By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Matlock is raking in millions by franchising his techniques. He has already trained nearly 100 board-certified gynecologists, urologists and plastic surgeons in 20 countries. Fourteen are American, including two in Texas: Hailparn in San Antonio and Dr. Jose Fernandez in Pharr, located near McAllen just north of the Mexican border.
Training doctors at a rate of 12 per month, Matlock says he is on pace to have 300 surgeons employing his techniques by the end of the year. He plans to establish training institutes in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Hailparn has performed the surgeries on 335 patients. Two-thirds of the women were from Texas, three dozen from Houston. Even some California women pick San Antonio over Los Angeles because they'd rather be treated by a female.
"Matlock's like the king," Hailparn says, "and I'm the queen."
Hailparn empathizes with the women she treats.
"I don't like my labia," she admits. "They're not painful, but they're discolored. And they're longer than I'd like them to be."
It doesn't inspire confidence that Hailparn has not had any of the surgeries performed on herself. Why not go to Matlock, whom she calls her mentor?
"That's a bad subject," she says. "There are things that transpired between he and I that are private and I can't talk about them, okay?"
Hailparn broke her two-year contract with Matlock. As a result, she is no longer listed on his Web site as being certified in his techniques.
Early on, Matlock had planned to train 40 doctors to cover 50 states. Each doctor would be assigned a large region, to avoid competition. Hailparn wanted exclusive rights not only to San Antonio but also to Austin and Houston. When Matlock refused, Hailparn stopped cutting him monthly checks.
Matlock is not averse to litigation. He has sent cease-and-desist letters to at least two New York doctors who tried to piggyback off his success by advertising their own versions of vaginal rejuvenation surgeries.
And yet Hailparn still promotes Matlock's trademarked surgeries and uses his Web site template, which features a photograph of them posing together in scrubs.
Will she be sued?
"I don't know," Hailparn says. "If a lawyer comes after me I'll know, okay?"
Many prominent plastic surgeons condemn Matlock for trademarking and franchising medicine while publishing no scientific data in peer-reviewed journals.
"There are no secrets in medicine; this is not the Middle Ages," thunders Dr. Rod Rohrich, chairman of the plastic surgery department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "We share advances with our peers. It's part of our Hippocratic oath."
Young compares Matlock's Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute franchise to McDonald's. But it's more like Kentucky Fried Chicken, since Matlock claims to have the secret recipe for enhancing female orgasms.
Matlock claims he wrote two papers that support his surgeries. But, he says, his attorney dissuaded him from publishing them, in order to protect his intellectual property rights.
"They have a corner on the market right now," Hailparn explains, "and they don't want to give that corner up."
Hailparn believes the surgeries eventually will become mainstream. Until then, she plans to cash in. "I'm not going to give away the technique," she says.
Matlock and Hailparn dismiss their critics similarly.
Says Hailparn: "I've undergone a lifestyle change. They're jealous."
Says Matlock: "They're not making the kind of money I'm making, and they never will." He pauses for several seconds and adds: "Christ had naysayers."
Hailparn has defended the surgeries in realms beyond the media. Last summer a colleague filed an anonymous complaint against her with the Texas Medical Board in Austin. She went before a five-member panel to defend the assertion that her surgeries enhanced sexual gratification, as advertised on dozens of billboards between Austin and San Antonio.
"It was very stressful," she says. "I could have been cited for being unethical."
The board took no action against her. "There have been no substantiated complaints made against the doctor," confirms Jane McFarland, special projects manager for the Texas Medical Board.
But the hearing shook Hailparn, and led her to alter the ads. "Now I downplay the sex," she says. The original slogan, "Feel sexy again," has become "Feel confident again." And "Imagine how much better sex can be" has been changed to "Imagine how much better life can be."
These days Hailparn tries to distance herself from the controversies that surround Matlock, while continuing to capitalize on his name. Unlike Matlock's, she says, her practice focuses on treating women with physical discomfort. And unlike Matlock's, she says, her ads are tasteful.
Hailparn claims she no longer uses Matlock's ads. But a stack of his brochures, featuring a bikini-clad woman arching her back as if in mid-orgasm, is displayed in her front office. She also says she doesn't like the media-coined term "designer vaginas." But a blown-up, laminated version of a magazine article with that headline hangs prominently in her waiting room.
Hymen reconstruction is the most controversial of all the surgeries offered by Matlock's growing army of doctors. All market the surgery on their Web sites, though many are unwilling to speak about it.
"We don't want to be targets," frets Dr. Robert Jason, who trained under Matlock in 2004 and has offices in Manhattan and Great Neck, New York.