‘The king of boobs’ and ‘the breast master’: Sydney surgeons and their “sexist” Instagrams.

Dr Kourosh Tavakoli patient photo

According to their own websites, Dr Michael Miroshnik and Dr Kourosh Tavakoli are two of the most in demand and renowned plastic surgeons in Australia.

Judging by their Instagram profiles, those claims are probably bang on; Dr Miroshnik, the self-dubbed ‘breast master’ has 75,000 followers, while Dr Tavakoli, who calls himself the ‘king of boobs’ has a whopping 146,000.

Thousands of women and men flock to every photo the surgeons post, which are hashtagged with either #DrMGirl or #DrTavAngel.

But these photos of patients aren’t the typical before and afters you might be familiar with – they’re often taken on beds, in bathroom mirrors, donned in lacy lingerie or completely naked.

The “breast master” has posted racy Valentine’s Day messages from his clients, along with videos taken in bathtubs and in gyms. The “king of boobs” tells his patients that “lingerie is always a good idea” in photo captions, and on a close-up of a patient’s cleavage wrote “happy hump day”.

Image: Instagram.
Image: Instagram.

Clinical psychologist Louise Adams says when she scrolled through Dr Tavakoli’s Instagram profile, she almost confused it for a soft porn page.

"You could be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at the Playboy mansion," the body image expert, who helps free women from diet culture via her online masterclass UNTRAPPED, tells Mamamia.

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"It’s leechy."

The increasingly blurred line between fun and foolhardy was touched upon by Monday night’s episode of ABC’s Four Corners, which looked at the social media behaviour of both Dr Miroshnik and Dr Tavakoli, and queried how professionalism intersects with sharing images of patients in their underwear.

In a statement to Mamamia, the President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Professor Mark Ashton, said something needs to change.

"[The ASPS] is very concerned about the increasing use of social media to promote cosmetic surgery and the rise of what could be considered vulgar or inappropriate imagery," Prof Ashton said.

"This is an issue ASPS is proactively pursuing to ensure appropriate standards are included in our own Code of Conduct. This year our Code was reviewed to specifically address the challenges faced by the proliferation of social media in marketing and advertising."

While the 'king of boobs' Dr Tavakoli did not respond to requests for comment, the 'breast master' Dr Miroshnik told Mamamia his presence on social media is simply "a sign of the times in our (and every other) industry."

He also added that his team does not chase women for scantily-clad images post-operation. Rather, he says patients began using the hashtag #DrMGirl on their own volition.

Image: Instagram.
Image: Instagram.

"We are inundated with photos each week from patients who feel like, often for the first time, they are really proud of their body," Dr Miroshnik said. "We have to wade through all of them to pick the ones that are appropriate, add to our story and that don’t contravene any of the rules or regulations."

For psychologist Adams, the "sexualisation" of patients by plastic surgeons has to stop - regardless of where the images are coming from.

"It’s sending women a message that if you have poor body confidence the answer is to be sexualised," Adams told Mamamia.

"It’s selling the sexualisation of women as success, as confidence, selling it as necessary. The whole idea of correction - of breasts being 'corrected' - I’m sorry, nothing is wrong with breasts. It’s not correcting, it’s butchering. [These men are] calling it correction when really they’re just homogenising women and making them look the same. It’s sexist and condescending and paternalistic."

Upon observing how plastic surgeons are behaving on social media, the body image expert is surprised their accounts have been in operation for years without any robust criticism.

"It’s so normalised in our culture that women are sexualised... the fact that nobody is jumping up and down about this is really troubling."

Image: Instagram.

While the ASPS is the peak body for reconstructive and cosmetic surgeons, it has limited power in ensuring Australian practitioners abide by its code of conduct. Ultimately, that lies in the hands of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the organisation responsible for the national registration and accreditation scheme of plastic surgeons.

"Currently regulations by AHPRA, by which all medical practitioners are bound, do not address issues of taste or decency in relation to social media imagery used by medical practitioners on websites or social media," Prof Ashton told Mamamia.

If AHPRA does decide to investigate the social media activity of its members, the ASPS is of the belief it should also have greater transparency and notify women when their plastic surgeon has a strike against their name.

"[We] encourage AHPRA to review and update its own regulations, and in particular, to make it easier for the public to be able to see if their prospective surgeon or cosmetic practitioner has a previous history of reprimands or restrictions placed on their registration," Prof Ashton said.

"It is of concern that The Four Corners program revealed that a registered medical practitioner has an apparently clean registration page with AHPRA and yet has had nine separate reprimands and is continuing to operate. None of this history is available to the public."

For Dr Miroshnik, if his patients are happy, and his content passes Instagram's own set of rules, that’s what matters.

"Social media savvy patients these days are simply proud of their journey and the results I have managed to achieve for them and want to share their story with others," he said.

As he continues to post, share and hashtag, psychologists like Louise Adams watch on with the knowledge that levels of body dissatisfaction are at an all-time high, and grave concern over the message being shared.

"The king of boobs? I’m sorry, but the land of boobs is definitely not a kingdom, it’s a queendom," she told Mamamia.

"Quite frankly, we don’t need a man in charge of our boobs."

Michelle Andrews is a freelancer writer from Melbourne. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

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