May 23, 2022
This week Ivy Slater, host of Her Success Story, chats with her guest, Dr. Celina Nadelman. The two talk about what makes Dr. Nadelman’s practice so unique, and how she has made it work for her in ways that offer balance and flexibility that keep her from wanting to retire.
In this episode, we discuss:
Dr. Celina Nadelman is a graduate of USC Keck School of Medicine. She lived in Italy for three years, first as an art student, then as a decorative and restorative arts student and neuroscience research fellow at La Sapienza University of Rome.
Dr. Celina Nadelman, MD is a board certified cytopathologist, which is a unique kind of pathologist. Her area of expertise is in fine needle aspiration (FNA), which is a biopsy done by a very small needle. Having a biopsy, no matter how small, can be worrisome and stressful. Dr. Nadelman is committed to making her patients feel secure and comfortable. With a background in internal medicine, she has experience working directly with people. She is not just sitting in a lab, like most pathologists, looking at slides. Also, when an FNA is performed and then interpreted by the same person, diagnostic accuracy increases. That means you get correct answers fast.
As an undergraduate, Dr. Nadelman studied psychology and studio art. Her background in visual thinking was a perfect match for pathology, which is a visually oriented discipline. She discovered her passion for FNA during her first year of residency at a county hospital. She enjoyed direct patient contact (most pathologists do not see patients), as well as the opportunity to help solve the mystery of whatever ailed patients, from beginning to end.
Pathologists are not the only doctors who perform fine needle aspiration biopsies. For instance, an ENT, endocrinologist, surgeon or a radiologist could perform the same biopsy. However, these doctors are not trained to read the slide under the microscope, and thus, cannot make the diagnosis. The sample must be sent to a lab, where a pathologist makes the diagnosis to see whether the lump sampled is cancerous or not. Sometimes, patients must return for another procedure if the specimen is determined not good enough to make a diagnosis. This adds time and money, let alone anxiety, to what could otherwise be a simple procedure. The opportunity to treat patients compassionately, efficiently, accurately, and cost-effectively became Dr. Nadelman’s main pursuit.
With a bedside manner developed during her years as a clinician, Dr. Nadelman views the patient’s problem holistically. By meeting the patient personally, doing a focused history and physical exam, and viewing the lesion under an ultrasound, she is in a unique position to put together all this important information in order to formulate a better, faster, more accurate diagnosis. In addition, as a cytopathologist, Dr. Nadelman can do an on-site evaluation of one of the slides, which allows her to see if she has enough material, or if the sample needs to be sent for other tests. This virtually eliminates the need for repeat biopsies. The specimen is then processed in her personal laboratory, where she will read it under a microscope and make a diagnosis. Dr. Nadelman is the one-stop shop for biopsy and diagnosis. And because of this streamlined process, she receives better diagnostic results, as quickly as possible.
In addition, as a private practice pathologist, Dr. Nadelman has close relationships with her referring doctors, and will often call them to discuss the findings very soon after taking a first look at the sample. Many times, a preliminary diagnosis can be given just hours after the procedure. This helps to lower patient anxiety and can guide the referring doctor as to what to do next, in a timely fashion.
When performed by the right, skilled person, an FNA can be a very powerful tool. Dr. Nadelman’s goal is to use that tool in a compassionate, patient-centered environment, while engaging in open and immediate communication with the referring doctor, to give her patients the best care possible.
Dr. Nadelman is happily married with three boys. She likes to bake, cook, dance, and travel in her spare time.