Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: WHY?

August 22nd, 2012 / Back to Blog »

With all the money, connections, and “inside information” that TV and film celebrities seem to have, why do many of them end up looking fake (or downright odd) after plastic surgery? As I was sitting in my dentist’s office the other day, we started talking about this subject, and it really got me wondering:

WHY?

Look through the pages of People, Us Weekly, or your favorite celebrity “news” magazine, and you’ll see examples of plastic surgery that shouldn’t have been. As a plastic surgeon, I have a hard time understanding why people who are in the public spotlight day in and day out would not want the best for themselves.

Granted, not every result is perfect. Every plastic surgeon has had results that he or she wishes they could change, but the high number of “Oops” moments in Hollywood makes me raise my eyebrows.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with a good single answer to the “Why”. I have a number of opinions, though.

First, perhaps the celebrities don’t do their research. Because of the zip code, the market, and views regarding cosmetic surgery in Hollywood and Southern CA, the area is full of minimally-trained, non-board-certified doctors who call themselves “Plastic Surgeons”. If a busy celebrity tasks finding a surgeon for their nose-job, facelift, or breast augmentation to an assistant, perhaps a flashy office, a well-designed, highly optimized website, and the “look” of competence fools them into thinking they are making a wise choice. With non-plastic surgeons offering “cosmetic surgery” at cut-rate prices, this type of thing happens all the time, and not just in L.A.  These docs tend to want to compete on price, because they can’t compete on quality, experience, or their credentials.

Perhaps, and I’d hate to think this is the case, it is intentional. Perhaps celebrities who are no longer in demand choose to look slightly (or not-so-slightly) outrageous to grab headlines once their days of red-carpet premieres and magazine cover stories have passed. There is an old saying in the marketing world: Bad press is better than no press.

Not to name names, but there are quite a few celebrities (and wanna-be reality TV “stars”) who seem to have taken the “look at me” approach to plastic surgery in order to try and extend or resurrect their 15 minutes of fame…I’ll leave it to you as to who is on this list.

Lastly, pride and ego must play a role. After a less-than-perfect result, it is natural for both the patient and the surgeon to seek improvements, usually through more surgery. In some cases, this works, everyone is happy, and the story ends. In others, it triggers or unmasks a condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder – a psychiatric illness characterized by an unrealistic view of small or non-existent imperfections that patients seek to treat with surgery. Plastic surgeons are taught to be on the look out for the signs of this condition and get these patients to a psychiatrist, not into an operating room. I would venture a guess that some portion of this is responsible for Michael Jackson’s well-publicized and often denied troubles with his nose. How or why his sister, Latoya, seems to be following in his footsteps is beyond me.

I would be interested to hear any thoughts or comments you have, or if there is anything here that I either missed or got wrong. Go to my Facebook page and feel free to comment and add your 2-cents to this discussion.