Happy Birthday to Me!

 

Today is actually my birthday.  I will not tell you how old I am, but I have been in my solo private practice in Plastic Surgery since 1997.  It is amazing how as you get older, the years seem to go by more quickly.

I though on this day I would share with you what I would wish for, not in material things, but for my practice and patients who have been so much of my life during these last 18 years.

I wish they would not let people inject things into their bodies in apartments, hotel rooms, and spas.  It is illegal, it can kill you, and even if they have been doing it for years and are doctors in other countries, it can cause a lifetime problem for you that you will always regret.  Treating the complications is often times impossible. THINK!

I wish they would research their doctors before undergoing cosmetic surgery.  So many of the providers who cater to Hispanic patients are not Board Certified Plastic Surgeons. Pull out your phone, go to www.plasticsurgery.org and enter the name.  No matter what they tell you, if they are not there, they are not a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  Make sure it looks professional, is clean, and you like and trust the doctor.

Be honest with your Plastic Surgeon.  Do not withhold health information or medications or drug use.  This can be life threatening to you.  This is not necessary surgery- be smart.

Lastly, your Plastic Surgeon, especially me, does his best to make you happy and keep you safe.  Perfection does not exist and should not be expected.  Love yourself, let your feelings be known, and work together to get the best possible results.


Dealing with Complications from Overseas Surgery

 

As a Plastic Surgeon in Washington Heights, a highly Hispanic neighborhood, I have seen many women who have travelled overseas for cosmetic surgery. Many look fine, but when complications occur, they can face real challenges.

For the women that live in the US, and have jobs and families, the time they can spend out of the country is limited.  Sometimes they have to return even if something has gone wrong in surgery.  Sometimes, they don’t notice the issue until they are back in America.

So, you have had Plastic Surgery in another country and have a problem- an infection, a fluid collection, your wound has opened, or something is not right and you are nervous. What do you do?

You can call your doctor overseas, and hopefully he can reassure you.  If something is wrong, you have to fly back to be treated, and this may be dangerous if something serious is wrong. I had a patient who underwent surgery in the Caribbean, flew back in 12 days, and ended up with a blood clot that went to her lungs.  Fortunately, the Emergency Room here saved her, but that is not always the case.

To see a Plastic Surgeon here is often times difficult, as no one wants to deal with another surgeon’s complications.  You are taking on risk and responsibility and someone else got the reward. You can go to the Emergency Room, and they will plug you into a clinic of unknown quality.  In any event, there are costs associated, and sometimes these fees are more than the surgery itself.

This is not to say that I do not have complications- every Plastic Surgeon does.  My patients, however, have access to the best Healthcare system in the world, and if anything should happen, this is the safest place to be.


There is no Accounting for Taste

I recently had an interesting experience with a patient during a preoperative visit before breast and body contouring surgery.  She brought a friend with her who had had surgery done overseas so she could show me what she wanted.  Normally, women will pick out before and after images from my website, or bring in photos printed from the internet or on their phones.  It is unusual to bring a live model.

During my initial consultation at Yager Esthetics, I try to be very thorough in my evaluation and listen carefully to insure the patient understands what is possible and safe.  I show before and after images and try to give a realistic idea of what is possible.  If they decide on surgery, we have a second visit to insure that we are a good match.

When I saw what her friend looked like, I knew we were not going through with the procedure.  Her breast implants were two huge, round balls under overstretched skin, and she was so badly over liposuctioned that the bumps and contour deformities could never be corrected.

To these two women, this was the beauty ideal they were seeking.  As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, my training, ethics, and cosmetic eye would never allow me to create something like that, regardless of the payment promised.

I did not tell them they were crazy, I just showed them what I was thinking of in photos of women upon whom I performed these surgeries.  It is okay to have a different idea; I just don’t have to do whatever a patient wants.  I declined to perform the procedures with no hard feelings on my part.  You can’t argue taste.


I am not a Cocktail Party Plastic Surgeon

 

People think it is so cool to be a Plastic Surgeon, and hang out with celebrities, and lead a glamorous lifestyle.  This is far from reality for many of my colleagues who dedicate their time to cleft lip repair, hand surgery, microsurgery, breast reconstruction, and the treatment of burn wounds and pressure sores.

Even those that do exclusively cosmetic surgery overwhelmingly have a patient base that is mainly teachers and secretaries and other working people.  Some of them work hard to market and promote themselves at every opportunity.  They let the world know what they do and what they can do for you the moment you meet them.  I am the opposite.

I am very proud of what I have accomplished and of being a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  I worked hard for many years, sacrificed and studied countless hours.  I have built a very successful practice from nothing, and have truly helped the Hispanic Community with education and support of charitable nature, as well as provided a center for safe and affordable cosmetic plastic surgery.  When I am at a social event, or a dinner, or meeting new people, I never state my profession.  You have to drag it out of me.

When I am in the office, I am Dr Yager the Plastic Surgeon.  When I leave, I still am available to my patients and on call 24/7, but I am just Daddy or a husband or Jeff to those in the outside world.  I will always be a Plastic Surgeon, but I am much more.  If you see me outside the office, as many of you have, I am a real person. That is what it is all about.


Listen to your Plastic Surgeon

 

I was told that there are three ways to avoid complications- Do not see your patients after surgery, fail to recognize complications when they occur, and do not operate.  After 18 years in private practice Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in New York City, I have seen some things!  Most of my patients are delightful and responsible, and therefore my complication rate is extremely low.

When you come to Yager Esthetics, you have a consult to assess what your options are, and I explain the process.  After you book your procedure, you have a pre-op visit with the nurse who gives you instructions and consent forms to read which explain all the risks, and then a second visit with me where I go over everything in detail as well as answer all questions.  After surgery, the nurse goes over instructions as well.  If you follow them, good things usually happen.

I have had patients who come for surgery, remove stitches at 4 days, and do not return for 2 years.  Then, they complain about a scar that could have been much better had they only returned for their free post op visits.  It is the same with breast implants that become hardened, prolonged swelling after liposuction that could be avoided with proper massage, and other similar issues.

Patients change girdles to ones that can cause marking or scarring or infections despite being told not to.  They wear push up bras 2 weeks after breast surgery and displace implants.  They use creams from a friend who got it overseas and burn their skin.  Then they blame me!

If you invest your money in surgery, reads the instructions.  Listen to your surgeon and nurses, and come to your free visits.  I can only help you if I see you.  Today’s modern world allows you to call, or email, or send a photo for advice even if you can’t come in that day.

I expect my very best effort every day, and I expect the same from my patients.  If you cannot follow through, please do not do elective surgery.