Plastic surgeon Anthony Youn has seen and heard things many of us couldn’t even fathom — genital warts “the size of cauliflower heads”, for one.
Now, he’s kindly shared his insider intel in a very honest Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit. Here are 10 of the most fascinating things we learned about the life of a plastic surgeon.
1. They use leeches. Yes, really.
“I’ve used leeches to save nipples that were about to die … Leeches act as a ‘vein’ to drain out the clogged up blood. All plastic surgeons have them in their ‘back pocket’ in case all hell breaks loose and the surgery goes down the tubes. Thankfully I’ve never had to use them in private practice.”
Pictured above: Dr Youn (via Imgur)
2. No two days are the same.
“I’ve counselled women who had industrial-strength silicone injected into them in hotel rooms, I’ve seen maggot infested wounds, I almost got lice from a patient, I’ve seen genital warts the size of cauliflower heads, and have had patients hit on me, ask to set me up with their children (I’m married), threaten to hit me with their car.”
3. Unusued fat is disposed of… most of the time.
“There was once a doc in LA who claimed to use his patients’ liposuctioned fat to power his car. He called it ‘Biofuel’. The only car I know of that could run on Biofuel was the old AMC Pacer pieces of crap. Anyways, his office was raided by the cops and last I heard he fled to South America!”
Watch: Mamamia staffers discuss the rise in lip fillers. (Post continues after video.)
4. Patients have requested some very… unusual things.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me for wings. Like, turn them into the X-Men character The Angel. And they believe it’s possible. The next craziest thing someone asked for was to look like Kim Kardashian.”
"Hi, yes, I'd like some wings please." (Image: 20th Century Fox)
5. Butt implant patients are usually women.
"I've never heard of a guy getting buttock implants. Lots of women do, though. There are complex measurements, believe it or not, and classifications for the shape of butts. (Heart shaped, Square, Shelf, etc.) But never heard of a guy wanting it."
6. There are ways to enhance your beauty without surgery.
"The easiest and most cost effective way to improve your beauty is:
1. Limit your sugar intake. Sugar is the worst food for your skin.
2. Apply a Vitamin A cream before bed (tretinoin (prescription strength) or retinol)
3. Exfoliate your skin two to three times per week." (Post continues after gallery.)
7. Parents have requested surgery for their young children.
"I once had a parent call to make an appointment for her son. She was Korean and claimed her son wanted Asian eyelid surgery (to make an extra fold to look more Caucasian). He was only seven! I told her she had major problems and I would never do that to him.
"I would say that [parents who seek surgery for their children] should see a therapist and/or have someone slap him/her."
"I'm sure some [patients] have been unhappy with the results." (iStock)
8. The main reason for turning patients away is expectations.
"The classic person who gets a 'no' is the person with unrealistic expectations. I had a guy who weighed 400 lbs with a massive belly walk in, sweating and wheezing, sat in the chair and said, 'I need to get rid of all this blubber!' I turned him down. Diet and exercise can do amazing things, much more amazing that I can do with a liposuction cannula."
9. It's not always possible to change something about your body.
"As a plastic surgeon who has operated on thousands of patients, I'm sure some (a small percentage) have been unhappy with the results. I honestly try to do anything reasonable to make it better, if it's possible to improve it. The problem comes when it's not possible to improve it. You can't take away scars. You can't always change what God gave you. Sometimes people have Body Dysmorphic Disorder and have a skewed, unrealistic view of how they look. These are the most difficult cases."
Watch: Meghan Ramsay on the effects of poor self esteem. (Post continues after video.)
10. There are five key things to look for in a plastic surgeon.
Aside from official certification and membership to a national plastic surgery body, Dr Youn says these are "the mandatories" to look out for.
"Good before-and-afters and spends time with you in the consult. He/she seems trustworthy and doesn't operate in a strip mall. Shirt isn't unbuttoned down to the belly button."
11. Yes, life as a plastic surgeon is EXACTLY like Nip/Tuck.
"I saw one episode of that show where one of the doctors killed someone and got in a fight and attacked the other person with a syringe of Botox. He ended up losing the fight and had the Botox injected into his face instead, leaving it droopy and funny-looking. These things happen to me all the time!"
It's not quite Nip/Tuck... (Image: FX)
Well, it was worth asking...
What would you love to ask a plastic surgeon?