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The Doctor Is In 

The word "beauty" is not one that is tossed around much by vascular and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Marilyn E. Pelias, medical director and owner of The Skin and Hair Clinic of New Orleans (324 Chartres Street, second floor, 566-1706; www.drpelias.com), although she undoubtedly enhances the physical appearance of her patients. She prefers, instead, to discuss goals, health and feeling good about oneself.

"My goal is to help them feel good and good about themselves," says Pelias, who graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine and honed her surgical skills elsewhere for more than a decade before returning to New Orleans to open the skin clinic in the French Quarter last year. "A lot of beauty is how you feel within. Our clinic and medi-spa are based more on a health concept. We're helping them to look better, feel better."

Many improvements desired by patients can be handled without cosmetic surgery, says Pelias, using procedures such as Botox injections to get rid of wrinkles in the face, Obagi products and Retin-A to rejuvenate skin, schlerotherapy to remove spider and varicose veins, microdermabrasion and chemical peels for the skin and laser hair removal. A full menu of spa services also is available as well as the services of licensed aestheticians and massage therapists.

"The spa allows patients to get comfortable with our office, figure out what we're about, get a comfort level with me, and we go from there," Pelias says. "I started doing cosmetic surgery ... and found more and more people wanted ancillary help: how to take care of their skin, how to maintain their surgery results. The medi-spa kind of spun off to do that."

The clinic also offers the June Ireland line of cosmetics as well as Obagi, Glycolix, Replenix and other skin-care products.

When it comes to cosmetic surgery, Pelias uses the latest techniques and technology to keep services to her patients ahead of the curve. Liposuction is her most-performed surgery and can take unwanted fat cells from thighs, stomachs and even chins. She also performs eyelid and brow lifts; breast lifts, augmentations and reductions (for both men and women); facelifts and "S-Lifts," a procedure that provides an overall lift to the lower third of a patient's face and cheeks; tattoo removal; laser removal of scars and stretch marks; and tummy tucks.

"Sometimes we can meet their goals ... with non-surgical techniques," the surgeon says. "If you want to make surgical changes, we start with a minimalist approach and go from there." Some patients opt for having several procedures done at one time, such as a chin liposuction and chin implant to reshape their face, but Pelias says she avoids suggesting additional surgeries unless patients outline it as a goal.

"I try not to suggest too much. I'd rather have patients that are happy and feel better about themselves" than a longer list of surgeries, she says. "When they come in for liposuction, I don't suggest they also need a tummy tuck. It's their self image that is important, not what I think their goal should be."

No Rough Diamonds Here

The AAA recently bestowed its coveted Four Diamond Award for excellence in service and accommodations to more than a dozen local restaurants and hotels. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans and its Victor's restaurant both received AAA's Five Diamond Award.

Only about 3 percent of the 28,000 properties AAA rates and only 4 percent of the 13,000 restaurants it surveys receive a four-diamond rating. That rating indicates that the hotels and restaurants provide their guests with superior service, an impressive environment and first-class amenities. The ratings are handed down after a team of full-time field representatives visit and evaluate the businesses without warning throughout the year.

Winners of the 2003 Four Diamond Award include Hotel Monaco, Iberville Suites, Le Meridien Hotel, Le Pavillon, Maison Orleans, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, Renaissance Pere Marquette, W New Orleans, Windsor Court and Wyndham New Orleans. Honored restaurants include Begue's, Cobalt, Emeril's Delmonico Restaurant & Bar, Grill Room and Zoe Bistrot.

click to enlarge Dr. Marilyn E. Pelias says her focus at The Skin and Hair Clinic of New Orleans and its medical spa is to help people feel better about themselves and teach them to care for their skin.
  • Dr. Marilyn E. Pelias says her focus at The Skin and Hair Clinic of New Orleans and its medical spa is to help people feel better about themselves and teach them to care for their skin.
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