Local experts share the latest in health
From treating the root cause of varicose veins to losing and maintaining weight or achieving a younger look, a number of growing health trends are being noted by area specialists who can recommend treatments, as well as questions you might ask your health professional when addressing a particular health issue. From technological to behavioral trends, both helpful solutions and unfortunate tendencies are identified by local doctors who want to help patients achieve their best and healthiest selves. This month, we checked in with a number of healthcare professionals about the latest trends in their fields.
Achieving Weight Loss Through Metabolic Surgery
Dr. Matthew French is a bariatric surgeon whose practice, French Bariatric Surgery, offers a spectrum of options for those who want to lose weight and those who need to for medical reasons. From medically supervised weight loss programs to endoscopic and surgical options, patients pursuing weight loss have more options today than in the past. According to Dr. French, one trend in the field of bariatrics is a move towards surgical intervention for smaller patients with lower BMIs than before.
“In the past, doctors would only recommend surgery for patients who were very sick, older or with diabetes or high blood pressure – people who weren’t going to live much longer. Today, that’s not the case. We operate on healthy patients who might need to lose weight because of blood pressure or sleep apnea,” says Dr. French.
Dr. French credits the safety of the surgery for this trend – smaller laparoscopic incisions, quicker healing, less pain and fewer complications. Also, the surgery is now considered a metabolic surgery; not only does it make the stomach smaller, it also changes hormone levels that control hunger and metabolic rates, increasing life span by an average of 12 years in patients.
Treating the Root Cause of Spider & Varicose Veins
At Gitter Vein Institute, Dr. Richard Gitter focuses on the proper diagnosis and treatment of venous disease, a condition that occurs when valves in the leg veins fail to properly propel blood back to the heart. Common signs and symptoms include varicose and spider veins, swelling or heaviness in the legs and feet, pain and/or itching, restless legs, easy bruising and ultimately stained, leather-like skin around the calf and ankles. By focusing specifically on this disease, Dr. Gitter is able to stay on top of the trends and latest advancements for both diagnosis and treatment of venous disease.
Proper diagnosis, which is conducted in-house through a standing venous ultrasound is the first important step in approaching venous disease.
“The venous ultrasound must be performed with the patient standing. If not, most or all venous insufficiency can be missed,” says Dr. Gitter. After diagnosis, patient-friendly, cutting-edge technologies and medicines contribute to reduced recovery times and little to no downtime. According to Dr. Gitter, the Institute offers treatments that are ideal for even the most challenging anatomies. In all but the most extreme cases patients may walk out after a quick treatment and go back to work that same day, he says.
Exploring Trends in Skin Care
At Sanova Dermatology, Dr. Kristy Charles provides dermatologic care that ranges from routine skin checks to complex issues and surgical removal of skin lesions. She has additional expertise in cosmetic procedures, including injectable fillers and neurotoxins, chemical peels, sclerotherapy, laser for vascular and pigmented lesions and facial rejuvenation. One trend Dr. Charles notes is that more patients are coming in for full body skin exams.
“Not all skin cancers have symptoms. A skin exam is important, as early detection of skin cancer and can be lifesaving,” she says. She stresses the importance of getting a baseline full body skin exam by a dermatologist.
Additionally, Dr. Charles is seeing patients with skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis opting for biologics (Humira, Enbrel, Dupixent), which she says provide excellent results and are safe to be on long term for most patients. She recommends patients with these conditions who aren’t responding to topical treatments seek evaluation to see if biologics might be a good option.
At the Skin Surgery Centre, Drs. Keith LeBlanc Jr., Elizabeth Bucher and Corey Rougelot provide Mohs surgery and dermatologic surgical care. Each surgeon is fellowship-trained in Mohs micrographic surgery, which is widely recognized as today’s most effective and advanced treatment for skin cancer, offering the highest potential for cure even if the skin cancer has been previously treated by another method.
According to Dr. LeBlanc, many people are unfortunately trending away from proper sunscreen application, either by forgetting or choosing not to wear it or apply it adequately. While it’s recommended to apply 1 ounce per application (approximately one shot glass worth of sunscreen), data shows the average American applies less than half of this, according to Dr. LeBlanc. Reapplication should occur every two to three hours of continued exposure and every time you get out of the water.
“Most skin cancer treated by Mohs surgery is related to unprotected sun exposure. With that in mind, the best advice that I can give is to protect yourself from unnecessary UV damage,” says Dr. LeBlanc. In addition to sun-safe practices like proper sunscreen application, wearing protective clothing and seeking shade, Dr. LeBlanc also recommends products like Heliocare, a one-a-day dietary supplement that can help protect your skin from chemicals and sun radiation as well as damage from alcohol and tobacco use.
Altering Aesthetics Medically
Belladonna Day Spa has been a staple for self-pampering in the Lower Garden District for more than 25 years, and the spa has added medical aesthetic lasers and medical injectables to its growing list of experiences. Aestheticians offer laser hair removal, body contouring, skin resurfacing and tattoo removal in addition to traditional spa services.
“The top trends in medical aesthetics are anti-aging and body contouring,” says Belladonna’s Dr. Donna Tesi. “We have technology that includes lasers and radiofrequency to treat all signs of aging in all skin types. Non-invasive fat reduction and body shaping add to the variety of services we provide,” she says. Dr. Tesi performs all injectables and fillers for smoothing lines and building volume in the face. She also oversees all laser treatments.
Enhancing Handsomness with Botox
With over 20 years of experience and international training, Dr. Kelly Burkenstock focuses on anti-aging techniques and disciplines at her practice, Dr. Burkenstock’s Skin • Body • Health. According to her, one of the biggest current trends in the field is more men seeking the benefits of rejuvenation through treatments such as Botox (or BROtox), lip enhancements and cheek fillers.
“BROtox for men is safe and effective, and, when performed by an experienced aesthetic physician, enhances male handsomeness and doesn’t feminize the face,” says Dr. Burkenstock. “Men are keeping up and enjoying a youthful appearance as they approach middle age and beyond.” According to Dr. Burkenstock, the youthful appearance has the added benefit of helping male baby boomers compete with younger work competition in their careers.
Knowing Your Options in Dental Restorations
A restorative-cosmetic dental practice, Elizabeth Riggs Dentistry offers comprehensive dental treatment with a special interest in esthetics.
“In recent years, we have seen the rise in all ceramic (white) restorations. These can include various forms of porcelains, solid zirconia, layered zirconia, lithium disilicates and more. Materials are constantly changing and being modified for longevity, durability and esthetics,” says Dr. Riggs.
When beginning the restorative process, Dr. Riggs recommends asking your doctor if an all-ceramic restoration is appropriate for the tooth or teeth and, if so, also asking which ceramic material is best.
“Can we achieve both strength and beauty with this material? Would a gold restoration be something to consider here for longevity, wear, and overall health?” These are other questions Dr. Riggs recommends patients ask. While acknowledging that ceramic restorations are beautiful, lifelike and at times the right choice, she also notes that with the rise of these esthetic restorations, some patients and dentists might overlook the functionality and importance of utilizing gold, which can be a superior choice when restoring teeth in the back of the mouth due to the material’s kindness to the joints and opposing teeth. Knowing your options and asking questions can help ensure the best restoration techniques are used.
Taking a Comprehensive Approach to Facial Enhancements
While non-surgical anti-aging techniques are popular, so too are surgical approaches to looking and feeling younger. At Facial Plastic Surgery, Dr. Sean Weiss provides surgical and non-surgical treatments focused on the face, head and neck, such as facelift, necklift, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, browlifting, hair restoration and skin care.
“With focused attention on the face, we’re able to provide optimal results for those wanting aesthetic enhancements,” says Dr. Weiss. As to trends, he notes that younger patients are now having face and neck lift procedures.
“More and more patients in their late forties and early 50s are having face and neck rejuvenation procedures. The benefit of doing this is that the tissues respond better for a longer lasting result,” he says. “A combined approach of surgical and non-surgical treatments starting at an early age is the best way to ensure natural appearing, long-lasting outcomes. Patients seeking facial enhancements should ask if their doctor specializes their work in face and neck area,” he adds.
French Bariatric Surgery
3100 Galleria Drive, Suite 300
Gitter Vein Institute
1 Galleria Blvd., 100
3434 Prytania St., Suite 310
The Skin Surgery Centre
1615 Metairie Road, Suite 101
Belladonna Day Spa
2900 Magazine St.
Dr. Burkenstock’s Skin • Body • Health
6600 Fleur De Lis
Dr. Sean Weiss – Facial Plastic Surgery
2201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 408
Elizabeth Riggs Dentistry
3442 Magazine St.