Vol.1, No. 7 – December 2002

Welcome to our December email Update.

A note from Dr. Tobin

All of us here at the Center want to wish you a wonderful and healthy Holiday Season. This has been a great year for us and we certainly hope it has been for you as well. As always, this is a busy time for us at the Center. I want to express my sincere appreciation to my staff at the Center, Rudy, Nina and Kim in surgery; Sandy and Marissa up front – all are really wonderful and all very special. Of course not enough can be said for Dena who is such a great asset and such a caring person. Our anesthetists, Robert and Mike provide wonderful and skillful service to our patients undergoing surgery. Finally, my wonderful wife Gail who keeps us all on course as well as giving me constant guidance and support. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all that they do for me and for our patients.
Holiday scheduling

So many people want to have their surgery at this time. While we try to accommodate our patients as much as possible, we apologize to those of you who could not get the day you were seeking. We do encourage patients who are planning surgery during the holidays to schedule at least six to eight weeks in advance.
Communicating by email

A recent report in the Kiplinger Monitor indicated that 90% of adult Net users would like to communicate with their physician by email. On the other hand only 20% of doctors seem enthusiastic about this form of communication. Where there are certainly limitations to email communication. We feel it is an excellent means for our patients to stay in touch. Granted there are concerns regarding confidentiality. Until more secure means are developed and readily available, patients must realize that information send over the Internet is not totally confidential. Nevertheless, the overall risk of communication by this means is probably quite low.

For the past two years, we have offered email/telephone consultation. Patients who wish to take advantage of this send general information and pictures by email, after which a telephone consultation is scheduled. We also get a lot of follow up questions by email after patients have come in for initial consultation.

As you might imagine, our phone stays very busy, with so many of our patients coming from long distances, patients with routine concerns or questions will often find it more convenient to make initial contact by email. With our ready access to the Internet, we try to check email frequently during the days we are in the office. An exception is the days that we travel – usually Wednesday, but occasionally on Tuesday. Even on those days, we do check our mail in the evening assuring that you will be contacted the next day. Of course, if a problem is urgent, call us on the phone, especially if we don’t respond to your email within a few hours. Our general email address is drtobin@newlook.org, but you can reach Dena Purvis, out patient coordinator directly at askdena@newlook.org. This is usually a faster way to get general information about scheduling, fees or appointments.
Aging hands revisited – fat injections

The hands can be real giveaway to age, and for years patients have requested procedures for rejuvenation in these areas. For surface aging and blemishes, light peels have proven helpful but we have not had a very effective means of replacing lost volume in the back of the hands. Years ago, we had some success with silicone injections, but the treatment was so slow that patients usually failed to return for enough treatments to make a reasonable improvement.

Fat injections have been used for this purpose for many years. Unfortunately, as is often the case with fat injections, there was so much reabsorbtion that the treatment was generally felt ineffective. Newer techniques of injection many change that. The concept of low suction extraction of fat coupled with micro-reinjection has been reported to greatly improve the take of the fat grafts. Additionally there have been reports that long term success with fat grafting in the hands is better than in other areas of the body.

We are cautiously utilizing the procedure and our initial impression has been favorable. Only time will tell if the results will be long lasting. Hopefully this will represent a new and important means of improving the appearance of aging hands.
Abilene’s airport gets a new look

Recently, Abilene completed a major renovation of the regional airport. As most of our out of town patients already know, it isn’t easy to fly into Abilene. Our only air service is an American Airlines commuter from DFW airport. In the past, passengers arriving in Abilene boarded and exited the aircraft by stairs to the outside. New we have two new covered boarding ramps along with an upgraded terminal. We are hoping that this will lead to better service for the community.

Even with the poor service, many of our patients do arrive by air and we hope that you will enjoy the upgraded terminal. To make your welcome a little more friendly and personal, we have contracted for a special welcoming sign for out patients. Pat Shapiro of Flying Colors of Naples, Inc designed the sign. Pat has a full service agency and can be reached at 239-434-0685. We think she did a great job!

That’s it for this month. Please keep your questions and comments coming. We want this to be as informative as possible and your input surely helps.


Howard A. Tobin, M.D., F. A. C. S.

For general information: askdena@newlook.org or n41gt@newlook.org