The Woman Behind the Medicine
When she was a child, Dr. Betsy Perry Thacker would visit her stepfather, an orthopedic surgeon, at his office, and she thought being a doctor would be fun.
“It (being a doctor) just seemed like a fun thing to do,” Dr. Thacker said. “I’d go to his office, and there were skeletons to play with, and there were syringes to play with, and it just seemed like the best job ever.”
What drew Dr. Thacker to practicing medicine as a child also drew her to dermatology as an adult. She initially had her sights set on being an orthopedic surgeon, but in her fourth year of medical school at Mercer, Thacker met a doctor who changed her mind.
“I’d always thought I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, but I did a two-week dermatology elective, and was the happiest doctor I had ever met,” Dr. Thacker said. “He really seemed to have fun all day long, and his patients were very appreciative of him.”
Dr. Thacker was also drawn to dermatology due to the broad range of patients she could treat and the variety of skills she could utilize.
“One patient may be a 2-week-old baby, another patient may be a 40-year-old woman, another patient may be an elderly man with skin cancer,” Dr. Thacker said. “It’s a cradle to grave specialty, and it requires me to combine my medical and surgical skills in order to make my patients better. And I really like that.”
Dr. Thacker likes that dermatology allows her to help people in a variety of ways, whether it be to prevent a more serious illness, improve social interaction, or boost confidence and self-esteem.
“I love finding a melanoma that someone didn’t know that they had and treating that before it turns into something that can kill them,” Dr. Thacker said. “I love seeing teenagers who come in with terrible acne – and at first their head is held down and they barely make eye contact – and then as you make them better, they will smile at you, and their parents report that they’re more engaged in class and more engaged in the community. That’s a powerful feeling. I also love when someone comes in because what they’re seeing in the mirror does not match what they feel like they look like or how they feel on the inside. I love being able to use my artistic skills to put fillers or Dysport into their faces and make it be more harmonious and congruent with what they expect.”
Setting up shop and starting a practice in Valdosta, Georgia, might not seem like the natural thing to do, but Dr. Thacker felt a pull to come to the area partially because of her family’s connections to South Georgia. Several siblings attended Valdosta High School, her dad, Mike Perrey, attended Valdosta State College and is in its athletic hall of fame, and two brothers live in Quitman. However, the community of South Georgia is the primary reason Dr. Thacker settled in Valdosta.
“It was a calling to come here,” she saitd. “I realized that there was a profound need for dermatological care in the area, and I just felt like the community was very friendly and very welcoming to me. … I just feel really privileged and honored to be able to take care of the patients here, and they’re just so appreciative of the care that they receive. It’s a very rewarding place to be able to practice medicine, and it’s a rewarding place to get involved in the community. I feel like my presence here makes a difference.”
The community almost certainly feels the same way, as Dr. Thacker has been voted Best Dermatologist in South Georgia by readers of the Valdosta Daily Times every year since 2013.
Dr. Thacker’s medical philosophy is indicative of the care she has for the community and her patients. She signs each email with a quote from Sir William Osler, a founding professor of Johns Hopkins Hospital: “Care more particularly for the individual patient than for the special features of the disease.”
“In practice, what that means to me is that I promise and I pledge to my patients that I am going to make decisions that are best for them, not what’s best for me,” Dr. Thacker said. “I am going to recommend the most appropriate andcost effective care.”
“I am an optimist and am committed to physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness,” she said. “I am passionate about empowering others to feel and be their best versions of themselves. Thacker Dermatology is a place of healing.”
Thacker Dermatology’s Future
Over two years ago, Thacker Dermatology merged with Dermatology Associates of Tallahassee, which expanded the services and geographic reach of Dr. Thacker’s practice. The merge allowed Dr. Thacker to become a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Florida State University’s school of medicine. The combined practice has the country’s newest accredited dermatology residency, and as such hosts dermatology residents in the clinic as a part of their medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology training.
“This also affords us a better opportunity to recruit more board certified dermatologists to Lowndes County,” Dr. Thacker said. “In fact, Dr. Luke Hyder, who is currently Dr. Armand Cognetta’s Mohs surgery fellow, will soon see patients here in Valdosta on Fridays. This will shorten the time our patients wait between when they call for an appointment and are able to see a doctor.”
Dermatology Associates of Tallahassee has recently expanded and now has board certified dermatologists and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons at their Dermatology Southeast offices in Jacksonville and Panama City.
With all this growth and improvement, the outlook for Thacker Dermatology is bright, indeed; however, be prepared for a potential name change in the future.
“Given that I’ve gotten a divorce and am now engaged, it’s possible that I may change my name to Betsy (Perry) Backe,” Dr. Thacker said. “I guess folks will just have to stay tuned.”
Dr. Thacker and the entire Thacker Dermatology team invite folks to visit their new office and attend their annual “Cosmetics and Cocktails” Open House Nov. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. There will be thousands of dollars in giveaways, and Dr. Thacker will introduce new technologies and procedures.
• Addresses stress incontinence and vaginal laxity, improves lubrication and orgasmic function, shrinks and tightens external genitalia
• Uses radio frequency to tighten skin and tissues
• Done in series of three treatments
• Not for patients who are pregnant, have not had a Pap smear in last year, or who have metal implants in that area
“The external effects are immediate. I mean, literally, from one side to the next, you can see a change.” – Dr. Thacker
• Tightens skin of neck, arms, thighs, and abdomen
• Minimally invasive technology that uses radio frequency injected underneath the skin
• One-time treatment
• Results visible in 6-12 weeks
“With the ThermiTight, which is the most invasive (of the three)… people need to take it easy that day, but there are no activity restrictions starting the next day.” – Dr. Thacker
• Raises and tighten skin around mouth, eyelids, forehead, and cheeks
• Uses temperature-controlled radio frequency
• Non-invasive, no downtime
• Series of 3-6 applications
• Uses radio frequency and temperature inversion
• Treatments areas include under chin, neck, abdomen, flanks, back, inner and outer thighs, buttocks, and knees
• Causes permanent apoptosis of fat cells and tightens skin
• Average fat reduction of 24% with one treatment
• Treatments typically take less than one hour
• No restriction of activities following treatment
• Results visible in 6-12 weeks
• Dr. Thacker is the only person in Valdosta that has it
• Feels like hot stone massage
“This is a game changer in the rapidly growing body contouring field, as it combines permanent fat loss and skin tightening in a single treatment.” – Dr. Thacker
Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. – 5p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. – Noon
4233 Camelot Crossing
Valdosta GA 31602
Written by: Anna Limoges
Photography by: Aaron Musgrove