Business Briefs: New laparoscopic procedure at hospital

Dr. Amir Saffarian

Dr. Amir Saffarian, M.D. performed the first laparoscopic
radical nephrectomy procedure at Saint Louise Regional Hospital
March 8. Dr. Saffarian performed a laparoscopic radical nephrectomy
on a female patient suffering with a cancerous kidney.
Dr. Amir Saffarian, M.D. performed the first laparoscopic radical nephrectomy procedure at Saint Louise Regional Hospital March 8.

“It is very wonderful to see physicians like Dr. Saffarian take the lead with minimally invasive techniques such as a laparoscopic nephrectomy for our hospital and our community,” said Joanne Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We continually encourage our physicians to keep current with the latest advanced techniques and technology, while providing compassionate care for our community.”

Laparoscopic nephrectomy is a minimally invasive procedure which removes a non-functioning or cancerous kidney and provides patients with significantly less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stay and a more favorable cosmetic result than that of open surgery. A laparoscopic camera is inserted through a small umbilical opening and instruments are placed through tiny openings along the abdominal wall. The kidney is removed through the umbilical opening, avoiding a large, visible scar.

Dr. Saffarian and Patty Sebald, Director of Surgical Services, both agreed that the success and efficiency of this surgical procedure was due to the teamwork displayed between Dr. Saffarian and the Operating Room (OR) staff. Dr. Jude Roussere, M.D. also assisted in the case.

“It was clearly a very collaborative effort,” said Patty. “Dr. Saffarian communicated exactly what he needed well in advance and the staff was there to support and assist. Everyone was very thrilled to be performing the first of this procedure at the hospital.”

Dr. Saffarian is an expert in the field of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. His services consist of general urological services, which include female urology. “I am proud to be working with a hospital that is committed to the health and well being of the local community,” Dr. Saffarian said proudly. “I really believe being up-to-date on the latest technology and equipment is vital. As physicians, we all should strive to do this.”

A Bay Area native, Dr. Saffarian is Board-Certified in Urology. He completed his residency at the University of California at Davis and completed medical school at Ohio State University, College of Medicine in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Saffarian completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley.

Mental health director, former client honored

Santa Clara County Mental Health Director Dr. Nancy Pena, who has dedicated the past three decades to advocating for children and adults facing mental health issues, and Frank Avelar, one of the people who has faced those issues in his life, will be recognized for their dedication and courage at Community Solutions seventh annual Helping Hands and Healing Hearts Awards Luncheon. The luncheon.

Community Solutions will hold the luncheon from 11:15 a.m. 1:30 p.m., Friday at Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. Tickets are $55. Details: Lisa DeSilva at (408) 776-6212 or [email protected]

Each year, it is our honor to recognize two individuals who embody our agency’s mission of creating opportunities and changing lives. Both Nancy and Frank are truly worthy of being honored,” said Erin O’Brien, CEO, Community Solutions.

Dr. Pena has spent her entire career improving services for, and treatment of, individuals who are challenged by mental health issues. “Nancy’s commitment to social justice and her tireless efforts to improve the quality of mental health services in our county and beyond make her a very deserving recipient of the 2010 Helping Hand award,” said O’Brien.

Frank Avelar is one of the people who has benefited from Dr. Pena’s efforts. With a history of depression and substance abuse, Frank ended up in the criminal justice system in 2003. After several unsuccessful attempts at treatment, Frank found the support and services he needed at Community Solutions. He has now been clean and sober for over three years. Not only has he discovered a new, healthier life for himself but he has also found a way to give back. He now works as a paid intern, instructing classes for Community Solutions’ Drinking Drivers Program. He is helping others move beyond their addiction for themselves and for the safety and good of others.

According to O’Brien, Frank is an example of how Community Solutions works in partnership with their clients. “It is our job to help our clients realize the opportunities that await them. But they are the ones that make the changes in their lives. Our donors invest in us and we, in turn, invest in our clients. Frank is just one example of how that investment benefits not just the individuals who are served, but our whole community.”

Community Solutions is the most comprehensive nonprofit human services and mental health agency in South County. The agency offers counseling services, prevention, education, crisis intervention and housing programs for families, children and individuals. Community Solutions works in partnership with community-based organizations, law enforcement, local schools and county health and human service providers. Last year the agency helped more than 5,000 people make positive changes and become more self-reliant. For more information, visit or call (408) 779-2113.

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