By Dr. Ronald Portadin and Dr. Jonathan D. Gewirtz Vineland Gynecology Associates

The uterus is the female organ located in the lower abdomen(pelvis) behind the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum.

Until the time of puberty, the uterus remains about the size and shape ofaninverted pear.With puberty, under the influence of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, the uterus begins to change. With the onset of the reproductive phase of a woman’s life, the uterus changes and grows. Normal levels of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body help prevent excess or abnormalgrowthin tissues sensitive to the effects of estrogen. Problems can develop without the right balance of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body. For example, fibroids may grow in the uterus, cystsmay grow in the breasts or ovaries and even cancer of the uterus, breasts or ovaries may develop.

What are fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign or nonmalignant tumors of the uterus. Fibroids, also called leimyoma, are the most common pelvic tumor of women of reproductive age. Almost half of Caucasian women and more than 80 percent of African-American women will have uterine fibroids by age 50. The cause of uterine fibroids is still unknown. However, recent studies have identified a genetic change in as many as 70 percent of these cases. There are other factors that can raise a woman’s risk of developing fibroids as well.

African-American women experience more severe disease and tend to develop symptoms four to six years younger than Caucasian women. There is an increased risk in developing fibroids if the onset of puberty is less than 10 years of age or if a woman never becomes pregnant. An increase in consumption of beef and other red meat also is associated with increased risk of fibroids, as is vitamin D deficiency. Dairy products may be protective, however. High blood pressure and uterine infection also appear to be associated with increased risk.

How are fibroids diagnosed and treated?

Although the majority of fibroids are small and cause no symptoms, many women with fibroids have significant problems that interfere with quality of life and warrant therapy. These symptoms are primarily related to the number, size and location of these tumors. Heavy or irregular abnormal uterine bleeding is the most common, followed by pelvic pressure or pain and bladder problems. Discomfort during sexual intercourse also is a problem. Even fertility can be affected if the fibroids distort the uterine cavity.

Miscarriage and preterm labor can occur, and anemia is possible for women with heavy bleeding. The finding of an enlarged uterus at the time of pelvic examination with the gynecologist often leads to the diagnosis of fibroids. Usually an ultrasound image is obtained to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude the possibility of an ovarian disease. There are more treatment options today than ever before. If future fertility is desired, a myomectomy is recommended:

Laparoscopic myomectomy: A minimally invasive procedure where the fibroid is removed using a laparoscope, a slender telescope that is inserted through the navel to view the pelvic and abdominal organs. For this type of surgery, the instruments are passed through two or three small, 1⁄2 inch incisions to remove the fibroid.

Hysteroscopic myomectomy (Myosure): The Myosure procedure represents a type of hysteroscopic myomectomy, an out-patient procedure where the doctor removes fibroids through the uterus via the vagina and cervix with a resectoscope.

For heavy bleeding, uterine artery immobilization can be successful, but may be temporary. Medical therapies include hormonal treatment, an IUD, oral contraceptives or progestin implants. Low-dose oral contraceptives do not cause fibroids. Anti-estrogen agents are a newer treatment method, but they are still early in the evaluation of their effectiveness. Innovations in technology, new medications and future research can provide effective, minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy.

For women who do not respond to medical therapy or minimally invasive surgery, or who have completed childbearing, hysterectomy remains the treatment of choice.

Vineland Gynecology Associates offers an exemplary tradition of women’s care based on years of medical experience supported by a caring and knowledgeable staff in a modern office setting. The board-certified physicians of VGA are Dr. Ronald Portadin and Dr. Jonathan Gewirtz.Together with Nurse Practitioners Cindy Nevara, RitaVastano, Karen Duncan and Sharie Hiller, they bring outstanding women’s health care to 1318 S. Main Road, Building 3, in Vineland, and to 3980 Black Horse Pike, The Festival at Hamilton, in Mays Landing Formoreinformation, or to schedule an appointment, visit http://www.VGAVineland.com or call (856) 462-6350.

About Dr. Ronald Portadin For decades,Dr. Portadin has served the Vineland community as one of the premier professionals in the field of women’s health. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from New York University and a Doctor of Medicine from Georgetown University, Portadin served a rotating internship followed by a fouryear residency at St.Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. From 1967-69, Portadin served as a Major in the United States Army Medical Corps. After his service, he obtained Certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and relocated to Vineland, where he became an associate atVineland Obstetrical & Gynecological Professional Association. Portadin is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society. He specializes in non-invasive gynecologic surgery, including laser surgery, and cancer screenings.

About Dr. Jonathan D. Gewirtz Dr. Gewirtz received a Bachelor of the Arts in Chemistry from the State University of New York, Stony Brook. He then obtained two Doctors of Medicine; one from Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and one from the State University of New York in Buffalo. After his graduate education, Gewirtz served an internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia. He then completed two fellowships; one in maternal-fetal medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, and a second in integrative medicine at Beth-Israel Hospital in New York. In 1991, he was certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Since his certification, Gewirtz has offered complete obstetrical and gynecological care to the women of South Jersey, with practices in Cherry Hill, Atlantic City, Manahawkin and Vineland. Gewirtz is a clinical instructor of bioethics at Drexel University,andheis amemberof theNewJersey Medial Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Gewirtz remains active in his community, and he has been published in the medical journals Findings and The Journal of American Medical Association.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 2014
11th Annual National Touring Film Festival Coming to
VINELAND, NEW JERSEY
LUNAFEST®: Short Films By, For, About Women®

LUNAFEST®, the fundraising film festival dedicated to promoting awareness about women’s issues, highlighting women filmmakers, and bringing women together in their communities, will be hosted by VINELAND GYNECOLOGY ASSOCIATES, Spirit of Women,  AND ACCORD WELLNESS CENTER at INSPIRA FITNESS CONNECTION in VINELAND on JUNE 6, 2014.

This unique film festival highlights women as leaders in society, illustrated through nine short films by women filmmakers. The films range from animation to fictional drama, and cover topics such as women’s health, motherhood, body image, aging, cultural diversity and breaking barriers.

All proceeds from LUNAFEST will benefit the Breast Cancer Fund and Center For Family Services’ SERV program. Thus far, LUNAFEST, which is created and funded by LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women®, raised over $456,000 for Breast Cancer Fund and over $785,000 for other women’s non-profit organizations.

WHEN:               JUNE 6, 2014
SILENT AUCTION 7:00 P.M.
7:30 P.M. Showing of LUNAFEST Films

WHERE:             Inspira Fitness Connection
1430 W. Sherman Avenue
Vineland, NJ 08360

TICKETS:           $10
Available to purchase at door or online

CONTACTS:      Vineland Gynecology Associates
Phone (856) 462-6350
Sabrina Chin
PR Associate, LUNA
schin@clifbar.com
(510) 596-6400
Online Media Room: http://www.lunafest.org/mediaroom

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Until recently, women suffering from the painful symptoms of uterine fibroids and/or polyps, and abnormal bleeding, have had few alternatives other than invasive surgery. However, a new outpatient procedure, known as the MyoSure tissue removal system, is now offered at Vineland Gynecology Associates (VGA). VGA is the only practice in the area to offer this innovative procedure.

“Fibroids are benign tumors that grow from the muscle layers of the uterus,” said Dr. Ronald Portadin of VGA. “These tumors can impact a woman’s period, making it heavy and even painful, taking a physical, social and emotional toll on a woman’s life.”

Fibroids are non-cancerous tissue growths in the muscle walls of the uterus, also known as “leiomyoma” or “myoma.” Fibroids can grow as a single mass, or there can be multiple fibroids in the uterus. They can be as small as an apple seed, or as big as a grapefruit.

If left untreated, Dr. Portadin said, fibroids can also cause abdominal pains, bleeding, premature birth and labor problems and infertility, as well as bladder symptoms.

“The MyoSure method of treatment utilizes advanced minimally invasive technology to remove benign uterine growths and resolve irregular bleeding while retaining a fully functional uterus,” Dr. Portadin said. “At Vineland Gynecology Associates, we utilize state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to safely and effectively diagnose and treat uterine fibroids and polyps.”

After the procedure, some women may experience mild cramping, and VGA’s doctors may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever if cramping persists. Patients should be able to resume normal activities within a day. The MyoSure procedure is an outpatient procedure, and patients can return home the same day.

To learn more about the MyoSure procedure or to schedule your initial consultation with one of the gynecologists at VGA, contact us at 856-462-6350.

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By STEVEN V. CRONIN
The Press of Atlantic City

A breast cancer diagnosis can be shattering.

But it also is the start of one of the most important fights a woman will encounter in her life.

This year, the American Cancer Society estimates approximately 300,000 American women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer.

Shortly after hearing that diagnosis, those women will be asked to make decisions regarding their treatment.

It can be frightening. It can be overwhelming. It can be confusing.

The folks at Gilda’s Club South Jersey understand this.

Gilda’s is a nonprofit organization offering free support to those stricken by cancer and their families. Recently, the Linwood-based organization asked members of its Breast Cancer Support Group to offer their advice – based on their own experiences with breast cancer – for women facing an initial cancer diagnosis.

Carmen Torres, of the Cardiff section of Egg Harbor Town-ship, says preparation is necessary for making the best decisions.

“List all questions from you and your family and make sure they are answered in a way you and your family can understand. Check with your insurance company and see how much is covered. You do not want surprises,” she said.

Torres says it’s important to ask the doctor for all your options – and to bring a friend or family member along with you to the appointment.

“Four ears are better than two. Write down everything. Keep a notebook,” she said.

Joanne Gitto, of Ventnor, also encourages women to get as much information as possible.

“Speak to a lot of people,” she said.

Lorraine Khan, of Northfield, encourages women to think ahead when planning their treatment.

“Learn as much as you can before you begin any treatment,” she said. “I wish I knew that radiation affects the breast if reconstruction is to be done at a later date.”

This theme also was touched on by Melanie Lesitski, of Mays Landing.

“Genetic testing before surgeries,” she said.

When people learn you are undergoing treatment, some may offer advice and opinions. That’s good, but Lesitski recommended women remember they are ultimately the ones who must go through the treatment.

“Don’t listen to others opinions about your doctors – choose who you are most comfortable with,” she said.

Torrres also touched on the personal nature of the cancer fight, which, ultimately, is the responsibility of the patient.

“Make sure you do all your followups. You have to be proactive in your care and cure,” she said.

Realize there are many aspects to a fight against cancer.

“Get involved in a support group. This is important to your mental and emotional health,” Carmen XXX said.

Lesitski offered similar advice.

“Go to Gilda’s in the beginning – someone who’s been through it is the best support,” she said. “But don’t be afraid to ask them to back off if they are overwhelming you.”

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By STEVEN V. CRONIN
The Press of Atlantic City

A breast cancer diagnosis is only the beginning of a woman’s fight to recover her health.

For many, the weeks or months of treatment is as traumatic and frightening as those first few days after learning they are sick.

The women at the Breast Cancer support group at Gilda’s Club South Jersey have all been through it. They know what it is like to suffer through cancer treatment and come out at the end.One reason for the group is to offer advice and support to those going through similar experiences.

Jane Abbott, of Ocean City, wanted to take quick action after her diagnosis.

“I wanted it out,” she said. “Even though the lump had no doubt been growing for quite a while, I did not allow myself time to seek several opinions prior to setting the course of treatment by getting a lumpectomy in two weeks.”

Abbott says now she wishes she had been better informed before making her decision.

“I wish I had known how much of my breast would be carved out with the lumpectomy. I wish I had known that when margins were too close I would need a revision of margins after chemotherapy,” she said. “I wish I had known that with even more of my breast gone and my propensity to make hypertrophic scar tissue it would leave me with a “right breast defect.”

“I wish I had seriously considered that having a mastectomy at the beginning would have given me a much better cosmetic result and avoided two surgeries,” she said.

Mary Gromes, of Camden, said women need to be infor-med about their treatment and advocates for their own health.

“There are no silly questions,” she said. “Always ask about your progress or condition. Do not expect doctors to read your mind or anticipate every side effect.”

Being well-informed at the start of treatment makes the experience easier, said Gerri Resigno, of the Ocean View section of Dennis Township.

“It does get easier once you have a plan,” she said. “Ask questions. Have family/friends for support and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Billie Jo Damico, of Egg Harbor Township, also talked about the need for support when going through treatment.

She recalls feeling scared, nervous, and alone when her doctor informed she would also have to undergo chemotherapy and radiation after surgery.

“During treatment, it was suggested that I check out local cancer support groups to help me during my road to recovery,” she said. “Becoming a member at Gilda’s Club has changed my life. I went from thinking I wouldn’t make it a year with cancer to living life every day to its fullest.”

Giorgi McCully, of Mays Landing, learned the benefits of keeping a positive attitude during her treatment.

“Get plenty of rest, laugh a lot and get rid of as much stress as you can. Negative people are stressors so avoid them whenever you can,” she said.

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Proceeds from Film Festival Benefit Charity

 

VINELAND, NJ (May 16, 2013) – LUNAFEST, a nationwide film festival of award-winning short films, by, for and about women will be hosted again this year by Vineland Gynecology Associates. This year’s films will be screened for one night only at the Inspira Fitness Connection on Friday, June 7 at 7 pm.

Tickets to the festival are $15 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. All of the film festival’s net proceeds go to charity. To date, 101 filmmakers have been featured, and LUNAFEST has raised nearly $1.5 million. Fifteen percent of every dollar raised goes to LUNAFEST’s main beneficiary, the Breast Cancer Fund, and 85 percent of every dollar raised in Vineland goes the New Jersey Center For Family Services’ SERV program (Services Empowering Rights of Victims).

SERV is the state designated sexual violence service provider in Camden, Gloucester, and Cumberland counties and the state designated domestic violence service provider in Gloucester and Cumberland counties.

This year, nine films were chosen from thousands of submissions to be featured at LUNAFEST. “These nine films are amazing,” said Dr. Jonathan Gewirtz. “They showcase women filmmakers and explore issues important to women.”

Each of the featured films is about 15 minutes long, and covers various women-related topics. This season’s program will compel discussion, make you laugh, tug at your heartstrings and motivate you to make a difference in your community. Incredibly diverse in style and content, LUNAFEST is united by a common thread of exceptional storytelling – by, for and about women. Some of the films include: “Chalk,” a film about a gymnast selected for the national training camp, who discovers something new about bodies, boys and friendship; and “Blank Canvas,” a movie about a woman going through chemotherapy who turns her baldness into a blank canvas for self-expression.

The film festival is expected to last about two hours. To preview the films, visit http://www.lunafest.org/vineland.

A silent auction beginning at 6:30 pm precedes the festival screening. Proceeds from this auction also benefit the New Jersey Center For Family Services’ SERV program.

WHEN: June 7, 2013

SILENT AUCTION 6:30 pm

Showing of LUNAFEST Films 7 pm

WHERE: Fitness Connection

1430 W. Sherman Avenue

Vineland, New Jersey 08360

TICKETS: $15 General, $8 Student

Early purchase at Vineland Gynecology Associates, 1318 South Main Rd.

Or at the door on the night oftheevent

 

CONTACT: Vineland Gynecology Associates

856-462-6350

 

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LUNAFEST: Thank You for Your Donation

On October 10th, 2012, posted in: Latest News by

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Proceeds from Film Festival Benefit Charity

 VINELAND, NJ (April 25, 2012) – LUNAFEST, a nationwide film festival of award-winning short films, by, for and about women will be hosted again this year by Vineland Gynecology Associates. This year’s films will be screened for one night only at the SJH Fitness Connection on Thursday, June 7 at 7:30 pm.

Tickets to the festival are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. All of the film festival’s net proceeds go to charity. To date, LUNAFEST has raised nearly $1.2 million. Fifteen percent of every dollar raised goes to LUNAFEST’s main beneficiary, the Breast Cancer Fund, and 85 percent of every dollar raised in Vineland goes the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women.

This year, nine films were chosen from thousands of submissions to be featured at LUNAFEST. “These nine films are amazing,” said Dr. Jonathan Gewirtz. “They showcase women filmmakers and explore issues important to women.”

Each of the featured films is about 15 minutes long, and covers various women-related topics. This season’s program is filled with stories of reflection, hope and humor and are a great way of connecting women in the community through film. On the grim side of the films, there’s former supermodel Christy Turlington Burns’ documentary exposé “Every Mother Counts: Obstetric Fistula.” Other film subjects include  a comedy about women’s body images, a missed opportunity for love, a women’s rugby team, and Iranian women navigating their culture’s gender roles.

The film festival is expected to last about two hours. To preview the films, visit http://www.lunafest.org/vineland.

A silent auction beginning at 7 pm precedes the festival screening. Proceeds from this auction also benefit the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women.

 

WHEN:
June 7, 2012
SILENT AUCTION 7 pm
Showing of LUNAFEST Films 7:30 pm

WHERE:
Fitness Connection
1430 W. Sherman Avenue
Vineland, New Jersey 08360

TICKETS:
$10 General
, $8 Student
Early purchase at Vineland Gynecology Associates, 1318 South Main Rd.
Or at the door on the night of the event

CONTACTS:
Vineland Gynecology Associates
vfinn@VGAVineland.com
856-462-6350

Click here for original press release

 

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Targeting HPV Infection: Get the Facts

On April 19th, 2012, posted in: Latest News by

VINELAND, NJ – Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It is the main cause of cervical cancer, which kills more than 4,000 women a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HPV can also lead to anal cancer and genital warts, in both women and men, as well as penile and oropharyngeal cancers in men.

There is, however, a vaccine against this disease. “Governmental agencies as well as national health organizations have recommended that boys and girls, aged 11 and 12, get this safe and effective vaccine,” said Dr. Jonathan Gewirtz, of Vineland Gynecology Associates (VGA). “While the vaccine is effective for older women, the levels of antibodies against HPV are higher in preteens than those achieved by older adolescents or adults who receive the vaccine.”

Gewirtz said the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine have all recommended the three-shot vaccine be given to youths of both genders.

“HPV can cause considerable harm to both boys and girls,” Gewirtz said. “The vaccine gives us the opportunity to decrease the spread of the HPV virus, and it also provides us with the opportunity to teach young people about sexual health and responsibility.”

The vaccine should not be administered to pregnant women, individuals with acute illness or individuals with a hypersensitivity to any vaccine component or yeast, the doctor said. A free vaccine program is available to children and adolescents through age 18 who are uninsured or under insured.

The HPV virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity, Gewirtz said. And it is therefore essential that health practitioners incorporate HPV testing and HPV vaccination into the wellness and annual exam of women.

HPV infections are common in young, sexually active women. The virus usually causes no symptoms and most women don’t know they are infected, until they receive an abnormal PAP test. The good news is that in many cases, the HPV infection is cleared by the body’s own immune system.

However, there are different types of HPV viruses. “Infection with high-risk types of HPV can progress to invasive cervical cancer and other cancers,” Gewirtz said. “Low-risk types are associated with external genital warts, but not cancer.”

The doctor said that it may not be possible to know who gave you HPV or when you were infected. “Warts can appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected partner, even if the infected partner has no signs of genital warts,” Gewirtz said.

Cervical cancer usually does not have any symptoms until the disease is more advanced. For this reason, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends starting cervical cancer screening three years after initiation of intercourse and no later than 21 years old. The PAP test is to check for cervical cancer. Women can lower their chances of getting HPV by reducing the number of sexual partners, using condoms and vaccination.

For more information and to schedule an appointment at Vineland Gynecology Associates, call 856-462-6350.

Vineland Gynecology Associates (VGA) offers an exemplary tradition of women’s care based on years of medical experience supported by a caring and knowledgeable staff in a modern office setting. The board-certified physicians of VGA are Ronald Portadin, MD and Jonathan Gewirtz, MD. Originally of Vineland Obstetrical and Gynecological Professional Association (VOGPA) at Brewster Road, they have been practicing together in Cumberland County for many years. Together with Nurse Practitioners Cindy Nevara and Rita Vastano, they bring outstanding women’s health care to 1318 S. Main Road, Building 3, in Vineland. VGA provides comprehensive gynecology services and reproductive medicine for the female patient, including gynecologic screening exams, adolescent medicine and contraceptive care, major and minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, including laser surgery, in-office endometrial ablation and sterilization, and laparoscopy. VGA also specializes in incontinence therapies, well women’s care, basic infertility evaluations, preconception care, and pre- and post-menopausal care.

Resources:
Managing HPV: A New Era in Patient Care: Association of Reproductive Health Professionals,
http://www.arhp.org
http://www.vaccines.gov

Original Press Release

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VINELAND, NJ (Feb. 8, 2012) – As a woman ages, her hormones decline, and this can cause an imbalance in her body. The shift in hormones can manifest itself in different ways, including hot flashes, depression, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, decrease in libido and weight gain.

But now Propel pellet treatments – an advance in hormone therapy – can treat these manifestations and help a woman achieve a sense of balance and well-being.

“The replacement of a woman’s natural hormones with bio-identical therapies can restore balance,” said Dr. Jonathan Gewirtz, of Vineland Gynecology Associates (VGA). “At the proper dosages, bio-identical hormone therapy can benefit many patients who suffer from fatigue, decrease in libido, sleeplessness, irritability, hot flashes, weight gain and vaginal dryness.”

With the Propel pellet, which is derived of plant compounds, hormone therapy is delivered naturally, Gewirtz said. The therapy is highly effective when the correct hormone levels are monitored by your physician. This natural, bio-identical pellet therapy maintains the hormonal equilibrium in your body, because it is absorbed slowly and maintains constant levels in your blood stream.

“The Propel pellet treatment delivers biologically active hormones beneath the skin and can last from four to six months,” said Dr. Gewirtz. The blood levels of hormones are followed precisely with lab work, so that every patient can be assured of a personalized response and improved function.

The Propel pellet insertion procedure is quick and painless. Women who receive hormone therapy pre- and during menopause report improvement in mental and physical health. There are also re-invigorating changes in their sexual lives and a new sense of vitality.

Hormone therapy is not for everyone. Women who have a history of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, or previous blood clot, heart attack or stroke should consult their physician before seeking hormone therapy. For women at high risk for these complications, comprehensive alternatives to hormone therapy are available.

For more information and to schedule an appointment at Vineland Gynecology Associates, call 856-462-6350.

Vineland Gynecology Associates (VGA) offers an exemplary tradition of women’s care based on years of medical experience supported by a caring and knowledgeable staff in a modern office setting. The board-certified physicians of VGA are Ronald Portadin, MD and Jonathan Gewirtz, MD. Originally of Vineland Obstetrical and Gynecological Professional Association (VOGPA) at Brewster Road, they have been practicing together in Cumberland County for many years. Together with Nurse Practitioners Cindy Nevara and Rita Vastano, they bring outstanding women’s health care to 1318 S. Main Road, Building 3, in Vineland. VGA provides comprehensive gynecology services and reproductive medicine for the female patient, including gynecologic screening exams, adolescent medicine and contraceptive care, major and minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, including laser surgery, in-office endometrial ablation and sterilization, and laparoscopy. VGA also specializes incontinence therapies, well women’s care, basic infertility evaluations, preconception care, and pre- and post-menopausal care.

Original Press Release

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