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The Chipmunk look that noone talks about

Posted Dec 18 2008 7:29pm
I have been seeing many HIV positive men with enlarged parotid glands in my 14 years of travels giving lectures around the country. I was also one of those men with moderate inflammation of the parotid glands. No one really knows what causes this disfiguring inflammation. It could be due to the HIV virus itself, inflammatory cytokines and too many CD8 cells produced by immune reconstitution, hormones, fat build up in the glands, etc. Some people have this problem along with facial wasting, which makes their faces look very abnormal. So even if you treat your facial wasting with facial fillers, this problem needs to be treated so that you can attain a more normal look that resembles what you normally would look like without the effects of HIV and its medications. The parotid gland is the largest of the salivary glands that produce saliva that is important in the digestion of food. The gland lies under the angle of the jaw just beneath the ear. I have been searching for a long time for an answer. Not a single HIV conference has had a presentation on this problem that may affect around 20 percent of men with HIV. It does not seem to affect as many women with HIV for unknown reasons. I had heard about radiation treatments in the past but they created severe side effects like burning of the salivary glands, salivary production problems, and eventual tooth decay. A few months ago my dear friend Dr. Ton y Mills from Los Angeles called me to tell me about the great results he had seen in his patients referred to Dr Patricia Gordon. I decided to call Dr. Gordon myself to talk to her about her experiences. Dr. Gordon did her undergrad at Harvard and her residency at UCLA. She is a radiation oncologist and practices at Century City Hospital in Los Angeles. A very pleasant and seemingly dedicated doctor, she immediately told me how happy she was with the excellent remission rates she had been seen in her patients. Most noticed complete resolution of the problem after a few sessions of low dose electron-based radiation. She stressed the fact that this protocol differs greatly from the ones used in the past that created greater side effects because of the nature of the radiation, Unlike the old method that used photons that penetrate the skin more deeply, she uses electrons that penetrate a very thin layer of tissue instead, so they do not cause the burning and salivary gland dysfunction seen in the past. She has had over 200 male patients referred to her practice (not one female has been referred). At baseline, all patients get a CT scan of their parotid gland area for assessment. They get a customized molded lead mask that only exposes the area to be treated. They then receive 16 sessions (once a day for five days a week, for five minutes each) on both sides of the face. She said that most patients see improvements after four sessions. However, she did not have before and after pictures to share with me. All procedures have been reimbursable by Medicare and insurance. I decided to get my parotid glands treated and I am happy to say that they got back to normal after 7 sessions. It has been 4 years now (March 2006) and they are still normal ! I had no significant side effects besides redness for a few days, no beard for a month (which I liked), and a temporary loss of normal saliva production. All returned to normal after a month or so. I am not sure, but I think I had a slight decrease in CD4 cells (around 20) but this is hard to tell unless someone performs a controlled study. My CD4 cells also returned baseline after two months. Dr. Gordon will publish a paper on her experiences soon. Her phone number is 310-201-6739. Her email is _pgordonmd@aol.com_ (mailto:pgordonmd@aol.com) .She is happy to talk to doctors or patients about this procedure. (http://www.facialwasting.org/pages/891053/index.htm)
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