A Holistic Approach To Total Wellness

One-stop shop offers treatments for the whole body, from inside to out.

Located just south of the Colorado border, the Horse Lake Mesa Game Park in northwestern New Mexico is so teeming with elk that on the morning of her first excursion this past December, Leslie Ward bagged her greatest hunting prize yet.

Leslie: AFTER

“I had a guide who took us down to where the elk were moving, and I was able to put one down,” Leslie details. “My husband got one as well, so now we have two freezers full of elk meat.”

Several years ago, after she and her husband moved to Okeechobee, Leslie went in search of a physician to help her manage her hormones. With no guide to aid her, she found what she considers another great prize in Melissa Dean, MD.

Founder of the Dean Wellness Institute, Dr. Dean practices traditional medicine while also offering a holistic approach to wellness. She is an expert in treating menopause and andropause and specializes in a variety of wellness treatments.

That list includes bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which is considered the most natural and effective solution for hormone-related issues such as insomnia, vaginal dryness and lack of focus that once afflicted Leslie.

Bioidentical hormones are natural byproducts of a plant derivative that are molecularly identical to the hormones produced by the body and can be administered in a number of ways, including creams and sublingual tablets.

Since undergoing a complete hysterectomy 25 years ago, Leslie says she has tried all those treatments. None have worked as well for her as hormone pellets, and the fact Dr. Dean offers that treatment is why Leslie visited her in the first place.

“With the pellet therapy, we make a small incision and insert the pellet beneath the skin,” Dr. Dean explains. “The pellet slowly dissolves and is absorbed into the system. Many patients find that approach to be much easier than managing a daily application.”

Prior to prescribing any treatment, Dr. Dean meets privately with patients to learn their activity levels, lifestyle choices and medical history, including where women are in the cycle of life.

It was during such a meeting that Leslie realized Dr. Dean could do more for her than balance her hormones. Taking notice of the lengthy list of aesthetic treatments offered by the Dean Wellness Institute, Leslie sought help in that area as well.

“One of the first things I did was laser hair removal,” Leslie confides. “I was starting to get that little peach fuzz on my face, and it was so annoying. So, I tried the laser hair removal, and the results were absolutely wonderful. One of the best things I did for myself.”

The laser hair removal treatment was performed by certified electrologist Anne Harrell, CME, CCE. The owner of Laser Institute of Vero Beach, Anne has a satellite location inside the Dean Wellness Institute, where Leslie eventually returned for additional treatments.

One of those is called a PDO thread lift. Another is microneedling with platelet rich plasma, or PRP.

Need a Lift?

The PDO thread lift is a nonsurgical skin-lifting and rejuvenation procedure that is effective in treating the neck and jawline, where the results are immediately noticeable.

Leslie: BEFORE

The treatment uses absorbable, protein-enriched, medical-grade polydioxanone threads that are inserted beneath the skin. These threads naturally lift the skin while also promoting collagen production and skin renewal at the cellular level.

There are three types of PDO threads — lifting, volumizing and smoothing threads — and they come in many sizes and forms. When inserted beneath the skin, they work like sutures to lift the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin texture and elasticity.

“We start by numbing a couple of insertion points,” Dr. Dean educates. “We then insert the threads. As you insert each thread, you actually pull on it to lift it up. That pulls the tissue up, which is how you get that dramatic and immediate effect.”

A PDO thread lift can be completed in about 45 minutes, but the results can last for up to two years. It requires no downtime for recovery. Patients can return to work or resume normal activities immediately.

Liquid Gold

Microneedling with PRP is a skin-rejuvenation treatment during which a trained technician uses a small handheld device to induce microtraumas to the skin. The microtraumas are then treated with PRP to further enhance the therapy.

Each session begins with a blood draw from the patient’s arm. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge, where it is spun down. Afterward, a special kit is used to separate the red blood cells from the plasma and PRP.

“What you’re left with is what we refer to as liquid gold,” Dr. Dean explains. “That’s the plasma with all the growth factors, or PRP. We put that into a syringe and disperse it like a lotion across the targeted area while performing the microneedling.

“The results were absolutely wonderful!” – Leslie

“When performing microneedling, the body’s response is to send growth factors from inside the body to the site of the microtraumas. With PRP, we’re also applying growth factors to the outside of those microtraumas.

“By itself, microneedling is an excellent skin-rejuvenation tool. By combining it with PRP, which contains natural growth factors obtained from the patient’s blood, the rejuvenation process is enhanced exponentially.”

The microneedling treatment, including prep, blood draw and procedure, lasts only about an hour, and it can be used to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, tighten skin and even reduce or eliminate scarring.

No Downtime

“There’s no downtime with this treatment, and the effects are like that of a slight sunburn. Someone can leave here after a treatment and go right back to work or to another appointment without any concerns.”

Leslie has also received some BOTOX® injections, and she’s happy to report that all the treatments provided the improvements she desired. She further notes that she greatly appreciates Dr. Dean for how she treats patients in such a caring manner.

“Dr. Dean and her physician assistant (Catherine Cheries, PA) are so comforting and easy to talk to,” Leslie raves. “When I go in for my hormone replacement therapy, I can sit down and talk with them as if I’ve known them all my life.

“They treat people with so much compassion and care and understanding that it’s just amazing. The entire staff is like that, no matter what treatment you have done. Everyone treats you so well that I just can’t say enough good things about them.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Before and after images courtesy of Dean Wellness Institute. mkb
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    • Dean Wellness Institute

      Dean Wellness Institute has been serving Vero Beach, FL and the surrounding areas for over 15 years. Their wellness institute is focused on providing a holistic approach to wellness and improved health. They work closely with their patients to ... Read More

    • Melissa Dean, MD

      Melissa Dean, MD, specializes in internal and general preventive medicine and is an expert in treating menopause and andropause. She has been trained in diabetes management, hormone replacement and nutrition. She earned a Bachelor of Science in... Read More