Summa Health Medical Group urologists (L-R) Kevin A. Spear, MD, Joseph S. Dankoff, MD, Lawrence L. Geller, MD, and Joshua Nething, MD
Summa Health has expanded its urology services with the addition of four board-certified urologists to the Summa Health Medical Group: Joseph S. Dankoff, MD, Lawrence L. Geller, MD, Joshua Nething, MD, and Kevin A. Spear, MD. Formerly with Physicians Urology/Center for Urologic Health, these physicians joined Summa Health in January 2017 to offer comprehensive diagnostic and surgical treatment for a broad range of urologic conditions including urologic oncology.
The addition of these four urologists marks a significant commitment by Summa Health to invest in an area of medicine that is growing, especially among an aging baby boomer population. Recent national statistics show 31 percent of males and more than 50 percent of females over the age of 65 report having urinary incontinence. In addition, more than 42 percent of males ages 51-60 suffer from an enlarged prostate gland. For men over the age of 70, that percentage is nearly 80%.
Summa’s expansion of urology services also highlights its commitment to building a direct, multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach across all service lines. According to Dr. Spear, who is Summa’s Chairman of the Department of Urology, his team is working closely with several other service lines including primary care, oncology and women’s health.
“By joining the Summa Health Medical Group, the services we offer are now bolstered by the ability to coordinate and collaborate with the hospital and a multi-disciplinary team of physicians,” says Dr. Spear. “With this approach, we can offer more seamless services to ensure excellent and integrated patient care.”
Meet the Team
Dr. Spear received his medical degree from The University of Toledo Medical School and completed a fellowship in Male Infertility and Reproductive Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the only fellowship-trained male infertility expert between Akron and Columbus.
Kevin A. Spear, MD, is Chairman of the Department of Urology at Summa Health.
Dr. Nething graduated from Northeast Ohio Medical University. His fellowship training was completed in Urologic Oncology and Robotic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic, Florida. Dr. Nething is the only urologist between Akron and Columbus with fellowship training in robotic-assisted cancer surgery.
Dr. Geller is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. His specialty interests include sexual dysfunction and incontinence.
Dr. Dankoff received his MD degree from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. His areas of specialty include general urology, kidney stones and prostate disease.
Men’s Health and Urology
Men account for approximately 60 percent of the patients seen by Summa’s urology group. Common male urologic conditions include prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). They also see male patients for reproductive issues such as infertility and sexual dysfunction.
According to Dr. Spear, male infertility can be due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Diseases, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices and other factors can also play a role in causing male infertility.
“Fifty-percent of the time, the male is a contributing factor in the couple’s infertility,” Dr. Spear explains. “Assessing the male allows us to first identify if a problem exists and then perform diagnostic studies and evaluations to address the infertility.”
Techniques he offers include varicocele repair, vasectomy reversal, and sperm retrieval for use in in vitro fertilization.
Dr. Geller specializes in sexual dysfunction in men. He treats patients for conditions such as hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction (ED). “We provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment of ED, offering the latest medicines, penile injections and implant surgery,” he says.
Lawrence L. Geller, MD, performs prostate cryoablation, a minimally invasive treatment that can be used as a primary or secondary line of prostate cancer treatment.
Dr. Geller is also the only physician in the group who performs prostate cryoablation, a minimally invasive treatment that can be used as a primary or secondary line of prostate cancer treatment. “Cryoablation uses small probes, guided into the prostate by ultrasound, to infuse gas to freeze all or part of the prostate,” he explains. “The treatment is as effective as radioactive seed implants, but with minimal patient discomfort and fewer side effects.”
Partial or focal cryoablation is currently being studied in patients with low-stage, low-risk prostate cancer. The results are promising, according to Dr. Geller. Benefits include preservation of sexual function and even fewer side effects than general cryoablation.
The majority of women referred by their primary care physicians to Summa’s urology team have urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, overactive bladder or pelvic prolapse. Many women think these conditions are just part of getting older, and nothing can be done. Dr. Dankoff emphasizes that this is not true.
“The majority of urologic disorders in women can be managed, and most non-operatively,” he explains. “Procedures such as sacral neurmodulation and Botox bladder injections can help women regain bladder control.”
Summa’s urology team also treats women with bladder and kidney cancer. Advanced therapies include robotic-assisted cystectomies and partial nephrectomy.
Urologic Oncology and Minimally Invasive Techniques
Thousands of men are diagnosed each year with cancer of the prostate, bladder, kidney, or testicles. For both men and women, bladder cancer rates in the United States are reportedly the highest worldwide. Advanced minimally invasive techniques have revolutionized treatment and care of various urologic cancers and result in better post-operative management.
Summa recently installed the most advanced robot-assisted surgery system, the da Vinci® Xi, for minimally invasive surgery. The da Vinci provides a variety of urologic treatment options for bladder, prostate and kidney cancer; urinary tract obstruction; kidney disease; adrenal disease; prostate disease; and pelvic prolapse.
“Summa has been instrumental in obtaining the newest technology and latest equipment,” says Dr. Nething. “It is a tremendous advantage from an advanced surgery standpoint to be the only hospital in the Akron area with the da Vinci® Xi robotic system.”
With robot-assisted surgery, patients can expect fewer complications, less postoperative pain, reduced blood loss during surgery, a shorter hospital stay, less risk of infection, minimal scarring, and a quicker return to work and recreational activities.
“When you can do a surgery robotically that has the same success as traditional surgery from a cancer outcome standpoint, but results in much less pain, a quicker recovery and a lower risk of postoperative complications, the advantages are obvious,” Dr. Nething points out. “When I follow up with patients after their surgery, most of them say they are amazed at how little pain they had and how quickly they recovered.”
Advanced Biopsy Techniques
The Summa Urology group also offers advanced techniques for diagnostic purposes. MRI-guided prostate biopsy is one example. It increases the detection rate of prostate cancer.
The da Vinci® Xi robotic system at Summa Health provides Joseph S. Dankoff, MD, and Joshua Nething, MD, a variety of treatment options for bladder, prostate and kidney cancer; urinary tract obstruction; kidney disease; adrenal disease; prostate disease; and pelvic prolapse.
“Prostate MRI is an advanced technology that images the prostate and targets the area to be biopsied, much like mammography does with breast cancer,” explains Dr. Dankoff. “With Prostate MRI, we are able to identify lesions, evaluate risks and determine if and when treatment is needed.”
Another advanced procedure, which will be available soon at Summa, is MRI fusion biopsy. It combines the power of MRI and ultrasonography to more accurately pinpoint the area that is being biopsied.
“Combining MRI and ultrasound to more accurately determine the location being biopsied is best used in someone who has had a negative biopsy in the past,” says Dr. Dankoff, “and can more accurately pinpoint a spot that may have been missed.”
“Summa is building an outstanding program of dedicated physicians and programs that mesh with Summa’s population health initiative,” says Dr. Spear. “The current expansion of the new hospital tower and surgical facility will allow for more seamless and efficient care and a more positive patient experience.”
Drs. Joseph Dankoff, Lawrence Geller, Joshua Nething, and Kevin Spear see patients at Summa Health’s Akron City Hospital campus. Urology services are also offered at Summa locations in Barberton, Green and Wadsworth. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org/urology. To refer a patient, call 330-374-1255.