It’s Leap Day!

It is only every 4 years that we have an extra day in February.  Also, only one out of seven of those fall on a Monday.  That means a Leap Day blog from Yager Esthetics only comes once in over 20 years!  Being that I am finishing year 19 in private practice, I might not have the opportunity to do this again.  Even if I did, there will probably be more advanced technology, and logging into a website will seem so outdated.

I suggest that we all do something to celebrate this one Monday every 24 years.  I move that we call it “Leap Monday Madness.” Take a leap of faith and try something you have always been meaning to do, or let someone know how you feel about them.  How many Leap Mondays do we really have in life?

As I get older, I notice how time seems to pass more quickly.  I treasure each healthy day I have, and try not to waste too much time.  I am efficient in as many aspects of my life as possible, both personally and professionally.  Each day is a blessing.

I sometimes wish that every February would have 29 days, so I could have an extra day to achieve my goals each year.  I know it doesn’t really make sense mathematically, but it sounds good.

Let’s all take that leap today. Who knows what you might find out about yourself?

When a Patient Wants too Much of You

As part of the relationship between Plastic Surgeon and patient, there is a certain piece of you that goes into every surgery.  A patient entrusts you with their dreams and expectations, and shares very personal thoughts with you.  They are vulnerable, baring secret fears and complexes sometimes hidden from their significant other and family.

As for me, I must allow them to know my philosophy on cosmetic plastic surgery, reveal my work in the form of before and after photos, and face the possibility of rejection by the patient for whatever reason.  As such, I must trust my patients.

Patients can feel very vulnerable and unattractive in the healing period following plastic surgery, especially if they do not have a good supportive social network around them.  When they have a jealous friend or family member or an abusive spouse, it is even worse.  It is hard enough to recover in the best of situations.

I always make myself available to my patients for whatever may arise physically or medically following the procedure.  I have a 24 hour service to contact me at any moment in case of emergency.  Most patients respect this.

I also try to be supportive emotionally, which can be a more delicate situation.  The changes in body image can be dramatic, and take a while to adjust to for some people.  My clinical staff and I  try our best to comfort and listen to patients who might need a boost, but it can go too far.

Calling the emergency line at midnight 2 years after a surgery because you feel one breast is bigger than the other is not okay.  Usually, it is a fight with a boyfriend or a traumatic stressor,  but this is not an after hours necessity. I have a pain for the last 2 months and I will only talk to the doctor personally on a Sunday is asking too much.  Call and make an appointment to come in.  I do not charge.

If you choose Yager Esthetics for Plastic Surgery, I promise to do my best to deliver what surgery can.  The relationship and anxiety issues require a different specialist, and I am happy to refer you.

Valentine’s Day and Plastic Surgery

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, a holiday in which you are supposed to proclaim your affections for that special someone.  Flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and romantic meals are on the agenda.  So where does plastic surgery fit in?

Even though I am a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, it would be hard for me to recommend the gift of cosmetic surgery to your loved one, especially if they never expressed an interest.  “Here you are, honey, I am paying for breast implants for your Valentine’s Day gift!”  She thinks, “Don’t you love me the way I am?  Maybe this is a gift for you!”

“To my husband on Valentine’s Day, the gift of liposuction of your fat belly and love handles!”  Romantic, or insulting?  You really have to be careful

My advice is to make that person feel special and loved every day, so that Valentine’s Day is essentially every day.

Firing a Patient in Plastic Surgery

When patients seek me out for an elective cosmetic plastic surgery procedure, we both have a choice.  They are evaluating me, my credentials, my experience and my pricing.  I am seeing if they are healthy enough, evaluating the risks and benefits, and seeing if they have realistic expectations.

If we both commit, a procedure is completed.  I was told in my training that once you have operated on someone, you are “married” to them.  No matter what they say or do, they are your responsibility.  That is what I had believed until recently.

I was discussing a patient with another plastic surgeon, telling them how irresponsible the patient was, noncompliant with care, disrespectful of my staff and my time, and how I had no hope of her ever being happy or changing.  He told me to fire her as a patient.

I stood there, mouth open, and said “What?”

He told me that if a patient is healed and at no health risk, you are not obligated to keep seeing them.  You can send them a letter and let them know you will no longer take care of them.  You do not have to tolerate rudeness, lateness, or disrespect just because you did a surgery.  If there are no active issues, offer to refer them to a couple of qualified plastic surgeons if they want, and end the relationship.

Fortunately, it is much less than 1% of my patients that fall into this category, but I have a lot of patients.   I am always 100% behind my work and my patients’ needs, and I expect the same from them.  It’s nice to know I have options.

Art and Plastic Surgery

I have always been a huge fan of art and artistic things.  This is most likely a common phenomenon amongst plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic surgery.  The creative process and the ability to make beauty is what the two fields have in common.  It has led me to become a collector.

The field that drew me in was Art Nouveau, a style of the turn of the twentieth century, which emphasized the use of organic and natural forms and curves.  You do not need a degree in Psychology to draw the connection to what I do.  I was drawn to the lines and colors and incredible creativity.

As my tastes have progressed, and I have learned more, some of the images that catch my eye are a little less mainstream.  No longer did I seek out the iconic pieces in the genre, but the lesser known yet more sophisticated and unconventionally masterful works.  I think this has also happened in my plastic surgery.

As I get ready to start my 20th year in private practice, I know how to achieve great results in all of the procedures I do. My results now are more sophisticated as well. While I find the work I did in the 1990’s was excellent, tastes have changed, as have the ideals of beauty.

I know look at each patient as a potential work of my surgical art, and try to show my skill and experience in the small nuances that many other plastic surgeons do not notice.  The shape of the belly button, the transition of the underarm area to the waist and then back to the hip and buttock.  Embracing the subtle asymmetries instead of unnaturally trying to force a change based on a ruler has made me and my patients happier than I imagined.

I have more enthusiasm now than 20 years ago, and hope to keep improving my craft thanks to the confidence and loyalty of the patients of Yager Esthetics.  I have yet to create my obra maestra!