Montanans don’t have to look far for cutting-edge technology when it comes to treating health and aesthetic issues that come with aging. Billings-based Velum Skin & Laser Center offers some of the region’s leading technology and does so with a personal touch.
“Treating patients and improving their lives makes me happy and it makes them happy,” said Dr. Cheryl Cook, who performs all laser, light and injection procedures at the facility. “It’s nice to be able to do things that won’t be painful for patients and have great results.”
With a background in internal medicine and over 30 years of patient care experience, Dr. Cook sees his role as part healer and part educator. Patients need to understand the scope of treatment and have a role in their plan, she said.
“I love educating my patients,” said Dr. Cook. “My mother was a teacher and I learned how to train people to really get the most out of what we do for them.”
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Treatment of incontinence
About 25 million Americans suffer from some form of incontinence, according to Medline, a global manufacturer and distributor serving the healthcare industry. The problem, more common in older patients, can be a major impediment to quality of life.
Dr. Cook and Vellum are working to treat it with a cutting-edge technology called BTL Emsella. This non-invasive procedure involves patients sitting in a chair for about 30 minutes. During this time, the chair sends electromagnetic waves to the pelvic floor muscles to increase bladder support and tone. One 28-minute session equals about 11,000 Kegels, a common exercise to improve bladder control.
Dr. Cook was the first doctor in Montana to perform the treatment. Previously, the most common treatments were drugs and physical therapy or a much more invasive surgical procedure. Now, after a series of sessions, patients can see improvement in their incontinence problems for over a year.
“It really doesn’t hurt,” Dr. Cook said. “You can tell it’s working. People tolerate it well. There are no side effects other than those muscles getting stronger.”
For older patients, especially men, treatment can be key to avoiding frequent trips to the toilet at night. For younger patients, especially women, this may allow a return to physical activity that may have been affected by incontinence.
“We’ve had patients here who have said it’s been life-changing,” Dr. Cook said.
The view of Montana
Dr. Cook’s contribution to the health, skin and beauty department is also noteworthy. She said Velum Skin & Laser Center aims to give patients a look that’s natural and not overdone.
“We are all exposed to UVA and UVB rays that age the skin,” said Dr. Cook. “Our goal is to restore the natural beauty of your skin. Our motto is “Montana Naturally.”
One new tool in her arsenal is the region’s only Broadband Light (BBL) High Energy Rapid Output (Hero) – a light therapy that can be used to virtually erase age spots and sun spots on the skin. This is the most advanced BBL on the market. The procedure is faster than other alternatives on the market and patients will experience minimal discomfort. Dr. Cook is the first physician in Montana trained to use the new technology and has extensive experience and expertise in using the device on the skin anywhere on the body.
Before each procedure, Dr. Cook meets with patients to discuss their unique goals and what realistic results can be achieved. They are usually surprised by both the results and the ease of the procedure. “With HERO, one of the latest technologies,” she said. “You don’t go out like something big just happened. “Your face isn’t even red, a lot of times. People are kind of amazed.” HERO can be used on any skin on the body.
After a few treatments, patients show a difference within a month with healthier skin.
The natural “Montana” way.
Click here to learn about the treatments offered by Velum Skin & Laser Center.