Office Hours : M-F, 9am to 5pm
  Phone : 610.375.0500

All Posts in Category: Health Basics

Birthday cake with "50" candle on top

When to have a colonoscopy

A Preventative Measure at Milestone Birthdays

As we age, our self-care regimen needs to grow along with us. Beginning at age 50, what can help keep us healthy is a steady diet of preventative testing to diagnose and treat emerging health concerns.

Among such health care concerns is colorectal cancer, one of the most common forms of cancers among men and women in the United States today. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer, not including skin cancers. In total, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20. At the same time, colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers through the use of regular colonoscopies.

Early Action is Key

Providing a suggested timeframe for screenings to detect polyps, the American Cancer Society recommends men and women at average risk for cancer receive colonoscopies every 10 years starting at age 50. Essentially, as a milestone birthday is celebrated starting at age 50, it can serve as a timely reminder to have a screening. Very generally speaking, the earlier screenings occur to detect the presence the potentially cancerous polyps, the better chances are to successfully treat the polyps by surgical removal. Of course, if symptoms such as bleeding or pain are experienced at any time it is important to see a qualified medical provider experienced in colon care as soon as possible.

What to Expect 

As mentioned in one of our previous posts Have questions about endoscopy?”, preparing for a colonoscopy requires patients to follow pre-operative preparation instructions provided by their surgeon prior to the brief surgical procedure. To maximize patient comfort, sedating medication is used during the procedure. Best of all, patients are typically discharged less than an hour after the procedure is performed.

If a biopsy is performed during the colonoscopy, patients of Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists can expect to receive test results within just a few days, if not sooner, as well as a thorough follow up discussion with their surgeon.

Where Will My Procedure Occur?

Dr. Joseph Levan, Dr. Thomas Beetel and Dr. Robert Howard perform colonoscopies at Surgical Institute of Reading, Reading Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center, depending on patient preference, scheduling availability and insurance requirements.

To make an appointment to see Dr. Levan, Dr. Beetel or Dr. Howard, request an appointment online by CLICKING HERE.


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Online appointments at SRSS!

For the convenience of our patients, our new website features a “Request For Appointment” tab.  Just input your desired appointment date, time, phone number and email address, and we will respond to you no later than 5pm the same business day the request is received. We will either confirm your appointment time or offer an alternative in the event the desired time is not available.  If you need to see Dr. Levan, Dr. Beetel or Dr. Howard for a surgical consultation, click here.

Thank you!


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Welcome to Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists

Welcome to our new website!

Designed with you in mind, the new website offers information relating to your care options but also a new “Insights” blog on which we’ll share information and education we hope you’ll enjoy. Our blog features a comments section, so if you see a blog post you like please tell us about it. We’ll also offer information and updates on our Facebook page. Enjoy!

-Dr. Levan, Dr. Beetel and Dr. Howard

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What is Minimally Invasive Surgery

What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

As the quality of health care has evolved over time, so has the very nature of surgery itself. Over the past thirty years, this component of the overall care equation has given rise to the development and regular use of minimally invasive surgery as a means of promoting patient-centered care. Compared to open surgery where large incisions are made, minimally invasive surgery utilizes small incisions through which surgical instruments are inserted and surgery performed.

How patients benefit

The benefits to patients of minimally invasive surgery are both immediate and long term. Immediate benefits resulting from the smaller keyhole incisions is less tissue trauma and procedures performed in a fraction of the time than with open surgery. Additionally, patients often leave the hospital the same day the procedure is performed.
After surgery, the long term benefits of minimally invasive procedures include faster recuperation, return to work and better cosmetic outcomes.

Types of minimally invasive surgery

Minimally invasive surgery falls into three categories: endoscopic, laparoscopic and robotic. Endoscopic surgery is utilized to diagnose upper and lower gastrointestinal (GI) issues. Laparoscopic surgery is used to treat issues of the abdomen. Robotic surgery is used to treat many common intra-abdominal issues.

The physicians at Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists provide endoscopic, laparoscopic and robotic minimally invasive surgery, and further specialize in excellent post-surgical cosmetic outcomes.

If you have a question about how you would benefit from minimally invasive surgery, requesting an appointment with one of our physicians is easy by clicking here.

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Medical Education

Are You An Informed Patient?

Gone are the days when there was no easy access to medical information to help patients self-educate and become informed on particular health topics. Since its inception nearly twenty years ago, the Internet has served an unprecedented role in providing knowledge and insight on countless topics. WebMD, anyone?

Additionally, here in Berks County there are numerous health fairs conducted throughout the year offering general information in a wide variety of topics to help patients stay informed on health care options.

At Spring Ridge Surgical Specialists, we encourage patients to educate themselves regarding their care options. This ideally begins before the first appointment so patients can refer to their own list of prepared questions when meeting with one of our physicians. One of the great benefits to this approach is the open dialogue occurring right from the beginning, resulting in a very productive consultation. An example of questions that are recommended to ask any health care provider can be found on our website’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

With patient education serving such a critical role in making personal health care decisions, it is no wonder there are so many online sources of medical information available today. It’s a good idea to explore a few different sites to gather views on a given topic then discuss your findings with your physician. By doing so, you’ll play an active role in making informed health care decisions best for you.

If you have a health concern for which you need a surgical consultation, you can request an appointment with Dr. Levan, Dr. Beetel or Dr. Howard by clicking here.

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