We talk everything from fillers to Botox
As one of the two-hander surgeons in the hit E! Entertainment show Botched, Dr Paul Nassif talks about the success of the series, the latest non-invasive treatments we need to know about and why he’s trying to make Dubai the go-to destination for plastic surgery
You started in medicine and then went onto specialise in plastic surgery in 1998. As technology has evolved, what improvements to surgery have been made over the course of your career?
There have been so many different types of non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures coming to the market, which has reduced the need for patients to have actual surgical procedures. Think everything from microneedling, to Coolsculpting for fat reduction, to Cellfina for cellulite and radiofrequency devices like ThermiSmooth to tighten up the skin. This is where technology has been and is going. In the future we can expect patients to undergo less surgery and more non-invasive surgeries delivering great results.
Why is it that there are so many ‘botched jobs’ in the world of plastic surgery?
Given the growth of the market and the amount of procedures and surgeries, you will always have complications and some ‘botched jobs’. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen, some doctors are simply not qualified to do certain procedures. On top of this some patients just have complications because of healing issues, meaning patients can have issues even with good surgeons working on them. I think that with all the millions of plastic surgery procedures happening we tend to hear about the complications, but obviously there are so many good procedures that have great outcomes.
Since your role on the E! Entertainment show Botched is really significant in helping people who have disfigurements or poor surgery, do you find the process less about aesthetics and more of an emotional journey?
You know it’s really a combination. We have life-changing experiences with patients on the show because some of the outcomes have disfigured them mentally and emotionally for many years of their lives. With the work we do it’s a complete transformation of their soul, their emotions, and obviously physically – so it really works on the inside and out. Helping people is absolutely something Dr [Terry] Dubrow and I love doing and we’re blessed to have the opportunity to do it.
Why do you think plastic surgery has become such an integral part of our lives? Having surgery has become almost normalised. What is your take on this?
When I was starting to practice about 19 years ago, we sort of kept things in the closet regarding plastic surgery. We’re seeing a totally different climate now, especially with social media. Public thinking has changed, with more people embracing filler and Botox to recreate the effect of filters and other photo editing tools. It’s becoming very normal, especially in cities like Los Angeles, Miami or New York City. In Brazil and in the UAE plastic surgery is becoming more and more accepted.
What made you come to Dubai and what is it about the region that you admire?
What I admire, first of all, is the way the city was built and how incredible it is, from the amazing healthcare to the entertainment. I have a lot of patients already from the Middle East and I want to make it easier for them to see me in Dubai. I’ve been to Dubai two or three times previously to meet with Dr Jaffer Khan about our partnership at Nova Clinic. We both believe it’s important to have excellent surgeons accessible to people in the region, ensuring that Dubai is one of the best places to undergo plastic surgery in the world.
Dr Terry Dubrow and yourself have such great chemistry on the show. It comes across as a genuine friendship. How long have you known each other?
When I first started to practice, Dr Dubrow would see patients with me in my office and we would go out and have dinner. We’ve had a close friendship for many years. It’s a genuine friendship, even though he does love to tease me all the time, and that’s all real.
Why were you compelled to video your own surgery? Was this for entertainment value or did you want people to see that you are just like everyone else?
For my hernia surgery on Botched it shows that I’m a real person like everyone else and that doctors can also have health complications and surgery.
How does it feel when you change someone’s life by performing cosmetic surgery on them?
It is the most incredible feeling in the world to help another person. Botched has given me the opportunity to help people suffering in their life from complicated procedures. Learning from the complex cases and surgeries we do, our skill levels have increased. It takes what I do as a facial plastic surgeon and makes me feel gracious that we’ve been given the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better.
Why do you think Botched has been so successful? Do you think it warns people away or educates them to make better decisions?
It does all of that. It’s a cautionary tale, warning people what not to do. It’s educational while being entertaining with the unique patients we treat and the fun banter between Dr Dubrow and I. I also think it makes you feel good, with the life-changing stories and the human nature aspect. So it has humour, it has entertainment, it has the heart-warming aspect, and some crazy stuff. It’s also become a social media phenomenon. It’s real, raw and there’s nothing fake about it.