Johannesburg - The fourth season of Botched is back on our screens tonight, with the doctor duo of Terry Dubrow and Paul Nassif ready to do incredible reconstructions on botched plastic surgeries. Grethe Kemp chats to Dr Dubrow about his work on the show.
Hi Dr Dubrow. Will you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into reconstructive surgery?
I grew up in a little apartment in Los Angeles with my mom and my older brother. He and I looked very similar but we couldn’t have been more different; I was into sports, maths and science, and he was into music. I became a plastic surgeon and he became an 80s rock star; he was the lead singer of Quiet Riot. I went to the medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and he went off to sell out stadiums. I lived in his guest house when I was a medical student and he would come home at 4am after partying, and I would get up and go to my surgery rotations. The reason I bring up my brother is that a weird part of my world was rock ’n’ roll and medicine at the same time. So it’s sort of not surprising that, even though I’m not an entertainer, I’m on a TV show regarding plastic surgery and it’s a cautionary tale of what can go wrong.
While at medical school, did you think you wanted to help people whose surgeries had been botched?
I thought I was going to become a heart surgeon. But at UCLA there was a professor named Dr Lesavoy who gave us the most amazing lecture on plastic surgery; it really showed the renaissance nature of the practice – how plastic surgeons do things from head to toe. As a second year med student, I immediately thought this was a fascinating area, so I started doing research with him and then became a board-certified plastic surgeon. At first, you don’t do cosmetic surgery because you’re not good enough yet. So you start out doing reconstructive surgery, which is really fun. And then you get good enough and people start letting you do cosmetic surgery, and I did that. But, in the middle of my career, I became very disillusioned because I felt that doing breast augmentations and liposuction was a waste of all those incredible skills I’d learnt. So I became a specialist in reconstructive surgery and that reinvigorated my career. I’ve had the most wonderful plastic surgery career a doctor ever got to have and I do the hardest cases in the world.
What is the most difficult case you’ve worked on?
It was in season one. A patient called Rajee Narinesingh had gone to one of those “pumping parties” where people put fillers in your face. A woman had brought industrial concrete and injected it into Rajee’s face. She developed terrible scar tumours all over her face. She’d gone to various plastic surgeons but it was deemed too dangerous to work on her. We initially turned her down but later I agreed to work on her and it’s been the most rewarding case. And for her it was completely life-changing; she went from being unable to walk down the street to getting her life back.
What would you say is the biggest mistake people make when they go for plastic surgery?
They go in with unrealistic expectations and push the doctor to do something he’s not necessarily comfortable with. And they go to unqualified practitioners. Make sure you go to someone who’s certified in plastic surgery, not just a general practitioner.
Do you have plans to come and promote Botched in South Africa?
*laughs* We would love to go to South Africa! All you have to do is get the South African consulate to invite E! Entertainment and we’ll be on the next plane over.
Catch Botched on Sunday, 25 June at 20:00 on E! Entertainment (DStv 124).