Conrad/Pearson’s Dr. Michael Granieri finds fulfillment in making a meaningful difference.
By LAWRENCE BUSER
Following his first year of medical school at Northwestern University, Dr. Michael Granieri became the first student to participate in the urology department’s medical mission trips to Mexico and Central America.
He worked with faculty members like Dr. Christopher Gonzalez, who would become his mentor, and several urology residents. The team provided underserved communities in rural Mexico with treatment of genitourinary diseases, seeing as many as 50 patients in a weekend.
“It was just a great experience, and it really solidified my interest in urology,” said Granieri, a Urologist at The Conrad/Pearson Clinic. “Ultimately through that experience I gained more exposure to urology and saw the different ways to improve someone’s quality of life and to really make a meaningful difference in one’s life.”
His practice focuses on men’s health, including erectile dysfunction, prosthetic surgery, male stress urinary incontinence, male infertility and reproductive surgery, and reconstructive urology.
“Those are my niche areas,” Granieri said. “Erectile dysfunction (ED) is probably the most common condition I manage and treat. ED can happen at any age, but it becomes more common as we get older. Once we hit age 50, approximately half of all men have experienced some form of ED.”
Age can be a factor in other men’s issues as well, depending on the diagnosis of the particular disease.
“Peyronie’s disease occurs usually in patients in their middle age – the 40’s and 50’s and 60’s – but I can see patients younger and older with that as well,” he said. “Male stress urinary incontinence is something I typically see in patients after treatments for prostate cancer, particularly in older populations. Male infertility is more common in younger patients who are trying to conceive during their 20s, 30s and 40s.”
A typical week for Granieri is split between the operating room and the clinic. He sees between 100 and 150 patients a week.
Since some of these issues can be very private and personal, Granieri says it is important to make sure patients feel comfortable discussing their problems and what he can do to help them.
For example, there are a number of treatment options for ED to help restore function.
“First line therapy is lifestyle modifications - diet and exercise. Then you might look at oral options - pills like Viagra or Cialis. Beyond that there are options like urethral suppositories, a vacuum-erection device, penile injections, penile implants and surgical correction.”
Another option for ED, currently offered locally at Conrad/Pearson, is low intensity shock-wave therapy.
“Shock-wave has been around for several years and among treatments for ED, it’s one of the newest,” said Granieri. “It’s not currently FDA approved, but it does have some promising results for the right patient. It’s a low-intensity shock wave therapy to the erectile tissue designed to improve blood flow to the erectile tissue. Usually you do weekly treatments – 30 minutes to an hour – for six weeks and then you assess the response to it. It’s still an evolving new therapy but with encouraging results.
He says the advantages of shock-wave therapy are many.
“Overall, it’s relatively low risk and for the right patient it can provide a meaningful response with minimal side effects,” Granieri added. “It can help improve the natural blood flow to the penis. So, for the appropriately selected patient it can be a great option.”
He comes from a family of health-care providers, including a father who is a Chicago physician, a mother who is a nurse, and at least six other family members who are physicians, including his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Campbell Granieri, an endocrinologist and a native Memphian.
They met at Duke University where she was doing a medicine residency and he was doing a residency in urology.
Asked what advice he might have for today’s medical students, he says he would encourage them to follow their passions.
“Choose a field you’ll be happy in and one that you can provide the best care to your patients,” Dr. Granieri says. “Within medicine there’s so much variety there’s always a good chance to find a field that’s really just right for you. Just work hard and always strive to do the right thing for your patients.”
He chose urology as a means to make significant improvements in his patients’ quality of life. It’s a field with a bright future as well.
“We’ll always see ongoing advances in treatments for urologic cancers, particularly in immunotherapy and the genetics of genitourinary malignancies,” Granieri said, “However, I am confident there will be more advancements in treatments of ED and incontinence, so I think the future is bright and we’ll continue to see technologic advances in all areas of urology.
“It’s important to keep up with the latest advancements to find the best way to help your patients.”