Episode #39: The Insider Scoop: Breast Implants, Vulnerability & More: A Chat with Barrett Plastic Surgery Patient Care Specialist Esmeralda
On this episode, Dr. Barrett welcomes Barrett Plastic Surgery’s own patient care specialist (breast augmentation patient) Esmeralda. Listen to them chat about the full breast implant experience, how being a patient makes her a better care specialist, the vulnerabilities associated with exploring plastic surgery, implant sizing, what it’s like working in a plastic surgery office and more.
Dr. Barrett (00:01):
On this episode of the Natural Plastic Surgeon.
When you go to a plastic surgeon’s office, if they make you sign on a paper about a certain size, you’re in the wrong place. But it’s like trying on shoes, you don’t just go to a shoe store and buy a size seven and not try them on.
Esmeralda Matamoros (00:15):
I think the connection you have with patients, it’s really sweet. And everybody here is great and so nice, you guys care about your patients so much.
Dr. Barrett (00:24):
And that’s what people don’t understand, is when you put an implant underneath the muscle, which we do for most of our breast augmentations, you get that muscle stretches and the soreness. And if you don’t have enough magnesium onboard, you get muscle spasms and you get actual [crosstalk 00:00:34] tightness pain.
Everybody, welcome to the Natural Plastic Surgeon Podcast, we’re on episode 39. I have the pleasure of introducing to Esme, who is [crosstalk 00:00:49]-
Esmeralda Matamoros (00:49):
Dr. Barrett (00:49):
Hello. She is a patient… What would you say? A patient care associate is what we are [crosstalk 00:00:56]-
Esmeralda Matamoros (00:56):
Patient care specialist.
Dr. Barrett (00:57):
Patient care specialist here at our practice. Okay. And not only that, but you’ve recently undergone breast augmentation by one of our associate surgeons.
Esmeralda Matamoros (01:06):
I did. [crosstalk 00:01:07] I did, yes.
Okay. I’m excited to have you on, because you had breast augmentation, you work here in the office. And I’m not holding you hostage, am I?
Esmeralda Matamoros (01:14):
Dr. Barrett (01:15):
Okay. All right. You’re here to just talk freely.
Esmeralda Matamoros (01:18):
Yeah, definitely. I think it’s a great experience for me, because before when you talk to patients about surgery it’s just what you learn and what you see. But once you’re on the other side, it’s such a vulnerable experience, for sure. There’s so many fears that are associated with surgery, especially plastic surgery. When I get to say, “Well, I got surgery here done myself by Dr. Yamin, so you’re in great hands. You’re going to love your results.” They feel more comfortable. And I tell them, “I’m more than happy to show you my results. I come in, I’ll step in the consult for you.” And it makes them feel more comfortable, for sure.
Dr. Barrett (01:55):
That’s so powerful, Esme, because I preach this to the staff. I was like, “Imagine if this person is your family member on the table.”
Esmeralda Matamoros (02:06):
Dr. Barrett (02:07):
They’re coming in, and imagine if this is you. You’ve actually had to experience this, which is fantastic because now you know what it’s on the other side of someone coming in and then having to completely trust the office, basically. Because it’s not just the doctor, it’s the anesthesiologist, it’s the nurses, it’s everything else with your life and your body. That’s a major trust thing.
Esmeralda Matamoros (02:31):
It is, definitely. And I tell patients before, when they talk to me about their past consultation experience. I mean, I’ve talked to our staff here about it too, I’ve explored getting a breast augmentation before I worked here. Probably I was 21 or 22, I’m 25 now. But I explored the option and I never felt comfortable. I clearly didn’t go through with it for many reasons. And the offices maybe didn’t make me feel comfortable. It seemed very, this is what we’re going to do, I don’t care about your goals, this is what’s going to get done. And I always tell patients, “Here at the office it’s, whatever your goals are, are going to be met regardless.”
Dr. Barrett (03:11):
Isn’t it crazy?
Esmeralda Matamoros (03:11):
It is very crazy. And I hear patients tell me, “Oh, I went in for a breast augmentation, a consult, but he told me I needed a rhino, I needed lipo.” And I’m like, “What?” it’s such a vulnerable experience. And having to get undressed in front of people you don’t know. And them [crosstalk 00:03:29]-
Dr. Barrett (03:28):
Well, how is it getting undressed in front of people you do know?
Esmeralda Matamoros (03:34):
It’s [crosstalk 00:03:34] different.
Dr. Barrett (03:35):
You just went, half the staff just saw you naked on the table. You know? Okay. But just, not all the staff, the surgery staff did.
Esmeralda Matamoros (03:42):
Yeah, definitely. I mean, the consultation is with, obviously, Dr Yamin, who is my boss too. And Caitlyn, who is basically one of my friends and my coworker. But I never felt like, “Oh, I don’t what we’re looking at.” It felt truly professional in that aspect. And even the day of surgery I felt really comfortable and really calm, which is such a good feeling to have.
Dr. Barrett (04:07):
That’s an amazing feeling.
Esmeralda Matamoros (04:08):
And even when I was there just laying on the table, you’re looking at the lights, the anesthesiologist was super nice. And doctor was asking me, “What song do you want us to play?” And I didn’t even think about it. And I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan-
Dr. Barrett (04:21):
Okay. Did you put Taylor Swift on?
Esmeralda Matamoros (04:23):
Yeah, they did. Yeah.
Dr. Barrett (04:25):
Esmeralda Matamoros (04:25):
Yeah, I felt really comfortable in the experience. And just based on the feedback that patients give us, I truly know that the experience they’re getting is the same experience that I had, even though I’m an employee.
Dr. Barrett (04:39):
Esmeralda Matamoros (04:39):
Dr. Barrett (04:40):
Well, that’s so important. Tell us about, you went to other places, they wanted to give you their version of what they thought was best for you. They didn’t even pay attention to what you wanted, which I think is a big mistake. To me, my number one hardest job is to dial in, help people figure out what they want for their bodies, and then get them that goal. As long as it’s within these parameters that I think is safe and natural, then we go for it.
Esmeralda Matamoros (05:06):
Yeah, definitely. I remember one of the… Well, I went probably to four or five consultations, I only met with one of the surgeons. And I met with-
Dr. Barrett (05:13):
Esmeralda Matamoros (05:14):
Dr. Barrett (05:14):
So you were meeting with the [crosstalk 00:05:16]-
Esmeralda Matamoros (05:16):
A nurse practitioner.
Dr. Barrett (05:17):
Oh, my God.
And she gave me a bra to try on, and there were 600 CCs. And I was like, “They look big.” And she was like, “Well, it’s going to be placed under the muscle, so it’s going to be…” And I was just like, “Oh, I don’t know, this doesn’t feel right.” And they were just like, “It’s fine, we’re the professionals.” It felt very, whatever you’re feeling is wrong. And even the one time that I did meet a surgeon, it was in Orange County. And he told me, “Oh, now that you’re in, let’s get you set up with lip filler.” And at the time I never thought I would need lip filler. And I was just like, “Wait, do I need lip filler?” And then I was just, “Why would he recommend that?” And he asked me, wanted inner thigh lipo. And I was an athlete my entire life, I don’t need lipo.
Dr. Barrett (06:04):
Yeah. Which sports did you play? I didn’t know that.
Esmeralda Matamoros (06:07):
Yeah. I played soccer a majority of my life.
Dr. Barrett (06:08):
Oh, wow. Okay.
Esmeralda Matamoros (06:09):
Dr. Barrett (06:09):
Esmeralda Matamoros (06:09):
Yeah. So I was like, “It’s muscle, I swear.”
Dr. Barrett (06:11):
Yeah. Well, that’s ridiculous. One of the things I try to do, and same with [Dr. Muse 00:06:18], we try to focus on, here at Barrett Plastic Surgery, what concerns people? We’re not here to upsell people. I will tell people about stuff that’s going to help them heal, recovery products and drips and stuff like that. And pain medication and stuff like that. But if someone’s coming in for a tummy tuck, I’m not going to mention thigh lipo unless they bring it up.
Esmeralda Matamoros (06:39):
Dr. Barrett (06:39):
I’m not going to mention people’s lips if they’re here for breast augmentation. You know what I mean? We’re going to keep it on point. I will sometimes mention certain things in facial aesthetics. If we are going to do a rhinoplasty, sometimes we need to balance the face with some chin augmentation or neck lipo suction. But I only tell people that because that comes from a level of expertise over the overall result that things that they’re going to notice after surgery if they would’ve known ahead of time they would’ve done.
Esmeralda Matamoros (07:04):
That’s a little bit different. But to jump around that, I think that’s a red flag.
Esmeralda Matamoros (07:09):
Yeah. It’s definitely a big red flag. And what I liked about my consultation experience, and even with the sizing, Dr. Muse told me, “Don’t fixate on sizing, fixate on what you want your after to look like.” And which is what we tell all our patients here-
Esmeralda Matamoros (07:23):
… don’t fixate on the size, the sizing is very different for every patient. And I had a couple of goal photos, and even on the day of surgery he said, “Okay, these are your two goal photos, which one do you prefer?” And I said, “Okay, this one.” And he said, “Okay, if it means we have to go up a little bit, are you okay with that?” And I said, “Yeah, absolutely. If I’m going to get my goal, I’m going to get my goal.” So it’s just a clear communication that we have with our patients I think is what definitely makes us stick out from other places. Where it’s just, “Well, we said 300, so we’re going to go with 300.”
Dr. Barrett (07:56):
I know. Right. That’s a huge advantage. And I want the listeners to understand this. Is that when you go to a plastic surgeon’s office, if they make you sign on a paper about a certain size, you’re in the wrong place. Because both Dr. Yamin and I, we do measurements on our patients and we come up with a ballpark range of what will work. But it’s like trying on shoes. Okay?
Esmeralda Matamoros (07:56):
Dr. Barrett (08:17):
You don’t just go to a shoe store and buy a size seven and not try them on. You know what I mean? It’s just, try them on while you’re there. And so that’s why we take that time during surgery to do the on table sizing. A lot of people don’t realize that not every surgeon does that. You know why? Because you’re trying to cut corners.
Esmeralda Matamoros (08:32):
I’ve actually never seen it anywhere else.
Dr. Barrett (08:33):
Yeah. They try to cut corners, they try to speed up their operating time. They brag about their operations, they’re 15 minutes in length. And that’s ridiculous. Don’t go to a surgeon who’s only spending 15 minutes on your breast augmentation. We set our patients up with the sizes in place. We make adjustments 300, 315… Or, 325 or 275, or whatever we need to do. And give us the goal photos, the goal proportions that you’re looking for. And then leave it up to us to figure out the CCs. The easiest thing to do is someone comes and says, “I want 300 CCs, no matter what.”
Esmeralda Matamoros (09:02):
You’re like, “Okay.”
Dr. Barrett (09:02):
Okay, that’s easy. That’s easy. Okay, yeah. I mean, if you’re the expert. But there’s just no way for people to really know. And so I always try to counsel people when they come in, they have a size in mind. I’m like, okay. Sometimes they’re actually right, in a right ballpark. But decision, you want the size, 300 CCs, or do you want the look? What is it you want? And then [crosstalk 00:09:22], oh, I want the look.
Esmeralda Matamoros (09:22):
I think the afters are what mattered to anybody. And I think naturally, when you’re a patient, even me, I found myself being like, “What if this size is too big?” And things like that. But then-
Dr. Barrett (09:34):
I want to talk about that. What happened, did you feel that way anywhere afterwards? How far out are you from surgery right now?
Esmeralda Matamoros (09:39):
I am, I want to say eight weeks.
Dr. Barrett (09:42):
Esmeralda Matamoros (09:42):
Yeah. I want to say about eight weeks.
Dr. Barrett (09:44):
Okay. And do you have any regret about your size right now? We did 300 CCs.
Esmeralda Matamoros (09:48):
Yeah, we did 300 CCs. Honestly, I’m so happy. I love my results, and I truly got what I wanted. I never had small breast, my breasts just weren’t the shape I wanted them to be. I never had upper pole fullness, and that’s what I didn’t like. Because I was like, “Well, I have to wear a bra all the time.” So I just didn’t get what I wanted. Once I finally got the upper pole fullness that I was looking for, I’m like, “Oh, my God, I don’t have the wear a bra.” It looks how I want it to be. And even, if I’m not wrong, Dr. Yamin said he did a muscle release on me to be able to place them higher. And I have the upper pole fullness that I wanted and the projection that I wanted. So it’s like, I’m really, really happy.
Dr. Barrett (10:31):
Right. I mean, Dr. Yamin is excellent. And we both do the same approach, in that we spend a lot of time on that perfect pocket placement. And I just want to show you with an implant here really quick, that it’s getting this in that upper pole position, we release the muscle just a little bit. So you get that little bit of perkiness in the top, and that’s the advantage of an implant versus fat. Fat’s a liquid, I do fat transfer as well. And that’s how implants can be shaped if done properly by a smart plastic surgeon that knows what they’re doing. A small implant can make a huge difference because it’s what part of the breast that you want to make it have the best result. I’m glad that worked out. Because we did 300 CCs and it’s not making your breasts that much bigger, but it’s giving you that shape that you want.
Esmeralda Matamoros (11:22):
Yeah. Before I was a small C, and I got measured recently, so I’m a D now.
Dr. Barrett (11:27):
Esmeralda Matamoros (11:27):
Yeah. And I never went in thinking I want to get a D or I want to be a double D. I think my ultimate goal was just the upper pole fullness. If my breast stayed the same size, I was okay with that, I just wanted them to be fuller on top. And the confidence that comes with it is crazy. It does, yeah.
Dr. Barrett (11:45):
Tell me about that. I want to hear more about that confidence.
Esmeralda Matamoros (11:47):
Well, even before there was just so many things that I couldn’t wear, or I felt I had to wear a bra. Or even, I had to get a strapless bra. And it just doesn’t look the same, you could see the bra, or you could see the… We call them chicken cutlets that you wear to… They’re not real chicken.
Dr. Barrett (12:07):
Esmeralda Matamoros (12:07):
But they’re like-
Dr. Barrett (12:07):
I know. I know what you talking about, they fit in the bottom and they boost everything.
Esmeralda Matamoros (12:07):
Dr. Barrett (12:10):
Esmeralda Matamoros (12:10):
And I just didn’t like it. I was always complaining about it. And everybody around me was like, “I don’t see it.” But you see it. And it’s like, I was never comparing myself to anybody or was I like, oh, I’m trying to look this celebrity, or nothing like that. It was just, I was just not confident in my body naked, without anything on. I feel so much more confident now. Now I could, cute bralettes, or I could get certain tops. And I don’t have to think, oh, well, is my bra going to show? Or things that. I’m really happy.
Dr. Barrett (12:42):
Yeah. I’m so happy for you. I mean, this is why breast augmentation is my favorite operation. Just, people come in right around this time. And they’re like, “I’m so happy with my results. I’m fitting in clothes.” They tag me in photos on Instagram. They tag Doctor Yamin in photos on Instagram. And it’s just a life changing experience. And we all get really excited about that. And I know you get excited about that too, when you talk to people on the phone. It’s like, here’s the place to be, because this is going to change your life. And it’s something to feel good about.
Esmeralda Matamoros (13:12):
Yeah. I always tell patients that too. I’m really just so happy with my results that I’m like, “Follow me on Instagram, I’ll show you.” You know?
Dr. Barrett (13:12):
Esmeralda Matamoros (13:23):
Yeah. And I’ve had patients-
Dr. Barrett (13:24):
Well, what is your Instagram? If you want the listeners follow you.
Esmeralda Matamoros (13:26):
It’s E-S… Well, it’s honestly really long. It’s E-S-S-M-A, and then four Y’s.
Dr. Barrett (13:32):
Okay. There you go.
Esmeralda Matamoros (13:33):
It’s super complicated. [crosstalk 00:13:34]-
Dr. Barrett (13:34):
Esmeralda Matamoros (13:34):
Dr. Barrett (13:35):
Okay. That’s easy to find.
Esmeralda Matamoros (13:35):
I did it in high school. I’m like, now I can’t undo it. I’m stuck with it.
Dr. Barrett (13:40):
You’re committed to… Yeah, committed to your Gmail address or whatever.
Esmeralda Matamoros (13:44):
Dr. Barrett (13:44):
We’ll put it in the show notes, so you guys can find that if you want to see how Esme looks on her Instagram. Esme, thank you for sharing that. What are some tips that you have? How did you do recovery-wise? Did you use any supplements that we recommended?
Esmeralda Matamoros (13:59):
Yeah, I did. Pre-op-wise, Dr. Yamin wanted me to start on magnesium, and the heal fast pre-op. I started the magnesium, honestly, a month in advance. And then-
Dr. Barrett (14:09):
Esmeralda Matamoros (14:09):
Yeah. Because I hate, me personally… I mean, I know you like to work out, I’m not that person. I don’t to be sore.
Dr. Barrett (14:15):
Esmeralda Matamoros (14:16):
I hate the feeling of being sore so my biggest thing was, I could deal with pain fine, but being sore, I hate that feeling.
Dr. Barrett (14:22):
And that’s what people don’t understand. Is when you put an implant underneath the muscle, which we do for most of our breast augmentations, you get that muscle stretches and the soreness. And if you don’t have enough magnesium onboard, you get muscle spasms and you get actual tightness pain.
Esmeralda Matamoros (14:34):
Exactly. Yeah. And so I took those two. And then post-op-wise, I just took the CBD, I took the post-op, and I took so much arnica. I took so much arnica. But honestly, I’m pretty sure you guys could pull up the footage, but at my first week post-op I had no bruising. A little bit of yellow, very little. But even everybody was like, “Oh, my God.” And I’m like, no, I’m genuinely taking a bottle of arnica. Don’t do that. But I was taking a lot of arnica.
Dr. Barrett (15:05):
We have arnica pills. We actually started doing the arnica shots, I think-
Esmeralda Matamoros (15:07):
Yeah, and I took one on my 10 day. Day 10, I think, I took one of the shots. And honestly, by, I want to say day 12 I had no bruising, very minimal swelling. And I felt great. Even, I want to say, by day four I could have came back to work because I felt great.
Dr. Barrett (15:27):
Esmeralda Matamoros (15:27):
Dr. Barrett (15:28):
No, I know, we all missed you, but we were really happy for you too at the same time.
Esmeralda Matamoros (15:34):
I know. Yeah.
Dr. Barrett (15:35):
We were talking about you and everything. What’s the secret insider scoop on working in a plastic surgery office that you think people should know?
Esmeralda Matamoros (15:41):
It’s a lot of fun.
Dr. Barrett (15:42):
Esmeralda Matamoros (15:42):
Yeah. I’ve been working for such a long time, I’ve been working since I was 17 years old. I’m 25 now, and I’ve had every job you could think of, but this is honestly my favorite one. I think the connection you have with patients, it’s really sweet. And everybody here is great and so nice. It’s not a, oh, they just act like that on camera, or they just act like that on social media. Even just talking to you and talking to Dr. Yamin, you guys care about your patients so much. And I think that’s really important for people to understand that it’s not just, “Oh, see you in surgery.” Never see you again.
Dr. Barrett (16:19):
Esmeralda Matamoros (16:19):
Yeah. I think that’s my favorite part about it. And it’s also, I think there’s a misconception with plastic surgery. Where people think you’re doing it because the celebrities are doing it, or you’re doing it because your boyfriend is telling you to do it. I want to say-
Dr. Barrett (16:19):
Oh, we don’t want that.
Esmeralda Matamoros (16:31):
… 100% of my patients tell me, “I’m doing it for myself.”
Dr. Barrett (16:34):
Esmeralda Matamoros (16:35):
You’re doing it for yourself, what makes you feel confident. And if you want to go back to how you were before you had kids, or you lost a lot of weight, or whatever the situation is. I genuinely feel plastic surgery gets this bad rep, but I hate to say it, but you truly do do it for yourself.
Dr. Barrett (16:52):
Esmeralda Matamoros (16:52):
Nobody told me, “Hey-
Dr. Barrett (16:52):
Esmeralda Matamoros (16:54):
… you need to do it.” Yeah, most people, for sure. Yeah.
Dr. Barrett (16:56):
Do you have any advice out there for someone who’s thinking about getting breast augmentation?
Esmeralda Matamoros (17:00):
Definitely do your research. I think sometimes the cheapest deal is not always the best deal.
Dr. Barrett (17:05):
Well, that always drives me nuts. People, the first thing they ask for on the phone, from what I hear from you guys, is price. And it’s just, don’t shop based on price, because you’re going to get what you pay for. Don’t bargain shop with parachutes or plastic surgery.
Esmeralda Matamoros (17:18):
Yeah. And I’ve seen so many horror stories. A lot of our phone calls are revision work, and it’s really sad to hear. Because you’re going to end up paying that price again, and you might not even get the results you were looking for because of what the first surgeon did. I definitely think techniques are really important. Asking surgeons, not just being, “Am I going to get the results I want?” Talk to me about capsular contracture. Talk to me about breast implant illness. If you do get capsular contracture, can your surgeon even fix that? What does your doctor think about breast implant illness? A lot of these situations happen, very rarely, but they do. So it’s very important, I think, to do your research in the aspect of, is your surgeon qualified for the worst case scenario? I think that’s really important as well.
Dr. Barrett (17:18):
Esmeralda Matamoros (18:10):
Because a lot of people don’t think about those things. And knock on wood it rarely doesn’t happen here, but the option is [crosstalk 00:18:18] available.
Dr. Barrett (18:18):
We still do get complications. And it’s all about, we hold our patient’s hands when that happens. And that’s why I caution people against going overseas for plastic surgery procedures. Because you come back, you’re not even healed. And what happens if a complication happens? You know what I mean? And it’s not worth it, your body and your health. You’re not buying a used car, this is your body and you don’t really want to jeopardize it. If you can’t afford it, don’t worry about it because it’s not life-threatening.
Esmeralda Matamoros (18:41):
Yeah, exactly. And I’m like, there’s always so many options. I’m like, CareCredit.
Dr. Barrett (18:45):
Yeah. I know, you’re an expert at that. Well, Esme, I want to thank you for being on the show. And thank you for trusting us with your body. If you guys want to speak to Esme, you can call the office, (310) 598-2648. She’ll tell you more about breast augmentation and you can check out our Instagram in the show notes. Anything else you want to share with the listeners and the viewers?
Esmeralda Matamoros (19:08):
I definitely want to share that I love my team and I’m so thankful for everybody here. And definitely, just want to shout out Dr. Yamin, I’m so happy for my results. And he’s been great. I feel like because I’m so close to him I’ve probably been the patient of hell. I’m just kidding.
Dr. Barrett (19:24):
Esmeralda Matamoros (19:25):
I haven’t. But he did great, and I’m really happy with my results.
Dr. Barrett (19:29):
Amazing. Well, congratulations.
Esmeralda Matamoros (19:29):
Dr. Barrett (19:31):
And thank you for being such an amazing member of the team. And-
Esmeralda Matamoros (19:35):
Dr. Barrett (19:35):
Thank you for being on the podcast.
Esmeralda Matamoros (19:36):
Thank you for having me.
Dr. Barrett (19:36):
Of course. My pleasure.
Esmeralda Matamoros (19:37):
It’s been great.
Dr. Barrett (19:38):
All right. (Music).