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Secrets of a Beverly Hills Cosmetic Surgeon

with Robert Kotler, MD, FACS

Dr. Kotler's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support he has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.


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Friday, July 27, 2007

Why Do Some Celebrities Look So Bad After Cosmetic Surgery?

That’s a question often asked by prospective patients. The common assumption is that money, power, and access should automatically guarantee garnering top cosmetic surgery talent. Not always.

I see three reasons why some celebrities look so bad after cosmetic surgery. Bad luck is not one of them.

1. Bad decision making. Celebrities – like the rest of us – are not immune from making bad purchasing decisions. They are not anointed with special wisdom because of their fame. They may not do enough research to sort out the most talented practitioners for their particular needs. Or they rely on a manager or adviser to conduct the search. Off the screen, away from the studio, they own no magic, no divining rod to lead them to the right offices. They need to do their homework; just like you.

2. Not knowing when to stop. When you see obvious and overdone cosmetic surgery on a celebrity, it usually announces that they did not know when to stop.

For example, Meg Ryan’s over-puffed, trout-like lips were a neon-sign for an obvious over-extreme makeover. The Michael Jackson nose became the poster subject for ridiculously overdone cosmetic surgery. Victoria Beckham’s breasts could only be described as “bolt-ons”, not original equipment. Courtney Love’s admitted two nose jobs might well be one too many. Former Olympian Bruce Jenner’s multiple procedures rendered his face nearly unrecognizable. Kenny Rogers’ overdone eye and brow surgery changed not only his appearance but his image.

They kept going beyond reason. Perhaps the celebs were unwisely shooting for perfection, for immortality. But they are on a hopeless chase. Regardless of who one is – famous or otherwise – the same rules of life govern us all.

3. A cosmetic surgeon who falls into the celebrity trap. He, too, drops common sense. He forgets that mantra his mentors hammered into his memory bank: “The pursuit of perfection is the ultimate enemy of good.” Overdoing is always worse than underdoing. It is easier to add on later, but almost impossible to “put back that which you took off.” But why does an ordinarily objective and wise doctor temporarily discard the sound advice his teachers gave him? Because, he, too, has a chance to be a celebrity, however vicarious. An opportunity to bask in that special glow we Americans are so good at fostering is often too hard to pass up.

Media personalities are attractive, smart and charming; that is how they reached their level of success and fame. They can be very manipulative, very convincing in their arguments. Isn’t that their craft? That is why, it is hard to say “no” to the lady or gentleman sitting in front of you whose face may be recognized by billions of people. And, perhaps subconsciously, the doctor wants to say yes, wants to satisfy this important person, to ingratiate himself, to join the club, to be part of that special world. It can be heady stuff.

Consulting with famous people is very difficult. I have been there many times. The doctor must harness his best instincts, his purest motives, his strongest common sense to do the right thing for every patient regardless of status. Not for himself, his ego, his office’s “wall of fame” photo display, or his bank account.

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Posted by: Robert Kotler, MD, FACS at 3:35 pm

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