#BehindTheScope Interview with Gastroenterologist, Dr Benjamin Yip
Gastroenterologists are medical doctors who are specialised in conditions that affect the digestive system. This includes the gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach and intestines) and the biliary tract (liver, bile ducts, pancreas and gallbladder). In this #BehindTheScope interview, we get insights from Dr Benjamin Yip, who tells us more about his profession and passion.
1. Why did you decide to become a doctor?
My parents are both doctors, and they have both inspired me in their own ways.
Also, for males doing Medicine in Singapore, it was something different - being able to experience NS and pursue our studies - which seemed like a good proposition then!
2. Why did you choose your specialty?
I have been interested in digestive medicine since Medical School, so for me, my mind was already set on becoming either a Digestive Surgeon or Gastroenterologist. I did a posting in General Surgery as a Medical Officer and, in experiencing both, I realised I preferred Gastroenterology!
3. What do you look forward to everyday before heading out to your clinic?
I look forward to solving each and every digestive problem for my patients. I especially love it if I am able to solve their problems with endoscopy, which is one of my greatest passions within the realm of Gastroenterology.
4. What is one common misconception the general public has about your specialty? What’s one thing you wish the public would realise about it?
Many people think Gastroenterologists also do surgeries for their patients. In actual fact, we are physicians, so we don’t do surgeries. The digestive surgeries are done by Upper Gastrointestinal, Hepato-pancreato-biliary and Colorectal Surgeons. So, Gastroenterologists work very closely with these 3 groups of surgeons.
I wish the public would realise the importance of screening for certain digestive cancers like colorectal, liver and stomach. They can present/rear their ugly head in late stages, so it is really important to go for screening when one is of a certain age and/or has certain risk factors.
5. Why did you decide to set up a private healthcare centre as compared to other healthcare settings?
I have worked in the public healthcare sector for close to 20 years. Eventually, I’ve come to realise that I wanted to set up something where I have free rein to focus on important aspects of patient care.
In the public sector, there are times when you are pulled away from patient care for other duties such as education, research or administration. Even the way we manage patients may be restricted in the public sector, and this is much less the case in the private sector.
6. What is the most memorable moment in your career?
This was when I was awarded the MOH Health Manpower Development Plan Award to pursue further training in Advanced Endoscopy — a subspecialty within Gastroenterology which I am most passionate about. I spent a year in London, UK, and had one of the most fruitful and rewarding seasons in my career.
7. What piece of healthcare advice would you give to Singaporeans?
Good health is not just about good physical health. Psychological, emotional and spiritual health is just as important and are often overlooked. Take the time to enjoy the moment, whatever the circumstances, so you won’t regret it when the time has passed.
8. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I like to run and do HIIT to de-stress and keep fit. I also like to read up on the latest car models and go for test drives when my schedule allows for it. Lastly, I love travelling, and I am so glad the borders are now open — hopefully, COVID-19 will soon be but a memory!
About Dr Benjamin Yip
Dr Benjamin Yip is the Medical Director & Consultant Gastroenterologist at Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre. He has been a practitioner in the field for almost 20 years, and his expertise lies in advanced endoscopy, where he performs complex endoscopic procedures, such as ERCP, EUS, deep enteroscopy Spyglass cholangioscopy and enteral dilation/stenting.
UTIs: Uro or Gynae?
What is a UTI?
A Urinary Tract Infection or UTI refers to the infection of any part of your urinary system. This system comprises the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. If you have UTIs in the kidney, it will be called Pyelonephritis. If you have UTI in the bladder, it will be known as Cystitis. UTI originating in the urethra will then be known as Urethritis.
UTIs can also be further classified into two categories:
Uncomplicated UTIs are more likely to occur in women. These women are usually young, sexually active and have no structural abnormalities in their genitourinary tract.
Usually, uncomplicated UTIs go away without treatment and are confined to the lower urinary tract.
Complicated UTIs commonly refer to UTIs that:
Happen two or more times in six months or three or more times in a year
Occur with a structural abnormality in the genitourinary tract
Lead to more severe outcomes than patients without any identified risk factors
Cannot be cured with a single course of antibiotics
Occur in a person who has conditions which affect the immune system (e.g. HIV)
Symptoms of UTIs generally are the same across all UTI types and categories. These include:
Urinating more frequently, even when there are only a few drops of urine
A burning sensation when peeing
The sensation of a full bladder, even after urinating
Cloudy, bloody urine
Urine that smells very fishy
When should I see a doctor for my UTI?
Generally, UTIs go away on their own. The real issue starts if and when untreated UTI spreads to other parts of the urinary tract. For example, if UTI spreads to the kidneys, immediate medical attention is needed before kidney failure occurs. Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, you may experience:
UTI in the kidney can be dangerous as the infection can permanently damage your kidneys or spread to the bloodstream (sepsis). Complications of sepsis include excessive blood clotting, which can rupture blood vessels or cause tissue death in essential organs.
Hence, it is paramount to get immediate medical care if you experience the symptoms above.
How do UTIs happen?
UTI is caused by a bacterial infection, the most common being Escherichia coli (E. Coli)
Usually, the bacteria is transferred from the anus to the urethra when one wipes from back to front.
Other bacteria which may cause UTIs include mycoplasma and chlamydia. These bacterial infections are sexually transmitted, so when the infection is detected in either partner, both need to undergo medical treatment to avoid recurrent UTIs.
If you are a woman who has reached menopause, your risk of getting a UTI is also higher as the hormonal imbalances in your body may affect the balance of bacteria in your urinary tract, causing UTI.
Can children get UTIs?
For children, UTIs usually signify more serious conditions such as urinary reflux. Urinary reflux refers to the backflow of urine to the kidneys due to a dysfunctional bladder valve. This increases the risk of a kidney infection in the child, which can be fatal.
Since urinary reflux runs in families, it is important to screen children early if a close relative has the same condition.
Can UTIs go away on their own?
Most uncomplicated UTIs can go away on their own in about a week. However, the recovery rate greatly depends on the individual, where some might never recover from UTIs unless they receive medical treatment.
These cases of long-term UTIs are dangerous, as the infection may spread to the kidneys to cause pyelonephritis or sepsis.
Since one cannot tell which kind of UTI is affecting the individual, it would be advisable to seek treatment immediately when you see signs of a UTI. If it is an uncomplicated UTI, medical treatment will help you recover quicker than without it.
So which doctor do I consult?
First, we should ask ourselves a few questions:
Do I have a frequent urge to pee?
Do I experience pelvic pain?
Does my urine smell weird,
or do I have any of the UTI symptoms mentioned above?
If you experience only these symptoms, it may be ideal to visit a Urologist.
However, you may also experience additional symptoms such as:
Frothy, bright yellow, pink, brown coloured, cheese-curd-like, or fishy-smelling vaginal discharge
Excessive or unexpected vaginal bleeding
If so, then a Gynaecologist would be ideal.
Urologist vs. Gynaecologist
A Gynaecologist is a doctor who specialises in female reproductive health and disease which affects the female reproductive system. Organs of the female reproductive system include:
To diagnose gynaecological conditions, Gynaecologists will need to know what symptoms you have experienced and conduct a series of diagnostic tests. These tests may include hysteroscopy, Pap smears, mammograms and bone density tests.
Some examples of gynaecological conditions include:
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
After arriving at a diagnosis, your Gynaecologist will work out an appropriate treatment plan for you based on your condition.
A Urologist treats both males and females when they face issues in the genitourinary tract. This system comprises the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Symptoms of urological conditions are generally pee-related and can sometimes extend to pelvic pain.
If your Urologist suspects you have a urological condition, they will first need to run some tests to diagnose you. These tests include:
If your urologist confirms that you have a UTI, the treatments which you could be given include:
Of course, urological conditions are not just limited to UTIs. Bladder cancer, kidney and ureteral stones are all conditions that a Urologist can diagnose and treat. To do so, your Urologist might need to run further diagnostic tests like blood tests or do a biopsy.
It can be tough to know when to see a Gynaecologist or Urologist, as symptoms of gynecologic conditions can overlap with those of a UTI. In these situations, the key to choosing the right specialist involves considering any other symptoms present and undergoing more tests.
If you are unsure about where and how to find a doctor for your UTI, try Beyond Medical Assistance! This platform was built to assist in your medical enquiries and help you book appointments with the right doctor. Our knowledgeable healthcare management team has more than 40 years of combined medical experience and would be glad to assist you in your healthcare journey.
Getting a Medical Concierge Service in Singapore 2023
As COVID-19 safe management measures (SMMs) lift, many of you would have likely felt the squeeze as crowds started to appear. With more people out and about, this will likely translate into longer waiting times everywhere, including hospitals.
Health problems are usually time-sensitive and require treatment as soon as possible. However, not everyone has the luxury of time to wait their turn at hospitals. Hence, to meet their healthcare needs, many have turned to an alternate solution: e-medical concierges.
What is a Medical Concierge Service?
Did you know that like hotels, the healthcare industry also has its own concierge services?
In hospitals, patient or clinical concierges help patients navigate the complex world of clinical trials, medical services, and medical insurance. Their primary purpose is to make the patient’s stay in the hospital as comfortable as possible.
Outside of hospitals, medical concierges also exist online and usually act as intermediaries between patients and private healthcare providers. The end result is usually faster, more convenient and personalised treatment.
Types of Online Medical Concierges
Online medical concierges can be differentiated into subtypes such as:
Travel Medical Assistance
The concierge links you up with a wide database of foreign doctors, hospitals and private clinics.
Travel arrangements such as transport and location of stay will be made for you by the concierge.
Private Health Advisories
A team of healthcare advisors work closely with GPs and specialists to provide personalised second opinions for patients.
Such concierges also help link patients up with the right doctor quickly and efficiently.
Some concierges even provide individualised physical examinations and help with complex disease management.
Most Private Health Advisories also handle all administrative procedures, including appointment booking and insurance claims for you
Private Physician Practice
Usually, an annual fee is paid to a doctor who will be at your service 24/7 to provide personalised care and answer all medical questions you have
Most concierge doctors will also help you handle all administrative matters, such as insurance claims and applications for government subsidies (e.g. MediShield)
Most medical concierges often have services that overlap between the three types stated above so as to capture a broader pool of customers. Some have even further differentiated to provide services such as managing employee medical benefits for companies.
What is the difference between Concierge Nursing and Medical Concierges?
When you engage the services of Concierge Nurses, you find that concierge nurses are:
Licensed, professional nurses
Independent of any hospitals, private clinics and home care agencies
Provide nursing services on a subscription basis
Provide fee-for-service plans where payment is given based on the service provided
Go to the patients instead of the patient coming to them
This means patients directly contact the individual nurse to request specific healthcare services and can receive physical aid at whichever location they are at.
Those patients on a subscription plan will also have to pay a regular fee for the nurse’s healthcare services. This regular fee will have to be paid even if there were no visits during the subscription period (e.g. 0 visits a month incurs the same cost as 30 visits a month).
An e-medical concierge usually does not send healthcare professionals to go to a patient physically but recommends doctors for a patient to visit.
Payment modes also differ between Medical Concierges and Concierge Nursing. Medical Concierges are more varied in payment plans, whereby patients enjoy the services for free or pay based on the services used. Concierge Nurses usually only have two modes of payment — subscription-based payments and pay-by-service plans.
How do Medical Concierge Services work in Singapore?
To engage the services of an e-Medical Concierge in Singapore, simply contact the concierge, and tell them about your concerns. From there, the healthcare advisor on the call will refer you to a specialist who can tackle your problems.
Depending on which Medical Concierge you call, they may even help you book an appointment with said specialist or arrange a hospital admission if you urgently require medical care.
If you are an overseas patient, some clinics will be able to help with your travel arrangements all to facilitate your healthcare experience.
Are there any e-Medical Concierges in Singapore?
Some examples of e-Medical Concierges in Singapore include:
Beyond Medical Assistance
The Medical Concierge Group
Ace Medical Concierge
Priority Capital Holding Pte Ltd
Infinity Singapore Medical
What can a Medical Concierge Service do for me?
In general, medical concierge services in Singapore are targeted at both local and foreign patients. The list of services they provide is wide and varied, but a few common services are as follows.
Medical Concierge Services for both local and foreign patients:
Individual Needs Assessment
Referrals and Appointments to specialists
Transport arrangements in Singapore
Answer enquiries on Pre-operative preparation and Post-operative recovery
Letters of Guarantee for Medical Treatment
Assistance with insurance and other Medical claims
Collection and Delivery of Test Results
Collection and Delivery of Medication
Additional Medical Concierge Services for foreign patients:
Transport and living arrangements for medical travel to Singapore
Worldwide Medical Evacuation
Assistance with visa application for medical visits
Do note that this list does not capture all services provided by the various Medical Concierges, but serves only as a general guide.
What is the cost of a Medical Concierge Service?
The cost generally depends on the services and concierge you choose.
Services such as booking appointments, answering enquiries and referrals to specialists are free of charge for most medical concierges.
However, if your choose to engage the services of a concierge doctor, you will need to pay regular membership fees. Otherwise, consultation fees for specialists are usually determined by the clinic you choose to go to after obtaining free referrals from the Medical Concierge.
How do I know which Medical Concierge Service is right for me?
Apart from looking at the services offered by the Medical Concierge, you should also choose a concierge that you can trust to:
Patiently listen to all your needs and concerns
Provide unbiased advice and referrals
Have vast access to different doctors and healthcare providers
One good example is Beyond Medical Assistance, which provides unbiased referrals to all doctors, public or private. These referrals will also be guided by specialists who have at least 15 years of clinical experience and a healthcare management team, with a combined experience of over 40 years in the industry. That way, you can rest assured, knowing that the medical aid you receive is what you truly need.
Other than that, you are free to choose any concierge services that you feel most comfortable with.
How do I contact a Medical Concierge Service?
Contacting an e-Medical Concierge Service is usually hassle-free and done via a text message or phone call.
The first step is to Google for a Medical Concierge that looks like it would suit you. Then just look for the “Contact Us” button on their respective websites or contact information like:
For Beyond Medical Assistance, please call us or WhatsApp us for any enquiry.
Medical concierges are free and easily accessible to the public. If you want to skip the queue at hospitals to get a doctor’s appointment, need a specialist referral, or simply want your medical enquiries answered by healthcare professionals, this is definitely a suitable option for you.
The Complete Guide to Sinusitis Treatment in Singapore (2023)
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a condition that occurs when the sinuses become inflamed and swollen. The sinuses are the cavities around your nasal passages. Inflammation to this area thus blocks drainage and causes mucus build-up in your nose.
The condition is quite common, with around 90% of adults getting the condition at least once. In Singapore, this is even more so due to the climate. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, with some cases clearing within a few days or weeks without intervention, while some other cases may last longer, requiring antibiotics and even surgery.
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
The symptoms of sinusitis include:
Stuffy, blocked nose
Thick, yellow or green mucus discharge
Difficulty breathing through the nose
Slight loss of smell and taste
Pain, pressure, or discomfort around the cheeks, forehead, and behind the eyeballs
Heavy feeling in the head and face
Some patients also experience aching pain around the jaw and teeth, ear pain, headache, sore throat, fever, nausea, and fatigue.
What are the types and causes of sinusitis?
There are 2 types of sinusitis:
· Acute sinusitis
· Chronic sinusitis
The differences between these 2 types will be discussed in the next section.
There are also a few different causes, including:
Viruses – the most common cause, usually easily treatable; is contagious
Bacterial – usually last longer and respond well to oral antibiotics
Fungal – quite rare, usually happens in those with a weakened immune system or those with certain pre-existing conditions
Some medical conditions and anatomical abnormalities, such as:
Crooked nasal septum
Untreated allergic inflammation (ex: hay fever)
HIV and other immune system-related diseases
What are the differences between acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis?
The main difference between the two is the persistence of the symptoms.
Acute sinusitis is also known as acute rhinosinusitis. This condition happens when the symptoms last up to 12 weeks. As the name suggests, sinusitis develops suddenly, often along with a common cold.
Symptoms include runny and stuffy nose and facial pain that persists for 10 days or more. This kind of sinusitis often responds well to home remedies, antibiotics, decongestants, and other oral medications. A sub-type, known as recurrent acute sinusitis, refers to the condition where sinusitis symptoms come back 4 or more times in a year, with each one lasting less than 2 weeks.
On the other hand, sinusitis is classified as chronic sinusitis if the symptoms last more than 12 weeks, even with medical interventions. Note that chronic sinusitis may happen as a complication of acute sinusitis.
Also, symptoms of chronic and acute sinusitis are similar, but fever is not typically experienced by chronic sinusitis patients. For chronic sinusitis cases, oral medicines may not be able to successfully treat the condition and surgical intervention may be necessary. More details on the treatment options will be discussed in the following sections.
What complications can arise from untreated sinusitis?
Very rarely, in some cases, untreated sinusitis may cause complications such as:
Eye infections, reduced vision, and possibly even blindness
Worsening of pre-existing asthma
Is sinusitis contagious?
This depends on the cause of the sinusitis. Bacterial and fungal sinusitis are not contagious, but viral sinusitis are! The virus may spread through:
Direct contact with the body fluid on an infected individual (saliva, mucus)
Contaminated objects (doorknobs, tables)
Virus-laden aerosols (cough/sneeze of an infected person)
When should I go to a doctor for sinusitis?
You should visit a doctor if:
Your symptoms persist for more than a week
Symptoms that worsen after seeming to improve
Your symptoms don’t improve after medications and other treatments
You experience persistent fever
You have a history of recurrent or chronic sinusitis
For your visit, take note of:
Your symptoms and how often they occur
Allergies, asthma, and other medical conditions
History of medical conditions in your family
Medications, vitamins, and supplements you are currently consuming
Do visit the doctor immediately if you experience:
Pain, swelling, or redness around the eyes
Double vision or other vision changes
These symptoms are signs of a serious infection, and you should get it checked immediately! Your ENT specialist can run a thorough diagnosis and create a personalised treatment plan.
How is sinusitis diagnosed?
Sinusitis, especially for chronic cases, is diagnosed through a nasoendoscopic examination. This involves using a small camera that is attached to a tube that will be inserted into the nose to visually inspect the sinuses. This is a really quick procedure that can take less than 3 minutes. The procedure may be uncomfortable but is completely painless for the most part.
If an anatomical abnormality is suspected to be the cause of your condition, a CT scan might also be taken to see the severity and complexity of your condition. This is usually only for chronic or recurring cases.
On top of that, a sample of your nasal discharge may also be taken and examined to determine the exact cause of your condition. This is critical in determining the type of treatment that will be suitable for your case.
Also, if your sinusitis is suspected to have developed following an allergic reaction, your doctor may also recommend an allergy skin test. It is a very quick, painless procedure that can help pinpoint the allergen causing your inflammation and, with that, help you prevent subsequent flare-ups.
What are the treatment options for sinusitis?
For cases of acute sinusitis, the symptoms tend to clear by themselves within a few days. Some treatments that may help you manage the symptoms include:
Spraying saline nasal spray to rinse the nasal passages
Using nasal corticosteroids to help prevent and treat inflammation
Decongestants (may be liquids, tables, or sprays)
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
That said, if the symptoms persist, do get a prescription from a doctor. Depending on the cause of your sinusitis, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications to help clear the condition. If you do get antibiotics, remember to take the whole course prescribed to you, even if the symptoms have cleared out. This is to prevent recurrent sinusitis that may be harder to treat.
If allergies are the main cause of your sinusitis, your doctor may also use immunotherapy, also known as “Allergy Shots”. This helps reduce your body’s reaction to specific allergens thus helping you manage the inflammation and other symptoms.
Surgical treatment for sinusitis
If oral medications are unable to treat the condition, a surgery called functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) may be necessary. First, your doctor will use a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) to explore the sinus passages. Then depending on your condition, your doctor will remove or shave away tissues that are causing the nasal blockage. Another method is to enlarge a narrow sinus opening.
Home remedies to alleviate sinusitis symptoms
Above medications and treatments, there are a few lifestyle changes that will help you manage the symptoms of sinusitis. This includes:
Having lots of rest
Moisturising your sinuses by:
Drape a towel over your head and breathing in the vapour from a bowl of warm water
Taking a warm shower, breathing in the warm and moist air
Doing a warm compress on your nose and forehead
Rinsing out your nasal passages
Can sinusitis be prevented?
Yes! Steps to prevent developing sinusitis include:
Avoiding respiratory infections by:
Avoiding people with colds and other contagious infections
Washing your hands frequently with soap and water
Managing your allergies – talk to your doctor to keep your symptoms at bay
Avoiding cigarette smoke and polluted air
Using a humidifier – make sure to keep the humidifier clean and free of mould
If you are currently experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned in this article, do visit a doctor to get your condition checked. Sinusitis is definitely treatable, especially if treated promptly. Also, take note of the tips mentioned to help relieve the symptoms! Now after reading this, just take a deep breath, have some rest, and relax.
“Chronic Sinusitis - Singapore.” HealthHub, https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/226/chronic_sinusitis_ttsh. Accessed 28 December 2022.
Chumar, Alvin. “What Is Sinusitis?” HealthXchange.sg, https://www.healthxchange.sg/head-neck/ear-nose-throat/what-sinusitis. Accessed 28 December 2022.
Mok, Paul. “Sinus Singapore | Sinusitis Singapore.” My ENT Specialist, https://www.myentspecialist.sg/sinus-problems.php. Accessed 28 December 2022.
“Sinus Infection (Sinusitis): Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, 4 June 2020, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17701-sinusitis. Accessed 28 December 2022.
A Comprehensive Guide to Droopy Eyelid / Ptosis Correction in Singapore (2023)
What is ptosis?
Ptosis, which is more commonly known as droopy eyelids, refers to a condition where the upper eyelids fall to a lower position than normal. Primarily, the muscle that opens the eyelid is the levator palpebrae superioris. This action is also supported by the superior tarsal muscle. Any issues with either of these muscles may sometimes lead to ptosis.
Ptosis may affect only one eye (unilateral ptosis) or both eyes (bilateral ptosis). In severe cases, the drooping eyelid may partially or completely obstruct the pupil, resulting in a reduced field of vision.
What causes ptosis?
Ptosis can be congenital or acquired, meaning that it develops gradually over time. Some common causes of ptosis include:
Maldevelopment of the eyelid muscles
Injury to or stretching of the eyelid muscles or ligaments
Damage to the nerves that control the eyelid muscles
Neuromuscular disorders, such as myasthenia gravis
A complication of Botox injections or eye surgery
Most commonly, ptosis develops due to the stretching of the eyelid muscles or ligaments. This could be caused by excessive rubbing of the eyes, eye surgery, or the use of rigid contact lenses. It can also be caused by eyelid tumours, cysts, or swelling. Additionally, the eyelid muscles will naturally get weaker due to ageing, making ptosis more likely to occur in old age.
What are the symptoms of ptosis?
The primary symptom of ptosis is the drooping of one or both eyelids. Other symptoms may include:
Aching around the eyes
The symptoms accompanying each individual case of ptosis will largely depend on the underlying cause, as well as the severity of the ptosis.
Can ptosis go away on its own?
Ptosis can sometimes resolve on its own. However, this greatly depends on the cause of the ptosis. For example, ptosis caused by nerve problems may improve without any treatment. More often, ptosis is progressive in nature, meaning that it could worsen over time. In such cases, medical intervention will be needed to treat this condition. This could be surgical or non-surgical in nature.
Are there any home remedies for ptosis?
There are certain exercises and home remedies that have been said to treat symptoms of ptosis. For example, chamomile tea bag compresses are often used to reduce inflammation and calm nerves, and some believe that the consumption of Vitamin B12 can also help to treat ptosis. Some exercises believed to help with drooping eyelids include Trataka yogic eye exercises and eye patch exercises in cases of unilateral ptosis.
However, the aforementioned methods are not scientifically proven and are unlikely to give effective and lasting results. A qualified ophthalmologist will be more able to properly diagnose and treat ptosis, either through surgical or non-surgical means.
How is ptosis diagnosed?
An illustration on Marginal Reflex Distance (MRD)
While ptosis can have some obvious visible symptoms, an ophthalmologist will still need to evaluate the underlying cause of the condition to formulate an effective treatment plan. First, you will be asked specifically about your ptosis and then about your general medical history. You will most likely have to undergo a full eye exam. Your ophthalmologist may then carry out one or more of the following tests:
Marginal Reflex Distance This test measures the distance between the centre of the pupil and the edge of the upper eyelid. It helps your ophthalmologist gauge the extent of your condition.
Levator Function This test determines whether the levator muscles are functioning normally and helps your ophthalmologist decide on the best course of treatment for you.
If your ophthalmologist suspects that your ptosis is caused by an underlying condition, he or she may suggest certain blood tests, diagnostic imaging tests, or even a Tensilon test. This is when you are injected with Tensilon, or edrophonium, and asked to carry out specific actions. This test is used to measure muscle strength.
How can ptosis be treated?
Ptosis treatment depends largely on the cause and extent of the condition and can be either minimally invasive or surgical in nature. When an underlying condition is the cause of ptosis, you will most likely be treated for that condition first.
Some minimally invasive treatment options for ptosis include:
Ptosis Crutches These are small devices that are attached to spectacle frames to physically help lift the eyelids.
Botox Injections To help with ptosis, Botox can be injected into the eyebrow area to lift the eyebrow and thus, the eyelid as well. However, the effect of Botox injections is often temporary and will require regular maintenance.
Medicinal Eye Drops In some cases of ptosis, oxymetazoline eye drops can alleviate the symptoms of this condition. They target the levator muscles and can help lift the eyelids.
If surgery is required for your ptosis, a blepharoplasty will most likely be performed. This surgery is often used to tighten the levator muscles, although it can also be done to remove any excess mass in the eyelid. While the main goal of blepharoplasty is to lift the eyelids, your surgeon will also try to achieve symmetry for cosmetic purposes. However, this may not always be possible, especially in cases of congenital ptosis.
Other possible surgical interventions include the frontalis sling procedure, where a sling is created between the eyelid and the frontalis muscle located in the forehead. The frontalis muscle can then be used to control the upper eyelid.
What can you expect during droopy eyelid correction surgery?
After your ophthalmologist has diagnosed your condition and determined the best course of action for your ptosis treatment, he or she will explain the chosen surgical procedure to you during consultation.
The surgery itself, whether it be a blepharoplasty or otherwise, is done under local anaesthesia and it is unlikely that you will have to stay in the hospital overnight.
After the surgery, you may experience some swelling or bruising around the affected area. This can last for a period of up to 2 weeks. The full recovery period for ptosis surgery is estimated to take up to 3 months.
While rare, there are some risks associated with ptosis correction surgery. These include bleeding, infection, under- or over-correction, as well as reduced vision. If you experience any of these side effects, please return to your ophthalmologist or plastic surgeon as soon as possible.
Is ptosis surgery Medisave / insurance claimable in Singapore?
Ptosis surgery is often only Medisave or insurance claimable in cases where the ptosis results in a functional problem, meaning that it affects your vision significantly according to MOH conditions. You will require an official assessment from an ophthalmologist and must first undergo a Marginal Reflex Distance test.
Can ptosis be prevented?
In most cases, ptosis cannot be prevented. This is especially so in cases of an underlying condition that causes ptosis.
If the ptosis is not caused by any underlying conditions, avoiding excessive eye rubbing and reducing any prolonged use of contact lenses may help to reduce your risk of developing ptosis.
Ptosis is a fairly condition that is usually congenital or caused by ageing. It can affect your appearance and even your day-to-day life if your vision is affected or if you experience symptoms like headaches or migraines. If you are suffering from ptosis and would like to seek treatment or find out more about the condition, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Specialties & Sub-specialties in Medicine: Are you seeing the right doctor?
The human body is complex, and the realm of health and medicine is just as vast and extensive. Although all doctors share the same goal of helping you get better and stay healthy, they each have their own skillset and expertise, or specialities. Some doctors opt to further their practice within the area of their specialty and focus on more specific conditions, structures or treatments — these are called subspecialties.
For example, you could have two cardiologists who both specialise in matters of heart health (cardiology), but one could sub-specialise in interventional cardiology, while the other in electrophysiology and pacing — just like how a house would need a plumber and an electrician.
Under the same analogy, if your child had heart issues and needed treatment, would you go to a paediatric cardiologist or would you go to an interventional cardiologist? Understandably, it can be confusing.
In Singapore, there are 49 recognised clinical specialties in the medical field, ranging from Anaesthesiology to Urology .
Each specialty branches out into sub-specialties,with over 100 different sub-specialties in Singapore. Under Cardiology, the doctor could specialise in anything from clinical cardiology to electrophysiology or heart failures and transplants.
Why do doctors have sub-specialties?
To ensure the best patient care, sub-specialties allow doctors to narrow down their focus on specific areas of their specialty, allowing them in-depth knowledge and enabling them to treat complex health problems that they may not have been able to without subspecialising.
After completing their medical training, doctors can undergo fellowships and residencies to train in their subspecialty of choice. Doctors can even opt to have dual-subspecialty by getting the appropriate training.
General practitioners, specialists and subspecialists
General practitioners are generally your frontline doctors or your primary care physicians. They are the first people we consult when we suffer from a symptom but do not know what’s wrong. From there, a general diagnosis is done, and they will provide you with treatment.
However, if necessary, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for a more comprehensive diagnosis and if you require more specialised and treatment. A specialist may refer you to a subspecialist if you have a specific or complex condition that needs further diagnosis.
How do I find the right specialist doctor in Singapore?
There are two main ways to find the right specialist doctor for you:
Ask your General Practitioner (GP)
As mentioned earlier, your GP could perform an initial diagnosis and help understand the underlying causes of your symptoms. If you need further treatment, they can recommend what type of specialist you should seek a diagnosis from next.
The advantage of having your GP as the first point of contact is that they would be able to refer you to a specialist who would be better equipped to treat your condition. The trade-off, however, is that it may take you more consultations, and hence a longer wait before you get the necessary treatment or procedure. This may not be the best option if your condition is time-sensitive or if you’re experiencing symptoms that you would want immediately treated.
Do your research
If you are already aware of your symptoms, you could visit the specialist straightaway. There are hundreds of specialist doctors online in Singapore, and doing your due diligence could land you the right one. There are other things to take note of, such as:
The doctor’s background - specialist doctors' specialties or certain treatments and techniques they are known for.
The clinic location - you could consider the location of the clinic and how far it will take to travel to and fro appointments. This may be a factor of concern, especially if you will have to see the doctor often for check-ups, such as an orthopaedic specialist.
Check your insurance coverage - you may have restrictions on which medical providers you can use and if certain treatments are insurance claimable. Some clinics have this information online but it would be best to drop them a call and enquire as information isn’t always updated online.
Contact Beyond Medical Assistance
Here at Beyond Medical Assistance, we take the hassle out of finding the right medical provider and walk you through the entire process — from hearing your concerns and referring you to the right specialist to arranging your first consultation and assisting in your insurance claims and billing process. We function as a single point of contact for all your healthcare needs, such as:
Specialist referrals and appointment scheduling
Medical concierge and limousine services
Insurance and billings claims
Post-op recovery and assistance
Beyond Medical Assistance offers concierge services for overseas patients as well. We cut the hassle by assisting with Visa applications for medical visits, arranging medical appointments and flight and accommodation bookings. We also assist in facilitating proper communication between your overseas medical provider and Singapore specialist to ensure that you get the necessary care and attention.
Knowing specifically where and who to consult can help you save time and receive treatment earlier. With the vastness of specialties and subspecialties available, it can, understandably, be confusing. Beyond Medical Assistance is committed to being your single point of contact for your medical needs. Contact us to book a consultation, and we’ll link you up with the right healthcare specialist.
 Singapore General Hospital. “Specialties and Services.” Departments and Centres, https://www.sgh.com.sg/patient-care/specialties-services/specialties-and-services-singapore-general-hospital. Accessed 26 November 2021.
Global Health Asia-Pacific: Strategic 360 Marketing Medical Centre in Singapore 2022
Beyond Medical Group is awarded the Singapore SME 500 Award 2022
Singapore – We are pleased to announce that Beyond Medical Group has passed all assessments and has achieved the Singapore SME 500 Award 2022. The Singapore SME 500 Award 2022 is significant for our business as it affirms our business standards, qualities and performance.
The Singapore SME 500 Award continues to be one of Singapore's highly regarded business accolades that recognises local enterprises for their business qualities, excellence and capabilities. The assessment is conducted by the Association of Trade & Commerce (Singapore), and part of the process includes evaluating enterprises in their quantitative and qualitative aspects, including the ability to further develop the business and scale its market.
Being awarded the Singapore SME 500 Award is an achievement for us, and we will like to thank our partners, colleagues and clients who have made this possible.
About Beyond Medical Group
Beyond Medical Group (BMG) is a healthcare collective that believes in providing quality private healthcare with a portfolio of private specialists clinics, medical aesthetics clinics and medical spa branches in Singapore. Its main prerogative is to build clinics from the ground up, putting a large focus on clinic management and ensuring that their clinics remain relevant, profitable and competitive by providing logistic, organisational and administrative support so that doctors can focus on clinical work and patient care delivery.
About the Association of Trade & Commerce (Singapore)
The Association of Trade & Commerce (Singapore) (ATC) is a business association that represents and advocates for the interests and development of Singapore enterprises across all industries and business sectors.
Beyond Medical Group welcomes Altair Capital as New Significant Minority Shareholder
Singapore, 26 October 2022 – Beyond Medical Group (“Beyond” or “the company”), a multi-disciplinary private specialist healthcare group in Singapore, has just completed a transaction that saw Altair Capital (“Altair”), a Southeast Asian-focused private equity firm, take up a significant minority stake in Beyond.
Established in 2013 by Mr Ivan Lee & Dr Lee Mun Heng, Beyond is a Healthcare Collective with quality patient-centric care and service excellence in mind, which believes in providing quality private healthcare and a seamless healthcare journey that goes beyond the provision of medical services — from booking the first appointment to post-procedure processes.
The company strives to stay at the forefront of medical advancements and is proud to be working with esteemed and reputable medical partners to deliver services and procedures of the highest quality.
Beyond believes that doctors should focus solely on clinical work and patient care delivery. Keeping with this philosophy, Beyond has built a strong team in the headquarters to support the medical team; it provides extensive assistance to all its clinics, underpinned by its experienced finance and accounts team, an in-house marketing department, human resource functions and regulatory support capabilities.
To date, Beyond has a portfolio of 12 doctors and 16 centers in Singapore across various specialties such as Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Orthopedics, Urology, and Plastic Surgery.
Beyond has been receiving various awards in recent years, including the Best Progressive Medical Group of the Year in the Asia-Pacific 2021 and the SME500 Singapore Award Winner 2022.
Ivan Lee, Chairman of Beyond Medical Group said: “The driving force behind this transaction is growth. This is an opportunity to create value by combining Beyond’s competitiveness and strengths in a growing demand healthcare services space with Altair’s knowledge and depth of expertise in strategic management within the Southeast Asia landscape. In light of Singapore’s growing demand and healthcare spending to support its healthcare transformation efforts and future-proof the healthcare system, Beyond’s expansion will offer a wider array of services for multiple specialist offerings for patients. We are excited to partner with Altair to create an extensive network of specialist care services in Singapore and are confident that the doctors and other associates will have expanded opportunities and improved economics as part of a larger organization.”
Elayne Soh, CEO of Beyond Medical Group said: “With a commitment to providing quality healthcare services, Beyond’s robust headquarters in Singapore has been consistently providing its corporate shared services and capabilities to support its specialist and their clinics. Doctors are now readily able to enjoy more time in their clinical involvement in areas of research, clinical trials, and precision medicine. This newly formed alliance with Altair will strengthen our presence in Singapore and our Group’s strategy as we engage the high-growth medical specialties. Furthermore, our partnership with Altair catalyses our next phase of growth within primary care, as well as other new initiatives tailored to elevate the patient experience in Singapore.”
Gary Ng, Partner at Altair Capital said: “At Altair Capital, we are constantly looking for new opportunities to invest into quality companies across Southeast Asia. With the growing demand and spending for healthcare services in Singapore, we see great potential for growth in Beyond and are delighted to partner them in their next stage of growth. Beyond has developed a strong platform and model of attracting specialist doctors under the leadership of Ivan and Elayne and we believe that Beyond can expand beyond specialist care services to become an integrated healthcare provider. We hope to leverage on our experiences of working with various companies to help Beyond create value for all stakeholders, as well as sharing best practices to bring Beyond to the next level.”
Tardis Capital advised the shareholders of Beyond for this transaction.