American plastic surgeon and reality TV star Dr Paul Nassif, returning for the eighth season of ‘Botched’ on OSN, takes a swipe at quick-fix procedures like “lunch-time lipo,” branding it a “gimmick.”
“First of all, there’s really nothing that quick, and anything that says you can do surgery and go back to work immediately after lunchtime is just a marketing gimmick,” said Nassif in an interview with Gulf News.
Dr Nassif, leading the series that follows him and his surgeon mate Dr Terry Dubrow as they fix extreme plastic surgeries gone wrong, urges everyone to be cautious.
“Remember, you have to be careful. You have to make sure that you go to the right clinic, the right doctor, the right specialist with the right reputation… Do your research,” he added.
For those in the dark, 'Botched' has become one of the most successful medical shows to date. The hit series follows Dr Nassif and Dr Dubrow changing lives by performing transformational surgeries on their show. Their cases -- such as the patients whose face got bitten off by a dog -- are complicated and the two doctors work at correcting damage done from previous surgeries. Extreme plastic surgery nightmares are also rectified by this team.
Excerpts from our interview with Dr Nassif of ‘Botched’ in Dubai. The first half of the fabulous doctor duo talks about his hit show, scathing reviews, and more ...
Did you expect your reality show ‘Botched’ to run over eight seasons?
I did not. I remember that we were trending on Twitter from our second or third episode of season one and at that point, I knew we were onto something. But I can’t believe that we are now on season eight, and it’s been that long. But what’s great about this season is that you will still have Dr Terry Dubrow and I doing surgeries, and you will see some interesting patients. But the background for the season has changed, and the way we do interviews has changed. Everything is a little bit more refreshed. I am actually more relaxed this season and will enjoy the ride.
But can you ever be relaxed in surgery where patients come to you because they are distressed about their appearance after a medical procedure?
By relaxed, I am talking about my dynamics with Terry Dubrow when he’s insulting me. Listen, when it comes to surgery, you have to be calm and confident. I don’t want to use the word nervous, but you have to be cautious during surgery because no matter how confident and great a surgeon you are, you always have to be aware of certain situations that may or may not have the best outcomes.
Do you think that the stigma attached to plastic surgeries has perhaps eroded after your series normalised it?
It used to be like that many years ago when many keep plastic surgery in the closet. Nowadays, good plastic surgery is when you don’t recognise it. So, if your friend looks good, healthy, and seemed to have a great night’s sleep or their skin is looking better, it could be plastic surgery. So, that’s the whole goal of good plastic surgery. Not everyone has to see it, but since plastic surgery is around so much, people are more open to admitting that they got their nose down a little or a liposuction. It’s becoming less taboo.
How would you address all the concerns around the show saying that it feeds into vanity and glamorises medical procedures?
I don’t hear a lot about the negativity since I get messages like: ‘Thank you for helping us.’ Recently, a billionaire was watching our show, and she saw an episode in which this patient had an unusual medical syndrome called Sarcoidosis (a condition that causes your immune system to overreact and make lumps or nodules called granulomas). This patient saw those symptoms and realised that she suffered from it too. Basically, that episode from ‘Botched’ saved her life and became this incredible cautionary tale.
What has been your most rewarding project shown in ‘Botched’ over the last eight seasons or the most disappointing one?
It happens often when you believe that you could get more out of a procedure. With private practice, you often wish you could have done A, B, and C to give a bit more result. You second-guess yourself, but that happens when you are a perfectionist. And I always strive for better results. In fact, in this new season, you will see some patients this year who didn’t really want the full surgery and opted for some easier shortcuts to get a good result. I did it knowing that they would have gotten a better result if they had let me do what I intended to do. But that happens in real life and our private practice. The job of being a plastic surgeon is to do the best you can. And no matter who you work upon, your goal is to give it 110 per cent.
Will the patients be from diverse backgrounds this season, can we expect some Middle Eastern candidates?
Yes, there’re more Middle Eastern patients, especially Lebanese who live in the United States. There’s no one here from the UAE, as I recall… They want to keep a low profile. Remember, ‘Botched’ is aired in over 165 countries.
How involved are you in the editing of the show that often looks staged?
Dr Dubrow and I are not involved in the editing of this show even though we are executive producers.
The chemistry between Dr Dubrow and you is credited as one of the biggest draws of ‘Botched’ ... Your thoughts.
We have a great chemistry, and we have been friends for many, many years. Our banter is fun, but he teases me more. But trust me, you will see a more relaxed version of me this year. We have fun and we enjoy filming this show. But don’t forget that the stakes are high because we both do very difficult and scary surgeries. When I am in surgery, I am not joking around. This is real serious business. My goal is to be focused and be armed with the right plan. Towards the end of the procedure, the music comes on and the atmosphere lightens up, but that happens only after we have crossed that crucial level.
Do you read the reviews for your show? Some are sharp like your scalpel …
I am too busy to sit and look at reviews for the show. Whether it’s on Instagram, YouTube, or social media, I believe it’s a great show, and if people are making negative comments about it, or our so-called haters, the show speaks for itself and helps a lot of people … ‘Botched’ is a fun show. There’s always a bit of crying, laughing and you also get to see someone undergo surgery and have a great makeover.