received back from competitors was expected but I am tired of having to deal with unethical behavior from the shadows and with them hiding behind their well-pressed white coats.

Sincerely,

Dr. Novoa

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ASK DR NOVOA- Is it ethical to plan a C-section for a contest?

Question: For the past few years, the first New Year’s Baby born in El Paso has received gifts from one of the El Paso societies.

It has actually gotten pretty competitive with a number of OB doctors intentionally scheduling New Year’s Eve Cesarean Section deliveries in order to help their patients get the prize.

However, this seems both unnatural and unfair. With an elective or scheduled repeat C/S as an option in order to win this contest, it makes it almost impossible for a patient who is trying for a natural vaginal delivery and has been laboring for hours or for days to possibly win. A C/S delivery planned out and timed for delivery can take as little as 15 minutes to perform, while a vaginal delivery can take days.

I had actually agreed to participate not thinking that it had a negative impact, but I am sincerely reconsidering. I have started to get a lot of negative comments about the contest.

As a doctor who strongly supports a woman’s right to have a vaginal delivery, especially in cases of previous C/S (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section), I worry that I am sending out the wrong message to take the easy way out and have a C/S in order to win a contest, when the fairest way is to celebrate the delivery of the first baby born by vaginal delivery rather than by C/S.

What do you think? Should there only be one contest or should the first vaginally delivered baby be crowned the first New Year’s Baby of the Year?

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