Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start to summer.  The weather is usually warm, and bbq’s are the order of the day.  It is a great time to get together with family and friends and to take a pause from the usual grind.

For me, it is the beginning of the mad rush of teachers and school employees wanting to book surgery for the end of June and the summer to take advantage of the time off.  I end up working every Saturday on the weekend so that I can be here for the community.  I never feel sorry for myself, as I am passionate about what I do.

I do not work Sunday and Monday, but that is the case every week.  The difference is that everyone else is available for a change.  To me, it is inconvenient, as my Monday is intruded upon by almost everyone.

If you are planning on summer surgery at Yager Esthetics, I advise you to try to get an appointment soon, as the dates disappear more quickly than you might think. I hate it when someone has their heart set on a day and I cannot accommodate them.

Enjoy your day, relax and reconnect with family and friends.  Remember, life is not forever, and good health should never be taken for granted.

The Ramones and Plastic Surgery

I recently went to the Queens Museum, and was amazed by the special exhibit on the punk rock group, The Ramones. Just four guys from Forest Hills High School who captured a spirit that sparked a great revolution in music.  With a distinctive sound, short lyrics, and a look that changed fashion, The Ramones remain one of the most recognizable groups in rock history.

In some ways, I identify with the group.  When I was finishing my training at Columbia, the path of wisdom for me would have been to join a practice, join an academic institution, or go to a hot bed of plastic surgery like Park Avenue or Beverly Hills.  I had an independent thought.

Opening a beautiful high rent office in Washington Heights, 100 blocks from anywhere, and marketing to the Hispanic community was not just outside the box, it blew up the box.  The more I was told I couldn’t, the more I wanted to make it happen.  No one was going to tell me my instincts were wrong, and if I failed, it would be on my terms.

Now, 19 years later, I am continuing to rock out at Yager Esthetics, creating some of the most compelling work around today.  I err on the side of helping people, no matter the consequences, and 99% of my patients are pleased.

To those on Park Avenue, I wish you the best.  Keep imitating and following the formula.  I will blaze my own trail.  To my Latina friends,  “Gabba gabba, we accept you, we accept you, one of us! “

Make Your Plastic Surgery Fun

As I get ready to start my twentieth year at Yager Esthetics, I think back on all the different patients I have had the pleasure of helping.  Each personality is different, and a good doctor must adjust accordingly.  My interactions with each are professional, but vary in style.

There are the nervous patients who are embarrassed to even mention what they want done.  They are reluctant to be examined, and are more shy about having my female escort see them than myself.  I have to stay calm and soothing, and let them go at their own pace.  I can usually put them at ease enough to give them the information they need.

There are the totally dominated by the husband/boyfriend/family member types.  These patients do not open their mouths, but have others spoken for them while they look down or away.  The key is to make sure that the desire for surgery is their own, not that of the other, and to empower the patient to take control.  Sometimes I have to remove the other person from the room to get this done.

There are the crazy patients who come in two varieties- quirky and dangerous. The quirky ones just have their own view on life, and you need to make sure you are on the same page with the esthetic they are looking for.  They are enjoyable.  The dangerous types have no moral compass, or a skewed idea of what to expect.  I was taught that you can’t argue with crazy, so I try my best to avoid operating on these patients.

The confident patients are the easiest.  They know what they want, take personal responsibility, and are doing the procedure for themselves.  Never an issue.

Lastly, there are the soul vampires- people who feel they own you because they paid for a procedure.  They want 24/7 access to you forever, not just for emergencies.  They take all of life’s problems out on you, and refuse to be happy.

I say, enjoy the process of plastic surgery.  It is happy surgery that you choose to look better.  Let your personality show, be honest and open, and don’t be afraid to laugh at the process.  Remember, we are sticking bags of gel and water in our chests, sucking out fat we refuse to diet away, and trying to fool the world into thinking we are younger by tightening skin or injecting goo and toxins in our faces.  It is ridiculous, but it makes people happy.

Looking Back at First Year Med School

I recently visited Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and ran into to Fist Year Medical Students.  They had on their short white coats and nametags and were hoping to have permission to examine a patient for their class on Physical Diagnosis.  I immediately flashed back to my experience in the same hospital some 27 years earlier.  It struck me that these guys weren’t even born yet.

I feel privileged to have been admitted to Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and remain proud of graduated AOA and having had the opportunities that led me to this point in my career.  I could not help giving some unsolicited advice to these newbies.

I let them know that while physical diagnosis is important in eliciting symptoms and information, the key to realize is the patient is a person.  They are not feeling well, sometimes fearful, and in a strange environment.  Do not poke and prod them like lab rats.

Make a connection on a human level, show them your equality as beings while eliciting the confidence necessary to have them follow your commands, not as a subordinate but as a peer.  Try to share a little of yourself to put them at ease.

I truly miss the opportunity to teach, and have been inspired to go back to P and S and see how I may be of service. Primum non nocere

Victim of my own Success

When I decided to serve the Hispanic community after my training in Plastic Surgery, I opened up Yager Plastic Surgery in 1997.  I had no business plan or experience, no training in HR or administration, and plenty of school debt.  All that I knew was that I was a good plastic surgeon who could serve a need for Spanish speaking patients in Washington Heights, New York.

As I became more popular, I have expanded the office twice, and rebranded as Yager Esthetics to encompass all of the nonsurgical treatments and spa services we offer.  Fast forward to starting year 20, and I have become busy to the point that there is a wait for surgery and appointments, despite the massive staff I have assembled to keep up with demand.

The good news is that due to my experience, I am able to deliver the highest quality surgical results to more people.  The bad news is that I cannot see everyone at every visit for as long as they might like.  I love my patients, and enjoy talking with them, but have to strike a balance to serve the community as a whole.

This does not mean that I miss anything, or give less care.  I see everything on everyone and ensure the best possible care medically as always.  It is the social part that suffers for some.  This is such a hard balance to strike, and I am still working on it.

Please know that I always give my all, and think that surgically, I have never been better.  I want to make it so people do not have to wait long to see me, but there are only so many hours in a day.  If you need more from me, please tell me.  I am still here for you.  It has never been about the money, only the opportunity to help the Hispanic community.