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Shelly J. McQuone Expands Practice to St. Clair Hospital
By Nancy Kennedy

Shelly J. McQuone, M.D., FACSShelly J. McQuone, M.D., FACS, has expanded her practice to St. Clair Hospital, where she will treat patients with a broad variety of ear, nose and throat conditions. McQuone is a board-certified otolaryngologist, or head and neck surgeon; she specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of head and neck cancers and problems of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, but also cares for patients with allergies, vocal cord disorders, balance problems, sinus problems and sleep apnea. Along with her partners and an interdisciplinary staff of health care specialists at Straka-McQuone, Inc., she will see patients in a new office in the St. Clair Hospital Professional Building.

McQuone grew up in Sewickley and attended both college and medical school at the University of Virginia. After graduating from medical school with honor, she completed a residency at Johns Hopkins University, where she was named "Outstanding Resident." She remained at Hopkins for a two-year fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery, and then relocated to Philadelphia, where she was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. McQuone is the co-author of a text on head and neck surgical emergencies, published in 1999.

McQuone says that her practice is "nicely balanced" with about a 50/50 mix of medical care and surgery. Thyroid and parathyroid surgery is her main focus, with nasal and sinus surgeries, tonsillectomies and sleep apnea procedures following behind. She also treats cancers of the head and neck, including cancer of the thyroid, salivary and parotid glands, which can spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. Thyroid cancer is a common cancer, but it can usually be successfully treated with surgery and medication. Typically, it presents as a painless nodule or a lump in the neck. Risk factors for thyroid cancer include history of radiation therapy (not x-rays) and family history of thyroid cancer. Malignancy is more common in men, although thyroid nodules, and therefore thyroid cancers overall, are more common in women. Surgery for thyroid cancer is delicate, as the gland is so close to the nerves that control the vocal cords and parathyroid glands, which control calcium metabolism.

As a surgeon, McQuone is excited by some of the recent advances in otolaryngological surgery, or ear, nose and throat surgery. "The management of thyroid cancer and thyroid nodules has changed," she explains. "There is much greater reliance on biopsies and ultrasound now versus nuclear medicine scans. Getting a biopsy of a thyroid nodule is a safer and a more accurate approach in determining who will require surgery. In addition, we are using smaller and smaller incisions as this type of surgery becomes less invasive. We monitor parathyroid hormone levels during parathyroid surgery; when the levels drop, we don't have to continue the surgery. For the patient, this means less time in surgery."

There are also advances in the treatment of sleep apnea – including surgery to correct the obstructive form of the disorder. "Sleep apnea is increasing, and many patients do better with surgery. We have a procedure that expands the airway space by removing tissue. We also treat other types of airway problems, including polyps and vocal cord dysfunction."

Vocal cord dysfunction is an increasingly common breathing disorder that is frequently misdiagnosed as asthma. Patients with this disorder become short of breath and anxious and may have wheezing as the vocal cords fail to open and close normally to allow the passage of air. "Vocal cord dysfunction is due to inappropriate mobility of the vocal cords," McQuone explains. "The diagnosis can be made in the office by visualizing the cords. Primary management of this is with speech therapy, which teaches the patient techniques to prevent and manage the disorder. Although vocal cord dysfunction is increasing, awareness of it is also increasing."

McQuone resides in Sewickley and is married to James Blaugrund, M.D., also an otolaryngologist. They have two daughters and enjoy sports, fitness activities and travel.

McQuone and her colleagues are pleased to be at St. Clair Hospital. "This is a well-run facility, very appealing to doctors. We're happy to be joining the staff at St. Clair and look forward to treating patients from throughout the South Hills and neighboring communities."

To contact Dr. McQuone, call (412) 741- 5670 or visit www.straka-mcquone.com.

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