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November 9, 2013

Doctor helps locals 'age with dignity'

By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star

---- — As the life expectancy of people in the U.S. continues to expand, so too do medical advancements that help the elderly age comfortably.

In addition to medical procedures that combat ailments that caused the older population to become infirm, there are advancements in cosmetic surgery that aid in slowing down the external aging process.

“We call it aging with dignity,” said Eric Dohner, doctor of family medicine and vascular surgery. “There are so many things we can do to combat the signs of aging. The techniques have come a long way.”

For example, swollen lips and plastic features are no longer the outcome of most anti-aging surgeries. Technology has evolved to allow surgeons to subtly restore a younger-looking face to most patients.

“People want the lines around their eyes and lips softened; they want to look like themselves, only refreshed,” Dohner said. “They do not want to look like a statue or like they are frozen.”

Dohner said the fillers he uses to soften lines around the mouth and nose are made of ingredients that stimulate the body’s own collagen production.

At least half of the procedures performed at Dohner’s clinic are medical procedures covered by insurance, such as varicose vein removal, mole and wart removal, and various degrees of skin cancer abatement. The other half of the procedure, for the most part, are not covered by standard insurance policies.

“We have people who want to get rid of their turkey necks, get rid of dark spots caused by acne or aging, and soften the lines around their eyes and mouth and tighten up sagging in their face,” Dohner said.

In addition to skin tightening and filling, many people are interested in permanent hair removal and complexion treatments.

“People will spend money on what is important to them,” Dohner said. “We have something we call a lunchtime facelift. We use a radio frequency to tighten the skin. It is a good and quick procedure.”

The time patients spend having a procedure and recovering has lessened over the years. For example, the method used to rid a person of varicose veins allows most patients to return to work within days instead of the weeks it used to take a patient to heal from varicose surgery.

Oneonta Laser Derm and Spa recently moved from 41-45 Dietz St. to 6 Country Club Road. The new facility has several examination rooms with ultrasound machines used to detect possible varicose veins in patients.

“Once a month we have free varicose vein screening,” Dohner said. “It is an opportunity for people to come into the office and get a quick assessment and advice without having to spend a co-pay.”

Dohner said anyone interested in a free screening should call the office for an appointment.

“Varicose veins are a real medical issue; it really affects some people’s quality of life,” Dohner said.

Dohner has other offices in Walton and Norwich. He employs about 40 people, including four nurse practitioners and one dermatologist practitioner. In addition, Dohner purchased Karma Spa in downtown Oneonta about one year ago.