Se­crets of Hol­ly­wood’s plas­tic sur­geons

All those buoy­ant breasts and chis­elled cheek­bones don’t shape – or heal – them­selves. A look in­side the rar­efied world of the celebrity cos­metic sur­geon.

Glamour (South Africa) - - News -

mil­lions of peo­ple will sit in front of their TV for the spec­ta­cle that is the Os­cars. Among them: Hol­ly­wood’s star mak­ers. The hair­dressers who spent hours craft­ing up­dos, the de­sign­ers who sketched and re-sketched gowns, the stylists who stacked the di­a­monds just so. With bated breath, they watch and wait, know­ing that a red-car­pet shout-out could be a ca­reer-mak­ing – and ma­jorly rev­enue-boost­ing – mo­ment.

But there is one mem­ber of the so-called‘glam squad’ who knows their name will be spo­ken ex­actly nowhere near the red car­pet. “It’s fun to watch the Academy Awards and see your work up there,” says Dr An­drew Frankel, a fa­cial plas­tic sur­geon who spe­cialises in rhino­plasty. But is it go­ing to get Dr Frankel any new clients? No. Wel­come to the world of the celebrity plas­tic sur­geon. Treat­ing Os­car win­ners, roy­alty, bil­lion­aires and heads of state. Meet­ing, greet­ing, in­ject­ing – and, of course, op­er­at­ing on– VVVIPS the world over. The things you must see. The egos you must nur­ture. The tantrums you must tol­er­ate. And, yes, the bald-faced lies you must wit­ness.

“You’re go­ing to see a black van”

“We got a call from the as­sis­tant of one of our A-list pa­tients,” re­calls Dr Ja­son Di­a­mond, a plas­tic and re­con­struc­tive sur­geon. “She said, ‘One of our friends wants to see Dr Di­a­mond. I’m not go­ing to tell you who she is, but if you’re will­ing to get in your car and start driv­ing, I’ll tell you where to go.’” The woman on the phone gave spe­cific di­rec­tions un­til Dr Di­a­mond ar­rived at a par­tic­u­lar ad­dress.

“She said, ‘OK, now you’re go­ing to come to this house. You’re go­ing to see a black van.’ The tinted win­dow of the van rolled down, and the man in­side said, ‘Who are you?’ I said my name, and he asked, ‘What’s your busi­ness here?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ The garage door opens, and a se­cu­rity guard asks, ‘What’s your busi­ness here?’ and I’m like, ‘I still don’t know!’

Then fi­nally the door to the house opens. There is this A-lis­ter at the kitchen ta­ble with her stylist work­ing on her hair. She wanted to talk about some pro­ce­dures, so we went to an­other room. Since that time, I’ll only go to peo­ple’s houses if I know who they are.”

They’ll deny it to the hilt”

“It’s in­ter­est­ing what peo­ple re­lay in the me­dia when they’re in­ter­viewed,” says Dr Robert Singer, a for­mer pres­i­dent for the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for Aes­thetic Plas­tic Surgery. “I’ve had sit­u­a­tions where ac­tresses have said that they’d never have plas­tic surgery but that they’d con­sider Botox or maybe fillers, and they had just had a facelift. They’ll deny it to the hilt,” says Dr Frankel.

Even to each other. “There was a very well-known TV show and one day I was op­er­at­ing on the two stars. To­tal co­in­ci­dence,” he says. “But since they don’t want any­one to know, they don’t even tell each other. So af­ter the surg­eries, the nurses are try­ing to make sure they don’t see each other. But in the end they did, and it was the weird­est mo­ment. They looked at each other, they looked at me, I looked at them. It was hi­lar­i­ous.”

“A 29-year-old ac­tress came in for a facelift”

“As a gen­eral prin­ci­ple for all peo­ple, celebrity or not, there is an op­ti­mal win­dow for a facelift. It is my opin­ion [that it’s best] to do these things when they’re less se­vere be­cause if you wait un­til you look like a droopy dog, peo­ple can see that dra­matic change.

If the change is sub­tle, you’ll get away with it. Peo­ple will say things like ‘God, that woman never ages,’” says Dr Frankel. “But when I had a 29-year-old ac­tress who didn’t like how she looked on a mag­a­zine cover come in here and say to me, ‘If I do it when I’m 29, I’ll al­ways look 29,’ I had to ex­plain that it doesn’t work that way. It’s as if they think the year that you have your surgery is when you stop ag­ing. You have to just say no. I’m deal­ing with that right now with sev­eral clients. I can’t do enough to put them off.”

“There’s an empty beer and a cig­a­rette in the ash­tray”

“I have an A-list client who al­ways wants surgery at night to avoid be­ing seen,” says Dr Di­a­mond. “Af­ter surgery – and this is past mid­night – I go to his house to check on him. Nor­mally peo­ple go to an af­ter­care fa­cil­ity, but he re­fuses. I’d given him spe­cific in­struc­tions: You leave the pres­sure wrap on for 48 hours, no smok­ing, and so on.

He’d been home for an hour. I get there and his as­sis­tant says, ‘He’ll be ready in a minute.’ I’m think­ing, ‘What do you mean? He should be ready right now.’ I go up­stairs, and there are girls run­ning around, an empty beer and a cig­a­rette in the ash­tray. He’s sit­ting in a lounge chair, and the pres­sure wrap was com­pletely a mess. You could ob­vi­ously tell he had taken it off and put it back on com­pletely wrong. So I’m like, ‘What the hell is go­ing on? You can’t do this!’ I prob­a­bly gained 30 points on my blood pres­sure.”

“Pos­ses­sion of an as­sault ri­fle is a crime”

“I op­er­ated on the wife of a royal – she al­ways had body­guards,” says Dr Steven Teit­el­baum, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of plas­tic surgery. “Dur­ing her surgery, they wanted to stand at the door. When I walked from the scrub sink into the OR, I saw that one of them had a ma­chine gun par­tially hid­den un­der his jacket.

Pos­ses­sion of an as­sault ri­fle is a crime, but what was I go­ing to do as I was walk­ing into the OR with the pa­tient al­ready asleep? Call the ATF [Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives] and risk a shoot-out in my of­fice? I put it out of my head, fo­cused on the case, and then did all the fol­low-up vis­its at her home so I didn’t have to worry about guns in my of­fice again.”

“No! That’s why I have nurses”

“I guess I’m known for do­ing re­vi­sion surgery – doc­tors will send me pa­tients who have had un­sat­is­fac­tory re­sults,” says Dr Simeon Wall Jr, an as­sis­tant clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of plas­tic surgery. “I treated a royal, and un­for­tu­nately she had pre­vi­ously had some pretty bad plas­tic surgery. I pretty much did an over­haul of ev­ery­thing on her. It was a huge case.”

Dr Wall’s of­fice has guest suites so pa­tients can bruise for days in pri­vacy. “The day af­ter surgery, I said, ‘You can shower – we’ll change you out of your sur­gi­cal dress­ings,’” says Dr Wall. “My nurses were there, but she wouldn’t let them touch her.” So the royal asked Dr Wall to shower her. “I’m like, ‘No! That’s why I have nurses.’ She re­fused.” So Dr Wall re­lented. “I’m stand­ing half in, half out of the shower in my scrubs, try­ing un­suc­cess­fully not to get soaked while wash­ing a grown woman.”

“It’s an un­der­ground, in­vite-only kind of thing”

“I go to Dubai every three months and Moscow once a year,” says Dr Di­a­mond. “In the Mid­dle East, I have a li­cense. In New York, I have a li­cense. But in Rus­sia, I go with­out a li­cense be­cause most of it is un­der­ground.

That’s why when I go to Moscow we have to be very dis­creet. It’s an un­der­ground, in­vite-only kind of thing. We’ll do in­jecta­bles and con­sul­ta­tions in very wealthy peo­ple’s base­ments. So when you ask how Rus­sian celebri­ties avoid pa­parazzi? It’s lit­er­ally done un­der­ground. It’s not a clinic; it’s not an of­fice.”

They have to be the same age for 35 years”

“There are dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­a­tions [with dif­fer­ent types of celebri­ties]. For the av­er­age rock star or movie star, the more their life de­mands that they are in pub­lic get­ting pho­tographed and mak­ing ap­pear­ances, the harder it is to find a win­dow to per­form a pro­ce­dure,” says Dr Frankel. “So while do­ing sub­tle changes in stages is a nice idea, you re­ally have to get it all done in one pro­ce­dure. Now, soap opera stars are the ex­cep­tion. They have to kind of be the same age for 35 years. Yet they’re not sup­posed to look any dif­fer­ent from day to day to the viewer. Those changes need to be done sub­tly and reg­u­larly to keep them go­ing.”

There are anatom­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions”

“Celebri­ties tend to have ex­pec­ta­tions that are out of line with re­al­ity be­cause they’re used to just be­ing able to have ev­ery­thing,” says Dr Wall. “They don’t un­der­stand that this is a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure; there are anatom­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions. For ex­am­ple, some­one with a boxy waist or nar­row but­tocks won’t un­der­stand that you can’t give them the shape they want. I’ll say, ‘I can re­duce your waist by 15 or 20cm.’ And I have to tell them, ‘No, this is not re­al­ity. We can’t do this.’ They just don’t like hear­ing any of that.”

“Let’s just say money was no ob­ject”

Celebrity pa­tients ex­pect their sur­geons to make them com­fort­able. There are the pain meds, sure. And some­times, there’s also fur­ni­ture shop­ping. That royal? She had very spe­cific ideas about where she should sit.

“She moved out of our guest suites and into a ho­tel,” Dr Wall re­calls. “She had liked a re­cliner from our suite, so they called us and said, ‘We want that re­cliner.’ I said, ‘You can’t have the re­cliner be­cause we have an­other pa­tient us­ing it now.’ They said, ‘Just get one.’ I called the man­ager of her ho­tel, who is used to re­quests like this. He said, ‘Send me a pic­ture of it. I’ll have one there in an hour.’”

“A lot of what you read in the tabloids is re­ally true”

“We have five ex­its from our build­ing – and we use them clev­erly to divert and de­coy the pa­parazzi,” says Dr Frankel. But some­times the prob­lems start on the in­side. “Years ago, we were sued by a very fa­mous cou­ple be­cause there was in­for­ma­tion about them hav­ing had surgery here.

A vi­o­la­tion like that is a crim­i­nal of­fense, so we called the po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate who might be our leak. The agents loved it be­cause they were out here in Hol­ly­wood in­ter­view­ing all these celebri­ties who had had surgery. A lot of what you read in the tabloids is re­ally true. I can tell you first­hand.”

“But oc­ca­sion­ally they get it wrong”

“I once had a fe­male celebrity in for fa­cial surgery, and we knew there was go­ing to be a prob­lem with the pa­parazzi,” says Dr Frankel. “She was my sec­ond case that day. The first was a reg­u­lar woman who was not fa­mous. So we de­layed dis­charg­ing the first pa­tient.

When we did dis­charge her, we wrapped her up with a bee­keeper’s hat, a veil, a scarf and re­ally big sun­glasses. The nurse walked her out as if she were some­one very fa­mous. Sure enough, later that week, that reg­u­lar lady’s pic­ture was on the cover of a mag­a­zine. She later called up laugh­ing that she was on the cover of this mag­a­zine as so-and-so.”

“She is to breasts what Mozart is to mu­sic”

“Celebri­ties do not say who they don’t want to look like,” says Dr Teit­el­baum. “In­stead, they’ll say they like Kate Hud­son’s boobs for their size and perk­i­ness. But the name most men­tioned as hav­ing per­fect breasts – though bigger than some pa­tients want – is Emily Rata­jkowski. I tell pa­tients, ‘I get it. But I’d be mis­lead­ing you if I sug­gested that you’d look like her. She’s a ge­netic rar­ity; she is to breasts what Mozart was to mu­sic and Usain Bolt is to sprint­ing.’”

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