Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Specialists
Top Doctor: 2020
Address : 44311 Monterey Ave,
Palm Desert, California 92260
Phone : 760-773-6616
With an on-site medispa and operating room, the joint practice of Natalie Driessen, M.D., MBA, and Michael J. Messina, M.D., is truly a one-stop shop
By Daniel Vaillancourt
Photography by Dan Eslinger/Kaminsky Productions
What’s better than a stellar physician who keeps her promise? Two physicians!
Last year, when I sat down with boardcertified plastic surgeon Dr. Natalie Driessen and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michael J. Messina — who met and married in medical school, completed their residency together at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and practice side by side in an inviting Palm Desert complex they purchased two years ago — they spoke of their dream of expanding into an adjacent 2,400-square-foot space on their property so as to create a medical spa and full-service operating room. Lo and behold, one year later, that dream has become reality.
“We’ve wanted this from day zero,” says Dr. Messina, proudly. “We always knew we wanted to be together, have an office and practice together, and grow together, which is why we bought these two buildings, one of which sat empty for a year and a half. I tell my patients I didn’t expect to be able to do this less than two years after we opened our joint practice — more like four, five, or six years — but we are so thankful to our loyal clientele that has made it possible for us to provide even more medical services to them.”
In the operating room — officially known as the Palm Desert Surgery Center and currently awaiting AAAASF and Medicare accreditation — Dr. Driessen can perform virtually 90 percent of her procedures on-site, including cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation, tummy tucks, facelifts, Brazilian butt lifts, and liposuction, as well as reconstructive surgery. “It was important for me to be able to give my patients a choice,” she says. “I still go to Eisenhower Medical Center to operate, but many patients would prefer not to go to a hospital for outpatient procedures.”
“Having an operating room at our disposal makes for better service to our patients,” Dr. Messina. “Here we’re not at the mercy of a hospital’s stricter and more unpredictable schedule. We can operate when our patients want without fear of another surgeon’s procedure forcing us to delay or cancel altogether, which can be a huge inconvenience.”
The medispa — which offers a full menu of peels, fillers, lasers, skin tightening, fat freezing, facials, and more — also gives patients a heightened experience. “It’s been a great asset to our practice,’ says Brittany Denue, PA-C, who assists both physicians (alongside new hire David Woodbury, PA-C) and who oversees much of the activity at the medispa, which also boasts a dedicated esthetician. “It’s a special space that looks and feels like a spa at a resort. It’s meant to be soothing. The care we give there is very personal and relaxing. I love working on that side of the practice, where I can cater to my patients one-on-one.”
According to Dr. Driessen, theirs is also one of the only medical spas in the entire desert that has a board-certified dermatologist and board-certified plastic surgeon a few feet away at all times. “Many times, these are run by a nurse or physician’s assistant with a doctor nowhere to be found,” she says. This is also the sole such facility in the Coachella Valley to offer BTL Emsella, a breakthrough for men and women who have a pelvic floor that needs tightening in order to stave off incontinence. “It’s an FDA-approved treatment that’s like doing about 11,000 kegels in 30 minutes,” Dr. Driessen says. “It stops urination when you’re sneezing or laughing.”
What hasn’t changed at Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Specialists is the expert, quality care the team has given to patients since its inception. In fact, the expansion has allowed Dr. Messina to handle acne, psoriasis, and eczema — not to mention his specialty, Mohs micrographic surgery, a skin cancer procedure that has the highest cure rate, lowest recurrence rate, and best cosmetic result — in an even more peaceful environment. “There’s much less traffic and shorter wait times,” he concludes. “With the addition of the surgery center and medispa, at last we can say we have a fully rounded practice combining dermatology and plastic surgery that truly is a one-stop shop.”