Dr. Lisa Perez 1

By Lisa Perez, M.D.

If your parents or grandparents received treatment for their varicose veins in years past, you might have heard horror stories about painful vein stripping and long recovery periods. Many people with venous disease avoided being evaluated because of what they’d heard, the treatment sounded far worse than the disease. The good news is that now, it is easier to treat varicose veins than ever before.

The Long and Short of Venous Disease

Varicose and spider veins result when valves designed to keep blood from running backward away from the heart and back down into the legs fail or become loose and leaky—allowing backflow of blood, which stretches out veins and can cause high pressure in the veins. This pressure is transmitted up to the surface, causing spider and/or varicose veins, and can even push fluid into ankle and leg tissue, causing swelling. Aside from the unsightly purple snake-like veins, varicose veins can cramp or throb at night and can even develop blood clots. So much blood pooling in the legs can cause the legs to feel heavy and leaden. If fluid from the dilated vessels seeps into tissues, it can affect circulation to the skin, causing an itchy rash and even a painful ulcer.

Today’s Treatments

Fortunately, thanks to less invasive procedures, varicose veins can be treated on an outpatient basis. The treatments to eliminate varicose veins have improved dramatically in recent years. Patients no longer need to endure painful surgical vein stripping under general anesthesia. Thermal ablation treatments including endovenous laser or radio frequency treatments are performed in a doctor’s office and do not require sedation or a hospital stay. Medical lasers have proven their safety and effectiveness in all kinds of medical procedures and offer far less chance of complications than traditional surgical approaches.

“The treatments to eliminate varicose veins have improved dramatically in recent years.” 

Venous DiseaseNow, a thin radio frequency catheter or laser may be inserted into the diseased vein, heating the vein and causing it to collapse and eventually be reabsorbed by the body. This is done under local anesthesia in less than an hour. Healing is relatively easy although there may be some bruising and the vein may take several months or more to reabsorb.

Another technique often used is called foam sclerotherapy. Through a small needle or IV catheter, a medication that is made into foam is injected into the diseased veins, causing them to collapse and eventually shrink until they are absorbed by the body. Thanks to the recent advancements in medicine and technology, modern vein treatments are noninvasive, more effective and less dangerous than the old methods of treating this disease. Now is the time to seek treatment for your venous disease. Don’t let your grandmother’s bad experience keep you from treating your varicose veins!

Dr. Perez moved to the Atlanta area in 2000, and has been an active member of the medical community since that time. She began treating veins in 2011, and became the medical director of Circulatory Centers. She joined the VeinInnovations medical staff in 2015, and works out of their Midtown and Sandy Springs locations. Her passion for treating venous insufficiency comes, in large part, from the joy she receives in watching patients lives transform following treatment. 

VEININNOVATIONS • (678) 731-9815 • Veininnovations.com

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By Jacob A. Strong, M.D.By Jacob A. Strong, M.D.

If you have ever experienced lower back pain, you are not alone. Studies indicate that 60 to 90 percent of the population has experienced it at least once in their lives. The good news is that 50 percent of back pain will resolve in one to two weeks, and 90 percent will resolve in six to 12 weeks. Now the question becomes when and when not to seek treatment for your back pain.

Acute or New Onset of Lower Back Pain

You are working in the yard and feel a “pull.” Sound familiar? This may be due to a simple sprain/strain or to problems with structures in the spine. Apply ice during the first 48 to 72 hours. Then follow with heat therapy to reduce muscle spasms, stiffness and injury. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers can also be used.


People often ask, “How active should I be with back pain?” It’s tempting to lie on the couch all day. However, studies show that bed rest for more than two days actually increases recovery time for back pain. Consult your physician to determine your activity level.

Back Pain

Physical Therapy

Tissue injury can cause muscles in the back and neck to spasm. Physical therapists can provide you with an individualized treatment program with exercises specific for your area of pain and symptoms.


A massage therapist can relax tense back muscles and increase blood circulation to the back, which accelerates healing. Massages also release endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.

Smoking and Obesity

Back pain is more common in individuals who are smokers and/or overweight. Extra weight strains the muscles while smoking robs the spine of oxygen and nutrients. Your physician can assist you with starting a diet and exercise program in addition to a smoking cessation program.

Back Pain Red Flags

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you may have a serious issue with your back and should seek medical assistance.

  • You are younger than 20 or older than 55 and experiencing back pain for the first time
  • The pain follows a traumatic or violent injury, such as a car accident
  • You experience back pain at night
  • Your back pain is constant and getting worse
  • Your back pain is in the upper part of the spine
  • You presently have cancer or have had it in the past
  • You are on corticosteroids
  • You use illegal drugs or are infected with HIV
  • You generally feel unwell, have back pain and are feverish
  • You are experiencing back pain and have had a significant weight loss
  • You have back pain and continue to have great difficulty bending forward
  • You are experiencing numbness, loss of function in your legs, loss of bowel or bladder function
  • You have developed an obvious structural deformity of your spine
  • Debilitating back pain that is not reducing after four to six weeks

Summary If you experience any of the “red flag” symptoms, persistent back pain, or just have questions about your back and how to keep it healthy, contact your healthcare provider.

Jacob A. Strong, M.D. received his medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and his fellowship in Musculoskeletal and Pain Medicine at UMDNJ/Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Strong is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Resurgens Spine Center • Non-surgical & Surgical Spine Care • 23 Convenient Atlanta Locations • Resurgens.com

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By Ho N. Lin., M.D.By Ho N. Lin, M.D.

Healthcare consumerism is a current hot topic and will continue to shape the future landscape of healthcare. As healthcare costs continue to skyrocket, the patient consumer will be burdened with an increasing share of costs. Patients will also be tasked with making more decisions about aspects of their healthcare—from doctors, pharmacy, and hospitals to medical imaging.

“OPI adheres to the guiding principle of providing high-quality medical imaging at an affordable price.” 

Medical imaging accounts for a large proportion of healthcare dollars that are spent, as it is an invaluable diagnostic tool for physicians. Empowering patients to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare requires readily available information relating to costs, quality, and access to care. Outpatient Imaging LLC (OPI) was founded in 2003 on the basis of healthcare consumerism.

Knowledge is Power

There is currently an almost complete lack of transparency in regard to the cost of healthcare and specifically medical imaging. Coverage provided by insurance companies for the same procedures and diagnostic tests can be vastly different. Hospital charges for the same procedure and tests are also widely disparate. It is nearly impossible for the patient consumer to ascertain the actual cost to make a comparison. At OPI, the cost of imaging is published and readily available. Next, quality measures are similarly difficult for the patient consumer to discern. At OPI, all imaging centers are staffed with a board-certified radiologist and American College of Radiology-accredited technologists. Lastly, access to care is equally important in healthcare consumerism. Prolonged wait times for appointments and results are typical of hospital systems. OPI offers convenient evening and weekend hours with rapid turnaround of results and reports.

Healthcare costs

The OPI Difference

The founding radiologists recognized the evolving dynamics of medical imaging costs, quality, and access. Complete transparency is a tenet of OPI and has proved to be a successful foundation over the past 14 years. OPI is 100% radiology-physician owned and operated without outside influences. Given such, OPI adheres to the guiding principle of providing high-quality medical imaging at an affordable price. OPI costs are generally one quarter of those from a hospital for the same imaging test, which equate to lower co-pays and significant cost savings for patients. OPI provides all radiology imaging needs including X-rays, ultrasound, CT, mammography, fluoroscopy, nuclear medicine, bone density testing, and MRIs.   As an empowered consumer in today’s complex and costly healthcare environment, you have a choice in medical imaging. Choose OPI.

Ho N. Lin, M.D. received his medical degree from Medical College of Georgia in 1996, followed by a residency in diagnostic radiology at the Medical College of Georgia, which he completed in 2000. He serves as president of OPI.

OutPatient Imaging • 2284 Peachtree Road N.W., Atlanta, GA 30309 • (404) 225-5674 • OutPatientImaging.net

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By Jill Golsen DMDBy Jill M. Golsen, DMD

Let me explain. As dentists, it was always a challenge for us to get patients to understand the worrisome issues we were seeing in their mouths. So the idea among patients to wait to take action or make an appointment “until something hurts” prevailed—usually until the problem was far worse than it needed to be.

Utilizing amazing technological advancements, we can now show a patient a specific problem in their mouth on the monitor in real time. Within a second, the intraoral camera can pop up a photo so the patient can see exactly which tooth has the issue. The first comment I usually hear from the patient is, “Is that my tooth?” This makes it easy for the patient to make an informed decision about their mouth or condition. As a dentist, I get to be the messenger, not a salesman that is trying to convince you with a “trust me” attitude. I didn’t go into this profession to sell anything. I personally love these cameras! My office would be lost without them. We can see cracks, decay, broken teeth, document lesions and abnormalities as a historical record or as an ongoing reminder for the patient.

“Thanks to amazing technological advancements, we can now show a specific problem in a patient’s mouth on the monitor in real time. Within a second, the intraoral camera can pop up a photo so the patient can see exactly which tooth has the issue.” — Jill M. Golsen, DMD

Intraoral camera

An intraoral camera looks like a wand with a camera screen at the tip. This camera is linked to the patient’s computer file so the information is stored with the exact person the photo belongs to. So alongside a patient’s X-rays, their photos are there too.

Here are some specific examples of what these cameras can do: Another camera we utilize in our practice is called a “Spectra.” This camera can actually measure the depth of decay in the deep grooves of your teeth. Before this camera came along, we used to just check those grooves with the explorer to see if it got stuck. It sounds simple but, again, more damage done left untreated. These depth readings are documented and added to the patient’s records as well.

Tooth health scale

Inside of mouth








The best part about these two cameras is that there is no radiation used at all. So of the four ways we now use to visualize and diagnose—three out of the four use no radiation! As a patient and a dentist, I think this technology is a game changer!

Knowledge is power. Ask your dentist if he or she can take a picture of the issue and show you what they are seeing. To own what is going on in your mouth is being proactive. See something? Do something!

A native of Florida, Dr. Golsen attended the University of Georgia, and received a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a DMD from the Medical College School of Dentistry in 1993. Dr. Golsen was a clinical instructor at Perimeter College School of Dental Hygiene and past president of the Georgia Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry as well as, an international trainer for Kreativ air abrasion technology training dentists from all over the world on the technology. Dr. Golsen has been practicing for 24 years in Alpharetta, Georgia. Dr. Golsen has two sons. One is a first year Vet Med student at the University of Georgia and the other is a senior in high school. She is also a 7 year breast cancer survivor! 

Golsen Family Dentistry • Jill M. Golsen, DMD • (770) 667-0669 • GolsenDental.com

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Patricia Sánchez, M.D.By Patricia Sánchez, MD

More than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month. It is common to experience a little heartburn after eating spicy foods or drinking alcohol. It may feel like chest pain or burning after eating, a sour taste in the back of the throat or hoarseness. Occasional symptoms are often prevented by avoiding trigger foods and treated with antacids to decrease heartburn and acid indigestion. But suffering daily, long-lasting or frequent heartburn symptoms should not be ignored and may indicate a more serious condition.

As many as 15 million Americans, including pregnant women, suffer from daily heartburn. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic but treatable digestive disorder that refers to irritation and damage of the lining of the esophagus from prolonged exposure to stomach acid. This damage occurs because of a weakening or relaxing of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. When this valve is weakened, food and acidic stomach juices will leak up into the esophagus.

What Causes Heartburn? 

  • Food/Beverages
  • Alcohol, particularly red wine
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits and products, such as oranges and orange juice
  • Coffee and caffeinated drinks, including tea and soda
  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Garlic, raw onions, and other spicy foods
  • Pepper
  • Peppermint
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauces
  • Medication
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Certain esophageal conditions or diseases

Typical treatments for GERD include medication to reduce the acid and lifestyle changes to help reduce the reflux symptoms – such as avoiding trigger foods, decreasing portion sizes, losing weight, quitting smoking, elevating the head of the bed, and not eating before bedtime.

HeartburnFor certain patients who have had chronic acid reflux, an upper endoscopy may be recommended to assess severity and to uncover any pre-cancerous changes. If GERD is left untreated or unmonitored for a long period of time, it can result in a condition called Barrett’s esophagus which can progress to cancer.

Barrett’s esophagus is a disorder in which the inflamed, acid-damaged cells in the lining of the lower esophagus change to resemble those found in the stomach. As a result of this transformation, Barrett’s patients have an increased risk for esophageal cancer.

At Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates, many of our physicians are specially trained in the treatment of GERD and Barrett’s esophagus. If you’ve noticed that your heartburn symptoms are frequent, severe, longstanding, or getting worse, schedule an appointment today.

Patricia Sánchez, MD, is a board-certified gastroenterologist with Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates and sees patients at the Johns Creek location. She evaluates and treats all types of digestive and liver diseases and has a special interest in women’s digestive health and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disorder that involves chronic inflammation in the digestive tract and includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. A native of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Sanchez completed her medical degree at the INTEC School of Medicine in Santo Domingo, residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, and a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She speaks Spanish, French, and Italian. 

Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates • Dr. Patricia Sánchez • AtlantaGastro.com

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By Eugene Hurwitz M.D.By Eugene Hurwitz, M.D.

You’re walking through the park. The sun is shining. The leaves are green. Flowers are blooming. Signs of the seasonal transition to spring are all around. The other less fortunate red flags? Your stuffy nose, itchy eyes, lots of sneezing, and coughing.

Some turn to daily allergy pills or even shots to alleviate these symptoms, but don’t always have success. Now, with the help of springtime allergy drops from The Center for Allergy and Asthma, you can stop the symptoms before they ruin your walk in the park or other favorite spring pastime.

Why are spring allergy drops an effective alternative to shots and other forms of medication?

For patients with severe allergies, including springtime allergies, sometimes medications are not enough. Our drops, which are only taken during the spring for 3 to 4 months, allow patients to enjoy the season with much reduced allergy symptoms. If the drops are started one month before spring, they will help reduce symptoms by as much as 80 to 90%.

Spring Allergies

Who is a candidate for allergy drops?

Anyone who suffers from spring allergies not controlled by medications is a candidate for drops, including most children ages 5 and older, as well as adults.

Are they as effective as other methods?

Allergy drops are generally as effective as shots.

Besides the obvious, what differentiates allergy drops from allergy shots?

By taking drops, patients aren’t required to come to the office for each dose. This helps the patient reduce allergy symptoms typically in one month, rather than over several months.

What’s in the drops?

The drops are designed for spring allergies and are composed of purified proteins from tree pollen.

What types of allergens are the drops most effective against?

Allergy drops can be effective on all types of allergens including spring trees, fall weeds, dust, grasses, mold, and pet dander.

How does the price of drops compare to that of other allergy treatments?

Spring allergy drops are not as costly as year-round drops or shots. Each patient is different. The best way to get an idea of cost is to call The Center for Allergy and Asthma and schedule a consultation.

Where can the drops be purchased?

Spring allergy drops are sold exclusively at The Center for Allergy and Asthma.

What is the best way to find out if I am a candidate for the drops?

Schedule an appointment at The Center for Allergy and Asthma as soon as possible so a plan can be made before spring.

Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia | Eugene Hurwitz, M.D. | 770.459.0620 | caageorgia.com

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copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation, photography by Gordon ParksThe High Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, “A Fire That No Water Could Put Out: Civil Rights Photography,” showcases over 40 poignant prints depicting the civil rights movement and the important role Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played during this time.

Details: 1280 Peachtree St. NE., Atlanta; high.org

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Urban Perform and Mercedes-Benz USAIn underserved communities, it is easy for health issues to run rampant. That’s when Atlanta-based nonprofit Urban Perform steps in. The organization seeks to decrease obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes by helping to increase the activity levels of those who live in areas like the Westside. Urban Perform also provides accessible and affordable safe spaces to exercise and offers eight classes a week. It is in need of certified fitness and wellness instructors to volunteer to teach these group fitness classes. Recently, the Greatness Lives Here campaign by Mercedes-Benz, recognized Laura Pritchard-Compton (pictured in white), Urban Perform’s founder, for making a difference. A short video highlighting the nonprofit can be seen on the Mercedes-Benz USA
Facebook page.

Details: 128 Vine St. NW., Atlanta; urbanperform.org

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Garnish and GatherImagine being able to whip up dishes developed by some of Atlanta’s most talented toques. With Garnish & Gather’s Be the Chef program, you can. The meal-kit delivery company, which uses locally sourced and organic groceries, partners with culinarians who offer up their very own fresh recipes for you to make at home. Now through January, look out for recipes from Whiskey Bird and Upbeet.

Details: garnishandgather.com

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Dr. WhitakerDoes facial plastic surgery only help people regain lost youth?

There is a misconception that plastic surgery is about vanity and superficial appearance. It’s more than that. Ultimately, it’s about increasing a person’s self-esteem, confidence, health and success. It’s not necessarily about the physical transformation. It’s more about the difference it makes in somebody’s life.

 What makes people more beautiful?

There is a science behind beauty. Beauty serves an important function. In our primitive brains, beauty is a shortcut to gauge health. It’s also a way to attribute positive qualities to attractiveness. This is a “halo effect,” the idea that one standout beauty trait is reflective of an individual’s overall personality. If we look at pictures of someone who is deemed more attractive, we automatically attribute positive qualities to them and assume that they are more successful. I tend to believe that is where attractiveness matters. Looking your personal best is the most important thing you can do. Not only does it impact how you feel about yourself, but it also impacts your interactions and relationships with others.

 How important are first impressions?

What is really important about a first impression is that it happens at a subconscious level in a matter of seconds. Little things like a warm smile can leave a more positive first impression. Makeup can make you look more youthful and frame the eyes. All of these things can elevate your first impression. To take your first impression to the next level, consider Botox®, injectables, and facial plastic surgery procedures. These options can help you gain confidence, which is a very attractive quality and will ultimately enhance your first impression.

Are people turning to facial plastic surgery procedures so they can look better on social media?

I want everyone that comes into Atlanta Face & Body to look more beautiful in every decade of life. With social media, there is much more awareness of the subtleties of appearance. I see a lot of patients who come in and tell me that they don’t like the way their jaw and neck contouring looks on social media. So, these are not necessarily aging changes, but more their underlying anatomy. There are ways we can contour the jawline and neck with minimally invasive procedures. We can tighten the skin and stimulate skin collagen to create a more smooth and contoured look.

Are men considering facial plastic surgery procedures these days?

I see more and more men than I used to. I think society is more accepting of doing something for yourself and that shows with men. They are more practical. They want to stay competitive both in society and the workplace. Most men are concerned with the neck area and their facial profile. There are a range of procedures that men tend to gravitate toward. Mainly, my male patients look to Botox®, Kybella, injectables, and a range of facial plastic procedures.

 Specials 1

Elizabeth Whitaker, MD, FACS,

Double Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker received her medical degree from Duke University. She did her residency training at Emory and completed her facial plastic surgery fellowship at Tulane where she trained with Dr. Calvin Johnson, an internationally known facial plastic surgeon. She served as the Chief of Facial Plastic Surgery at Medical College of Georgia before moving back to Atlanta and into private practice. The seasoned doctor has performed more than 4,000 face-lifts and is one of the most experienced facial plastic surgeons in the field.

Details: Atlanta Face & Body Center, 3200 Cobb Galleria Pkwy #205, Atlanta, GA 30339, atlantafaceandbody.com, 678.888.3223

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