Vikisha Fripp, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, conducts a microdermabrasion procedure on Leslie Smalls at the University of Maryland Capital Region Health office in Bowie on Jan. 31. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
Vikisha Fripp, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, conducts a microdermabrasion procedure on Leslie Smalls at the University of Maryland Capital Region Health office in Bowie on Jan. 31. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Prince George’s County seeks to encourage residents live healthier lifestyles, but remains one of the unhealthiest places in Maryland with those who suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.

According to an interactive zip code map from the county’s Health Department, the highest health needs are in neighborhoods inside the Beltway such as Hyattsville, Bladensburg and Riverdale.

When driving around the county, fast food restaurants line streets around the county that doctors such as Vikisha Fripp said are cheaper to purchase than fruit and vegetables. However, your body will feel better.

“I will not lead people in the wrong direction and I am also smart enough to know what I’m not good at,” said Fripp, a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

Fripp hosted an informal chat Friday, Jan. 31 at the University of Maryland Capital Region Health office in Bowie on how to maintain a wholesome lifestyle based on a New Year’s resolution’s goals.

Unfortunately, she said most resolutions fail by Jan. 12.

“I know how hard it is to try something new, but we must,” said Fripp, who celebrated her one-year anniversary with the University of Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 1, the same day her twin boys turned 7.

Fripp focuses on surgical procedures between the clavicle and the knees and nonsurgical operations on the face such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and laser hair removal.

Her practice provides an opportunity to see a plethora of patients who may suffer from diabetes, heart complications and various forms of cancer. As a women’s health advocate, she said education remains key for Prince George’s residents to research and understand how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For instance, she may recommend patients see a behavioral specialist if it’s determined they want to undergo a procedure in order to keep a husband, get a better job, or spur a boyfriend to propose.

“None of those things will happen,” she said. “We want the entire person to be healed.”

Physically, she advises patients to maintain a three-day food diary that she also conducted herself. She received help from a nutritionist.

Fripp noticed she replaced Planters nuts in a container every Monday and Thursday.

“You don’t recognize how many calories in nuts, especially if I’m eating a half a jar every day,” she said. “I didn’t know and I’m a doctor. I can imagine patients thinking they are doing the right things. It’s small things you can do.”

“Realistic” goals Fripp suggests include:

• Lose 20 pounds in the next four months.
• Start exercising at a gym close to the job or home, then sign up with a trainer at least three times a week.
• Be a better person and eliminate negative comments, thoughts and actions.

If any lifestyle change involves medication, one should check with their primary care doctor.

“We don’t want you to drool on yourself. It ain’t cute,” she said among laughter in the room.

Fripp will also train at the new $543 million regional medical center under construction in Largo, scheduled to open next year that will feature two rooftop helipads, a surgical oncologist and 205 beds to serve residents in Prince George’s and Southern Maryland.

Fripp also performed a microdermabrasion procedure on Leslie Smalls, using a handheld device to gently remove top layers of the skin, cleaning the pores and reinvigorate the skin to get blood flowing.

Afterward, she rubbed an oil consisting of vitamin C and E onto Smalls’ face to soothe the skin.

Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure not covered by insurance, so the estimated cost ranges from $95 to $125.

‘It felt like a facial massage. It was very soothing and no pain at all,” said Smalls, director of operations at University of Maryland Capital Region office in Cheverly. “It gave me total relief.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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