BY TINA BROWN
Medical Center Helps You Live Better
COVER STORY: Patients feel better when they are done because of a host of hormone-replacement treatments available for men and women.
Michele Davis is a patient of Live Well MD, a medical center that specializes in treating menopausal symptoms, providing hormone replacement therapies and performing cosmetic surgeries for men and women in Savannah.
When menopause hit, Michele Davis was exercising and dieting regularly, but couldn’t get rid of her belly. She also suffered from hot flashes that made her body feel like it was turning into an inferno. So she sought treatment at Live Well MD.
Her tests showed she needed a combination of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, B12 and thyroid therapies. Finally, her menopausal symptoms abated. Once she felt better physically, a couple of cosmetic procedures helped Michelle feel even better.
Michele Davis had just turned 50 when she started feeling miserable. Though she exercised and dieted regularly, she couldn’t get rid of her pudgy belly. And, then there were the hot flashes. Davis said her menopausal symptoms were taking over her life, but the retired insurance executive resisted getting immediate help.
She went on vacation in Italy, hoping a change of scenery would elevate her mood about the changes in her body.
“I’ve been cold my entire life. All of a sudden, I started being hot.” But nothing could reverse the heat, said Davis, who turns 52 in September.
She said she felt like her body heat was turning into an inferno.“I can’t do this anymore,’’ she told herself.
She decided that once she returned to Savannah, she would investigate hormone-replacement treatments.
Within a few months, Davis said, she became the “poster child’’ for Live Well MD, a medical center that specializes in treating menopausal
symptoms, providing hormone replacement therapies and performing cosmetic surgeries for men and women in Savannah.
Live Well MD was started three years ago by Memorial University Medical Center emergency room physician Mary Kay Ross and her
husband, Stephen. Their office is tucked into an office park on Commercial Drive.
Different atmosphere, different treatments
The Rosses created a place where patients like Davis are greeted with smiles in a lime-green waiting room with the smell of rain wafting from a tabletop water foundation. Promotional pamphlets for “minimally invasive” cosmetic procedures and before-andafter digital photographs of some of their patients are on display.
Some 350 men and women have begun their care in this spa-like ambience.Mary Kay Ross said patients say they feel better when they are done because of a host of hormone-replacement treatments available for men and women.
During a typical visit, Ross said, she spends 45 minutes to an hour discussing a patient’s medical history and taking blood work. Women generally say they are tired, have gained weight and don’t sleep well. Men also say they’re tired, have gained weight and may be developing man-boobs, Ross said.
“Sometimes, the man says ‘I’m not where I used to be,’” she said. “I can’t get rid of this spare tire, and I have no libido.”
About 50 percent of Live Well MD’s patients are men, Ross said, but women traditionally get medical help for menopausal symptoms and
are often misdiagnosed for signs of depression.
One woman in her 50s, for example, had been “mistakenly put on antidepressants.” It didn’t work. She wasn’t depressed.
“When she came to Live Well MD, she was in tears.” Sometimes, Ross said, she asks female patients to check their estrogen levels and to take vitamin D and B12. She also looks at cardiovascular risks and tests patients’ genetic markers to check for risk for other disorders.
“There is so much information for patients. People are taking health into their own hands,” said Stephen Ross. He said the medical practice is expanding to also offer preventive services.
Live Well MD’s success rate is measured patient by patient. It took six months for one patient to see changes in her skin, weight and mood swings, Mary Kay Ross said.
Feeling good inside and out
Live Well MD also offers a variety of cosmetic surgeries and procedures such as Botox, liposuction, skin tightening and breast lifting.
“Once people feel better, they want to look better,’’ Mary Kay Ross said.
One such treatment called Lipotherme allows her and her staff to remove fat from a patient’s body without putting them under anesthesia.
“There is no sedation,” she said. “Patients drive themselves home.” Excess fat that creates love handles, double chins and bigger bellies is heated and liquefied before it is suctioned out through a tube.
She said seeking treatment was the best thing she’s ever done for herself. After her hormone replacement treatments, Davis said she underwent Lipotherme and Botox treatments.
“I’d dieted,” Davis said, “but the little pudgy belly wouldn’t go away.” The Lipotherme procedure took about three to four hours, and only
four fingernail-size scars were left behind.
“My stomach is flat,” Davis said. The Botox treatment she received between her eyebrows made her look more relaxed and removed her furrowed brow. Davis said the multiple procedures “added to my level of self-confidence and, yes, vanity.”