medical media marketingIn this issue, I would like to discuss one of the most important elements of medical marketing – Media Exposure. Proper media exposure can bring in a large volume of new patients very quickly and increase the branding and expertise of your practice. Gold Medical Marketing specializes in Public Relations, Medical Marketing and Media Exposure.  Generating media exposure is an often overlooked or underutilized tool in medical marketing, particularly because it requires time, follow up and, most importantly, a thorough understanding of how producers, editors and writers work.  Knowing how to pitch stories is a complex discipline. When done well, it can bring tremendous results to your practice. When done poorly, it is a great way to get the media to ignore you forever.


Generating Media Exposure

Patient Value
Many physicians have gotten into the habit of thinking that a patient’s value has peaked once their insurance provider has sent the check. While reimbursements are important, there is another element of a patient that can be used to generate other patients. The key to this is realizing when you have a “star patient”. A star patient is a patient who has an uncommon or interesting pathology, an incredible clinical outcome or a very engaging backstory. These patients are a great catalyst to generate media exposure.

The Difference Between A Press Release and Feature Story
Many people confuse what should be sent as a press release and what should be sent as a feature story. The bottom line is, when you are wrong, editors and producers hate it. Knowing the difference between the two can bring a wealth of exposure to your practice.

Press Releases
A press release is an effective way to announce an event or new initiative begun by your practice. They are short and to the point of cover the five basics the writer or producer is looking for:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why

Generally, these should be kept to 4-5 paragraphs or 400-500 words. Remember, you are not giving the full story with a press release- you are giving the relevant information in a simple and digestible format. The goal for this is to have the release run as is in a publication, or to have a journalist contact you for a full story or segment.

Press releases should also always contain:

  • Headline
  • Dateline
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Boilerplate
  • Contact information


Feature Story
A feature story is just as it sounds, a story featuring something of human interest that is longer than a press release and in a different style and tone. For medical professionals, feature stories often focus on a particular patient who has an interesting or captivating story. Also, the utilization of a new and pioneering procedure can also be the subject of a feature story but it must always revolve around the patient, not the doctor.

In most cases, the feature will be changed and modified to fit the criteria of a certain publication or news outlet. If the feature story is picked up by a TV producer they will want to interview the patient as well as the doctor, so it is imperative to make sure the patient is available and willing to be interviewed before submitting the story.

It’s Not About You
Despite your inclination to make the focus of the story or feature about your “revolutionary approach” or “vast clinical knowledge”, this is not what the viewing audience nor the journalist are interested in. The focus of the story is the PATIENT. More specifically, the hardships the patient endured, the physical or social obstacles caused by the patient’s condition, the effect on the patient’s quality of life and the resilience they showed throughout it all. The physicians part in all of this is to give an understandable clinical history of the patient as well as to describe the approach used to treat the patient. The goal is to create a human interest story that touches people.

Essentially, the patient is a proxy to generate interest in your practice and to bring new patients. When a story or feature becomes too focused on the physician the media views it as self-promoting and will almost always pass on the story.

What They Want
There are several different types of media outlets that are open to medical content including, print, radio and TV. The key is knowing what each medium is interested in and how to give them your content.

Newspapers, magazines and local websites are a great way to communicate with those in your community. In most instances, print publications are mainly interested in content that focuses on a member of the community or an initiative begun by a physician that helps the local community. Feature stories are often picked up by these outlets because stories about local residents show that the publication is in tune with the community.

Press releases regarding a new procedure or program begun by a physician are also popular. However, there is a delicate art to this. If the press release is overly solicitory the editors will pass because they are not interested in doing free promotion for a physician.

Print publications are usually funded by advertisers and the publications main goal is to generate enough ad revenue every month to be profitable. As a result of this, many publications will ask the physician to run an ad to “support” the press release or story. Essentially, this is the old “payola” model that was used in radio. Sadly, it is sometimes the name of the game. In instances like this I often evaluate the cost of the ad against the readership and distribution of the publication in an effort to project ROI.

As a marketing and public relations professional I have always been averse to radio ads. Radio is typically packed with car dealers and furniture sale advertisement. By using the same air time to promote your medical practice, listeners may equate you to the screaming voice-over telling them to what a great deal they can get on a new car.

However, this is not to say that radio is not a great way to promote your practice. One of the most effective forms of radio is sports radio. Almost every week, it is announced that a professional athlete is going to be sidelined due to an injury or will be undergoing a surgery to correct an injury. The primary question on all sports fans minds is, “How long will they be out?”. It is in this fashion that your knowledge and expertise become useful to the radio host who has to fill a 5 hour daily radio block.

Almost weekly I contact radio producers and have one of my clients go on air and discuss an athlete’s injury and general prognosis. When a listener hears the physician on air discussing the injuries of a high profile athlete it creates the perception of esteem and expertise. Also, thousands of people are listening to your assessment and hearing your name. This creates brand recognition for your practice and reinforces you as the expert in this form of injury.

Furthermore, sports radio is a male dominated audience. If your core demographic of patients is primary male this is a great way to expose your knowledge and expertise to an audience of thousands of potential patients. It also creates a sense of identity for you. Patients love knowing a physician shares their interests and is as informed about sports as they are.

This is just one example and is not to say there are not many other radio outlets that cater to women as well. The important thing is targeting an audience.

TV features are often the hardest to attain as most people are pitching TV producers over print editors. This is because as print and radio audiences wane, TV news programs have remained steady. For this reason, TV producers are getting hundreds of pitches everyday and knowing how to pitch them is key.

The key for TV producers is visuals. The producer is going to want to condense all the elements of your story into a 2-4 minute segment and although that may not seem like a long time, it is a very long time for TV. The key for a successful segment is keeping the audiences attention and to do that visuals are essential.

If you have a compelling story that interests a producer they will want footage of the procedure, footage of you with the patient, B-roll footage. All things to keep the attention of the while the story is narrated.

Also, the topic and scope of the story must be relevant to their demographic. For national shows (Dr. Oz, The Doctors, The View, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc.) their viewing audience is made up a certain demographic and the story must fit the interests of that audience. They are not always as interested in the content of the story as they are with satisfying the audience.

The Art of The Pitch
Pitching a story is either a labor of love or the bane of existence. It all depends on your relationship with the media and your knowledge of what to pitch and who to pitch to. EVERY writer, editor, host and producer has a particular way that they like to be pitched as well as certain topics that interest them. From the headline you use, to the format of your writing, to your topic, it is an art. Knowing these details is by far the most important element in public relations.

Sending pitches to general emails or publishers is an absolute waste of time. Finding out who covers health and medicine and doing the research is what gets stories placed. However, just because someone is a health or medical editor does not mean they want all of your stories. Some of them are only interested in clinical trials, pharmaceuticals, published studies, etc. Sending these reporters pitches that do not fit their criteria is the fastest way to annoy them and get ignored forever. The story has to fit their needs as well as have a connection to something that has been reported on earlier or something they are looking for.

There are countless elements that go into pitching a story and they are far too lengthy to lay out in this edition. Other factors that play into the pitch are- expert guests, making the connections, timing, research, being a trustworthy source, etc.

Gold Medical Marketing focuses on two unique efforts, Medical Marketing and Public Relations.

Generally, Medical Marketing focuses on antiquated and expensive practices that do not generate results. The reason for these shortcomings is often due to lack of understanding in the elements that attract patients. Primary care physicians and referring physicians are no longer the only source of new patients. Google, the media and physician review sites have become increasingly important elements in who a patient chooses as their specialist. They key to having these sources work for you is cohesion. All the elements of your practice, both digital and physical, must represent an attractive brand and communicate your expertise and skill.

medical marketingThe coming months are going to bring an undeniable change in the healthcare delivery system as we all know it.
The Affordable Care Act is going to shift the paradigm of patient attraction substantially. Despite the problems that have come with the ACA rollout, many patients are already seeing changes to their insurance premiums and coverages. Also, many employers are changing the insurance plans of their employees in an effort to control the costs of insuring employees.

In this changing system, medical marketing and public relations are going to become increasingly important in terms of attracting quality patients to your practice. Prospective patients are going to be heavily researching specialists to make sure they are getting the highest caliber care for their insurance dollars.

Below are four tips to help practices navigate this changing market and maintain a profitable practice.

Shifting Your Referral Sources
For many years, primary care physicians have been a steady stream of referrals for specialists and surgeons. A good relationship between a Primary Care Physician and a surgeon or group yielded quantifiable numbers of patients every year. However, independent specialists and group practices were not the only ones to notice the ocean of referrals a primary care practice could generate.

With many hospitals and larger health systems struggling to bring new business they began to integrate these referral sources into their health systems by acquiring these primary care practices. Given the resources and funds of many of these larger health systems, primary care practices took the bait and are now locked into these hospital systems. These health systems make sure that referrals are not leaked out to other unaffiliated practices and stay within their system. This has left many independent practices and ASCs scrambling to supplement this loss or referrals in other ways.

Shifting focus to direct-to-patient marketing efforts is the most important tool in supplementing this potential loss of referrals. Patients may visit a primary care practice as a first line of treatment, however they are not blindly going to the specialist their primary refers them to. Instead, they are researching who is best qualified in their local area to treat their condition. Patients decide who is best qualified by factoring in many of the efforts below including media presence, online presence and reputation.

These elements have already begun to replace the typical referral from a primary care physician. If your practice is solely focused on garnering referrals, that well may soon dry up.

Have a Public Relations and Media Strategy
Public relations and media are the most underutilized tools for attracting new patients. This is because most practices are not skilled in PR and decide to forego it altogether. However, a well executed PR and media strategy can yield incredible results and the best part is, it costs nothing.

Reporters, editors and producers are always looking for engaging patient stories or innovations in medicine. The key is knowing what type of content they are looking for and becoming a source to provide this content for them. Properly placed media pieces afford your practice a great deal of exposure and highlight what you can provide to other patients. This can range from TV appearances to editorial features to articles in newspapers and magazines.

Creating these relationships and pitching quality content will create a lasting relationship between your practice and the media. However, this is a very delicate task and there are far more “don’ts” than “do’s” when it comes to media.

Diversify Your Online Presence
A recent poll showed that a staggering 72 percent of patients found their specialist based on online research. By this point, your practice needs high quality website that provides education and information to prospective patients. However, simply having a website is not enough to ensure patients are finding your practice when searching online. Having a creative mix of online advertising, SEO and social media strategies is crucial for generating new patients.

Recently, Google updated its search algorithm to factor in your various online presences as well as what is called “Author Relevance.” Essentially, this means that Google now considers where the information is coming from and if the source is relevant to the search. It also factors in how diverse your web presence is when listing your practice. It also has begun to give lower ranking to pages that have generic cut and paste content or no unique information in regard to a topic.
What this means is that the content on your website needs to be properly maintained and updated often.

For instance, if a patient is searching “herniated disc treatment” and your practice site gives no unique information about herniated disc treatments, you are not likely to be shown as a result. If your site is not being listed you are missing out on an entire market of patients who are searching for your services.

Reputation Management
With so many patients finding information about specialists online, review sites like Vitals, RateMDs and Yelp can mean the difference in a patient making an appointment or avoiding your practice.  These review sites now serve as a seemingly unbiased look into your practice wherein prospective patients can learn about your bedside manner, skills, wait times and overall demeanor. Some of the best marketing strategies can be rendered ineffective by poorly manage review sites

Unfortunately, unhappy patients leave reviews three times more often than happy ones. For every bad review, a physician will always give me a justification of why that particular patient left a negative review. Regardless of the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of a particular review, the justification by the doctor is irrelevant. Every time a prospective patient reads that review the physician is not there to defend it. (Physicians should never directly respond to an online review) This means that reviewers perception of the physician is now undisputed and is influencing the decision of a potential patient.

Maintaining favorable review site ratings is about controlling who leaves reviews to ensure only positive reviews. Having a program within your practice to identify happy patients and asking them to leave reviews is one of the more important things you can do to maintain your online reputation.

Sometimes, negative reviews are unavoidable. However, if they are buried in a sea of positive reviews they hold far less merit. The average person is inclined to agree with the majority and if there is one negative review among countless positive reviews it is seen as baseless because it is not the prevailing opinion. This makes the negative review ineffective.

Gold Medical Marketing specializes and Medical Marketing and Public Relations for Orthopedic and Spine practices as well as ASC’s. Gold Medical Marketing utilizes the demographic and
psychographic research to create unique strategies for practices to generate more patients.

For Immediate Release
Daniel Goldberg
Gold Medical Communications

Orthopedic Surgical Services for Uninsured, Small Businesses and  Self-funded Plans

October 15, 2013 – Manhattan, NY – With the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the looming implementation of Obamacare and the glitches in the Open Health Insurance Exchange, one medical practice has offered a transparent solution to ease this confusion.  Regency Healthcare is now offering cash based orthopedic surgical services at rates substantially lower than hospital and insurance based arrangements.  This is made possible by these procedures being performed in a physician owned outpatient surgical practice..  Regency Healthcare, begun by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Haar, uses pricing transparency via its website to offer procedures for those who are currently uninsured or are members of self-funded plans.  In an effort to maximize transparency,  Regency Healthcare will be listing all prices for surgical services on its website ( and these prices will reflect the global fee which includes anesthesia and facility fees.  This is the first surgical practice in New York City to offer this model and will undoubtedly draw the ire of many local hospitals.

regency healthcareThis transparent cash based mentality is what has drawn many from America to seek treatment in India, Thailand and Mexico.  American physicians have been hesitant to adopt this model as it allows the free market to dictate the success of this endeavor instead of relying on the arrangements between health services providers and insurers.  With this mindset, Regency Healthcare allows patients to not be bound by in network or out of network restrictions and affords patients the ability to cross state lines to seek the best possible treatment, a term it has dubbed, domestic medical tourism.

About Pricing Transparency Model

Despite the efforts among government agencies and patient advocacy groups the cost of healthcare is continuing to rise.  Many patients needing to undergo corrective surgical procedures are met with administrative and bureaucratic hurdles that prevent them from getting the care they seek.  Regency Healthcare has opted to avoid these hurdles by opting out of all government and commercially based insurance plans and instead offering direct to consumer pricing.  Procedures will be priced significantly lower than hospital rates as a result of Regency Healthcare’s diminished overhead and the procedures not requiring overnight stays that incur thousands of dollars in hospital costs.  All prices listed on the practice’s website will represent a global fee including anesthesia and facility fees.

The average cost of hospital procedures is sullied with hidden fees and additional costs to the patient.  This is often done to ensure what is known as repricing between the insurer and hospital.  The average Arthroscopic Knee Procedure in a New York City hospital can range from $10,900 to $40,700 to, not including physicians fees and anesthesia.  Regency Healthcare costs will be a single fee of $4,950, all costs included.  This allows the uninsured to be able to afford treatment as well as offers a significant cost savings to self funded employers and employees.

About Regency Healthcare

Regency Healthcare is located on Manhattan’s East Side and will be offering a full gamut of surgical procedures ranging from orthopedic surgery of the knee, shoulder, elbow, hand, foot and ankle to spinal procedures.  Prices will not vary per patient or insurer but rather stand as one global fee for all patients seeking cash based surgical services.   All procedures will be performed as outpatient procedures at Regency Healthcare’s fully accredited surgical facility in Manhattan.

Patients who intend to travel for surgical services will have the benefit of prearranged rates at local hotels as well as car service provided by Regency Healthcare.


Regency Healthcare is located at:

1735 York Avenue
Suite P1
New York, NY

Gold Medical Marketing CEO, Daniel Goldberg, speaks about Direct to Patient Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and Effective Physician Referral Marketing. Filmed at the June 2013 Becker’s Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management Conference in Chicago, IL.

Video  —  Posted: June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

online reputation management medicalPhysician review sites like Vitals, RateMd and Yelp have become increasingly important in the digital medicine revolution.  Patients are relying more and more on the input of other patients to help them make decisions on a medical specialist.  In most instances, prospective patients are finding a physicians website and then cross referencing their services with review sites to solidify whether or not they should make an appointment.  Ensuring your online reputation is managed properly has become a science in and of itself.

Sadly, review sites have become a Pandora’s Box for disgruntled consumers.  One study showed that dissatisfied consumers are 3 times more likely to leave a review than satisfied customers.  This is likely due to the cathartic feeling many consumers may feel after bashing a product or, in your case, a physician.  After that review has been posted many feel vindicated in knowing they may have permanently damaged your reputation by leaving an indelible smudge on your online reputation.

So, how do you avoid this seemingly inevitable pitfall?  First, let’s review what NEVER to do in regards to reviews.

Directly Responding To A Negative Review

For many physicians seeing a negative review immediately puts them on the defensive and they feel the need to publicly refute these claims.  This is one of the worst mistakes you can make.  Publicly addressing this gives other potential patients the idea that you are petty and self-righteous.  I know it may be hard to sit idly by while a patient misrepresents a series of events or experience with your practice.  However, going on the message board and defending yourself lets patients know you can more about your online reputation than you do your patients.

Inherently, we know your online reputation is important but the potential patient can never know that.  Your results and reviews have to seem organic and not micro managed or orchestrated.

Instead, try and do the research as to what patient left that review.  It may take some looking through your records, but with some digging you can usually narrow it down.  Once you have established who the patient is, reach out to them directly whether it be via phone or email.  Let them know that you saw their review and that you are aware of their disappointment and vigorously apologetic.  Offer to rectify the complaint with another consult at no cost or recommending another specialist for them.  Do not be afraid to be personal and say things like, “As a medical professional my primary concern is my patients.  Seeing reviews like this really makes me evaluate my bedside manner and helps me improve my demeanor for future patients.”  

The most important thing to convey is that their grievance has been taken into consideration and will help you in the future.  Many times the patient will supplement their original review and note that you reached out to them personally.  Many others will remove the review altogether.

Patients Can Smell It From A Mile Away

Most physicians believe that a slew of gleaming 5 star reviews is the best way to capture new patients from a review site.  Wrong.  By nature, most people are inherently skeptical and pessimistic.  Many only visit review sites to validate their preconceived notions of a product or service.  Sadly, no one believes in perfection.  If patients see nothing but overwhelmingly positive reviews about you they are going to become suspicious.

This may seem counterintuitive as 5 stars is always better than 4 stars.  However, it is a matter of plausibility.  A 4 star review is often more plausible if the only complaint was something a patient would reasonably expect.  

For instance, an effective 4 star review would be:

“Dr. Smith was great.  He explained why I was in so much pain and took the time to go over all of the things I could do at home to relieve my pain.  We also discussed surgery but he wanted to wait and make sure we had gone through all of the conservative treatments first.  My only complaint was that my appointment was at 5:30pm but I was not seen until 5:45pm.  Other than that Dr. Smith was great and I would definitely recommend him.”

You lost a star, but it is negligible because the review was so positive.  The only complaint was a longer wait time than expected.  However, this is nothing new to anyone who has ever been to a physician’s office.  The key here was plausibility.  As a potential patient, I believe this person is real and I believe their assessment of their interaction with you because of the slight imperfection.

Leaving Fake Reviews

Many practices have taken to leaving fabricated reviews that reflect positive reviews of patients that never existed.  Although this may seem like a good idea it is irresponsible in terms of ethics.  I know it seems like an easy way to bolster your reputation but I urge you not to engage in this shameful practice.

Also, many review sites have become savvy to this tactic and have begun tracking ISP’s to determine whether or not these reviews are valid.  If a review site sees an abundance of reviews being left from the same ISP and location it may flag your page.  If prospective patients find out you have been lying about your reviews they are also going to wonder what else you may be lying about.  Your credentials?  Your skills?  Your expertise?

Furthermore, there are legal ramifications for leaving fake reviews:

The FTC has the following guidelines for patient reviews:

  • All reviews must be truthful and not misleading in any way

  • Even paid endorsements are considered to be deceptive if they make false or misleading claims

If the FTC or BBB find that your practice has been posting fake or deceptive reviews online, or that they are being compensated for the activity, you could face a hefty fine.

This is also true for leaving negative reviews on competing physicians review sites.

Many review sites, such as Vitals, will allow you to hide or remove 1-2 reviews that you feel are invalid or fake.  Other sites allow you to contest a review if you can prove that it is not genuine.  It is always best to attempt to hide these reviews first as attempting to deal with the Customer Service teams on these sites is an exercise in futility.  Generally, their response is that they are not responsible for the reviews left on your page as long as the site has deemed them to be credible.  “Credibility” is usually based on a proprietary system that the site uses to crawl reviews.  

Another thing to be aware of is that Yelp has a filtering system that posts some reviews and not others, according to a recent article.

“My wife, a Realtor, had a similar experience: ‘They seem be wary of first-time reviewers. If your first review is negative then they let you post other reviews, but if your first review is positive then they remove it. The same goes if all your reviews are positive.’

She went on: “I called Yelp after a business associate posted a positive review about me which was later removed. They hinted that if I advertised on Yelp this may not have occurred.”

A case can be made that this borders on extortion.

A Practical Solution

With many of my clients I have faced the daunting task of cleaning up their online reputations after years of mismanagement.  In response to this I created a simple process that has worked incredibly well.

I created a card that is slightly bigger than a business card that physicians give to a patient as they are leaving the office.  This card thanks them for coming in, includes the practices phone number and also encourages them to leave a review on one of the physician review sites and includes a short link to each site.  

The most important thing about using this system is what I call “The Moment”.  This occurs when the patient is exiting the exam room and you know that they are ecstatic.  It is at this point where you need to break the confines of the doctor patient relationship, look them in the eye, shake their hand and genuinely thank them for coming in.  During this time is when you say to them, “I am truly thrilled that you are so happy.  Here is a card with my number on it.  If you need anything please do not hesitate to call.  Also, if you want to leave a review just take a look at the back of the card.”

The patient is so flattered by your handshake and sincerity that they are now exceedingly likely to leave a positive review  The key is to encourage the right patients to leave reviews.  These are the patients that you know are happy and are willing to go the extra mile for you.  The success rate of these cards is astounding but it is predicated on your ability to captivate them in “The Moment”.

Online Reputation Management is just one of the many factors that are imperative to increasing your patient volume.  At Gold Medical Marketing we implement creative Marketing and Public Relations practices that cater to your specific specialty and demographic.  

Too often we see companies implement a “one size fits all” model.  Inevitably, these do not produce patients and are a waste of your time and money.  The key to increasing patient volume is demographic and psychographic research mixed with innovative Marketing and Public Relations strategies.

For Immediate Release
Daniel Goldberg
(973) 287-7916
Gold Medical Marketing

Mark Drzala, MD Named as Top Doctor by Castle Connolly and US News and World Report

Summit / Montclair, NJ – April 29 –  Mark Drzala, MD has been recognized by Castle Connolly Medical, Ltd., as a Top Doctor in the field of Spinal Surgery.  This recognition is considered one of medicines most esteemed awards and is bestowed by Castle Connolly’s physician led research team.  This award also indicates that Dr. Drzala is among the top 10% – 15% of spinal surgeons in the area as well as the surrounding metropolitan area.  His practice, New Jersey Spine Specialists, has locations in Summit and Montclair, NJ and serves patients throughout New Jersey and New York.This award is also coupled with US News & World Report, which acknowledges Dr. Drzala’s credentialing as being among the top 10% to 15% of physicians in his field nationally.  US News & World Report serves as the national leader in physician ranking and reviews. 

About Mark Drzala, MD

Dr. Mark Drzala is a Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Orthopedic spine surgeon and has been in practice since 1998.  Dr. Drzala is conservative by nature and typically exhausts non-operative treatment options, whenever possible, before considering surgical intervention. Patients participate fully in the decision making process regarding their care with treatment regimens tailored to meet each patient’s needs. Dr. Drzala graduated Cum Laude from Rutgers University. He then received his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical School, where he also completed a residency in orthopedic surgery and was elected Orthopedic Administrative Chief Resident. Dr. Drzala acquired comprehensive experience with the complete spectrum of spinal disorders during his spine fellowship at St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center in San Francisco, California (presently affiliated with Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California). He serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School within the Division of Spine Surgery, with whom he has served and been affiliated since September of 1998. He is a member of the North American Spine Society, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, New Jersey Spine Society, American Medical Association, Orthopedic Surgeons of New Jersey, Medical Society of New Jersey, and the Essex County Medical Society, where he has been elected and presently serves as a councilor. Dr. Drzala is also affiliated with Overlook Hospital in Summit, Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, and with St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. He serves as a member of the Mountainside Hospital Medical Executive Committee and was elected and serve as the Treasurer for the medical staff at Mountainside Hospital.  

About Castle Connolly

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a healthcare research, information, and publishingcompany whose mission since its inception more than two decades ago is to helpconsumers find independent, trusted information about quality healthcare and TopDoctors on both the regional and national levels. Castle Connolly currently publishesthe acclaimed consumer guides America’s Top Doctors®, America’s Top Doctors® for Cancer, Top Doctors: New York Metro Area and other books to assist consumers infinding the best healthcare. In July 2011 US News & World Report created a strategic collaboration with Castle Connolly to list Castle Connolly Top Doctors on their national online edition of US News’ Top Doctors.  This listing is available here and here

Dr. Kevin Yao is Using Gamma Knife Treatment to Treat Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is widely known throughout the medical community to be the most painful condition a patient can suffer.  In fact, the pain is often so excruciating that the condition is referred to as the “Suicide Disease”, a result of patients falling into such a deep state of suffering and depression that they often end their lives.  The typical patient with longstanding trigeminal neuralgia suffers social deprivation due to constant fear of an episode. One report showed that 50% of patients who suffered this condition for more than 3 years ended their lives.

trigeminal neuralgia cureThe disorder is characterized by episodes of excruciating, dagger-like facial pain on one side of the face that lasts from a few seconds to several minutes or hours.  Normal activities such as eating, talking, or brushing one’s teeth can often elicit the horrific pain. At its worst, even a light breeze across the face can trigger a severe pain attack. Consequently, patients often stop eating, talking, brushing teeth, and going outside for fear of an attack.

Traditionally, medical treatment is the initial treatment of choice. Inevitably, patients develop tolerance to medications, and often require invasive treatment such as surgical destruction of the trigeminal nerve or open brain surgery to relieve pressure from the trigeminal nerve.  In either technique, patients can experience side effects or complications such as facial numbness, facial paralysis, hearing loss, or worse.

Now, Dr. Kevin Yao, of Metropolitan Neurosurgery in Englewood, NJ is treating this condition with staggering success using a non-surgical technique known as Gamma Knife Radiosurgery.  This is the same type of treatment that has yielded high success rates for those with brain tumors and lesions.  Using this pioneering new procedure, Dr. Yao can achieve excellent durable pain relief in the vast majority of patients with a single, outpatient radiation treatment to the trigeminal nerve.   This approach does not require a surgical incision or traditional anesthesia. Patients typically experience complete relief of their pain shortly after the treatment and return to all their normal activities of eating, drinking, and enjoying life.

Dr. Yao is one of only a handful of physicians across the country using this revolutionary technique.  His expertise and involvement in the development of Gamma Knife Procedures is what has allowed him to use this treatment so effectively.

About Dr. Kevin Yao

Dr. Kevin Yaois a Board Certified Neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of conditions of the brain and spinal cord. He obtained his medical training in New York at Columbia University (M.D.) and at Mount Sinai Medical Center (Neurosurgical Residency). Dr. Yao then completed a fellowship in complex brain and spine tumor surgery at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He joined the Neurosurgical faculty at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, where Dr. Yao served as Co-Director of the Brain Tumor Center, Director of Spinal Oncology, and Director of Stereotactic Radiosurgery (Gamma Knife) at Tufts Medical Center. He subsequently returned to New York, where he maintains a busy private practice in New York City and suburban New Jersey.

Dr. Yao also holds the position of Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he continues to be actively involved in teaching and research. Dr. Yao strives to maximize each patient’s quality of life by restoring and preserving neurological function.  Dr. Yao has also published numerous book chapters, abstracts and articles and is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

About Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery uses focused beams of radiation to target malignant brain tumors and conditions of the brain.  With Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, specialized equipment focuses as many 200 tiny beams of radiation on a tumor or other target. Separately, beams have very little effect as they pass through the brain tissue.  However, a high dose of radiation is delivered to the site where all the beams meet making it incredibly effective.  

Traditionally, for those with brain based conditions, an open surgical procedure was needed to excise the offending malignancy and the complications were abundant.  For others, large doses of radiation were applied to the entire brain.  This blanket approach led to what is known as “Radiation Toxicity”, which caused patients to lose IQ points and have permanent functional impairments. Gamma Knife Radiosurgery causes no Radiation Toxicity and is performed on an outpatient basis.