Important Lessons to Draw From Plastic Surgery Reality TV Show Botched

This past week, the popular plastic surgery reality series and ratings juggernaut, “Botched” returned to E! Entertainment Television after a much-hyped but successful first season. Although, I am not typically a reality TV fan, I try to stay updated with current pop culture, especially when it involves the industry of plastic surgery. For those of you not familiar with the series, the basic premise of the show revolves around two Beverly Hills plastic surgeons who are asked by patients to correct undesirable outcomes as a result from procedures performed by another plastic surgeon, or in many cases from a non-plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, a majority of these unhappy patients portrayed on the show did not take the proper steps to research board-certified plastic surgeons and may have opted for a “cheaper” or more convenient option including having surgery abroad or simply putting their trust in an unqualified provider. Sadly, I see unsatisfied patients in my practice similar to the ones featured in the show who require complicated and costly revisional surgery to correct procedures performed elsewhere. You’ve heard the saying, you get what you pay for -often this is the case in plastic surgery. Bargain shopping should be saved for shoe sales not for selecting a plastic surgeon.

The two physicians featured on the show are no strangers to the reality TV circuit. In fact, you may have seen them on the reality series, “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Even though these board-certified plastic surgeons frequent the spotlight, they are not simply actors showing off for the camera, but true professionals who are respected in the industry. An important aspect of the show is establishing realistic expectations – something I try to emphasize with my patients during the consultation process. It is important for the patient to fully understand the surgical plan, the risks involved and what surgical outcome can be expected, especially for revisional cases where the patient has already received less than desirable results from prior surgery. Although they are able to provide solutions to many of the cases featured on the show, there are also situations where additional procedures are not warranted and I feel the surgeons do a good job of setting limitations with these patients.

Being able to help many patients who have experienced difficulties is a positive message of the series, however I must say I am disappointed in the sensationalizing of “extreme” plastic surgery patients. In one of last season’s episode, they featured a man who had numerous procedures so he could look like Justin Beiber. Even though both surgeons refused to perform additional surgery, I feel the story was only featured for the “shock value” rather than for more admirable reasons. Cases such as this are not indicative of the patients I see in my office and are quite rare in the plastic surgery industry in general. We should not glamorize people who go to such extremes by providing the publicity they hoped to garner when deciding to take these drastic measures.

Overall, I think Botched is off to a better start than many other plastic surgery reality shows of the past. However, I hope this season’s episodes focus more on patient education and the importance of proper research in selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon and put less emphasis on the uncommon extreme plastic surgery patients.

Dr. Joshua Greenwald is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City who studied and trained at prestigious educational institutions including Columbia University, Emory University, and New York University School of Medicine. His keen aesthetic eye and refined surgical techniques have led him to be a top choice for cosmetic face, breast, and body procedures in NYC. His exceptional patient care has earned him the distinction of “Top Doc” by both Westchester Magazine and Castle & Connolly for over 10 years running. Dr. Greenwald is an active member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Medical Association, and the Westchester County Medical Society.