Guiding anxious patients through complex procedures key to his approach
UH Clinical Update - December 2018
Abdominal wall reconstruction is a complex surgery to correct abdominal weaknesses often caused by recurrent hernias. Its complexity is what drew Ryan M. Juza, MD, to this specialty.
“The surgery usually takes about eight to 12 hours,” says Ryan Juza, MD, General Surgery, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center He usually performs one or two each week, on patients who have hernias that are anything but run-of-the-mill. They involve large or complex defects, or the surgery is necessary because of complications from prior surgeries.
Ryan Juza grew up in Green Bay, Wisc. He got his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. His internship in surgery was completed at Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where he also completed a residency in general surgery before becoming the General Surgical Chief Resident. The residencies were followed by fellowships in the Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, also at the Hershey Medical Center.
“I chose to pursue fellowship training in minimally invasive surgery because I liked the diversity of cases,” says Dr. Juza. “My fellowship included training in abdominal wall reconstruction, therapeutic surgical endoscopy, laparoscopy and robotics – in other words, everything from surgeries with large incisions to surgeries with no incision at all.”
Dr. Juza also is certified in endoscopic surgery, laparoscopic surgery and advanced trauma and life support. His research interests include abdominal wall reconstruction, advanced laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery, surgical innovation and instrument development. He has lectured on the topic of endoscopic therapies in post-surgical anatomy and on abdominal wall anatomy and CT imaging in hernia patients.
It was at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center that he met his mentor, Dr. Eric Pauli, who introduced him to University Hospitals, where he himself had trained.
“I came to UH because UH has a long history of performing abdominal wall reconstruction and taking care of complex surgical patients,” says Dr. Juza. “I knew they had the systems in place to support my practice.”
Dr. Juza performs a variety of general surgery procedures, but his primary focus is on complex abdominal wall hernias, surgical endoscopy, and foregut surgery; he has a range of therapeutic options through which to provide multimodal care.
Most of his hernia patients come to him without much understanding of their condition.
“In many cases they’ve been told they can’t be fixed and that produces a lot of depression and anxiety,” Dr. Juza says. “So I spend a lot of time in the clinic discussing the construction of the abdominal wall to help explain how it should look, point out the defects, and demonstrate how we can rearrange the structures to fix their hernia.
“Most patients are very relieved after our discussion - they understand it will require a large operation but they are confident in the outcome.”
Many patients have several unsightly scars as well as bulging hernias; they also have a significant disability from the displacement of their core abdominal muscles. Reconstructing the abdominal wall reestablishes core strength and allows for excision of a large portion of their previous surgical scar.
“For me, the most satisfying thing about what I do is performing an operations that can dramatically improve a patient’s life,” Dr. Juza says.
To refer a patient to Dr. Juza, please call 216-844-5788.