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Procedure to fix radio DJ’s aorta posed high risk to his voice, but UCLA docs came through

Just a few months ago, Sandy “The Sandman” Fagin, a disc jockey with Laguna Beach’s KX-93.5 FM and a voiceover actor, was living with a ticking time bomb — a tennis ball–sized aneurysm near his heart that was threatening to burst.

Because of the aneurysm’s location, a rare two-part surgery was recommended at UCLA. But the first procedure carried a surprising risk: It could damage his voice, as it involved rerouting the blood flow from his neck’s carotid arteries, which are in close proximity to the delicate vocal cord nerves. Read more >

Rare surgery at UCLA helps Southern California teen judo champ return to the mat

Myles Honda, a 16-year-old from Torrance, California, was ranked No. 1 in the nation in judo for his age and weight class. He had even earned the nickname “Giant Killer” from an opposing coach thanks to his uncanny ability to take down much taller opponents. But fatigue and weakness in his left arm had started to sideline him.

Concerned, his parents had him evaluated by Dr. Ruey-Kang Chang of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Chang recognized that Myles likely had a circulation problem and referred him to the UCLA Aortic Center. Read more >