At Dr. Michael Salzhauer’s Miami plastic surgery office (located just 30 minutes north of South Beach), 2 out of 3 patients agree to appear on camera, and most of them are there in the first place because they follow his Snapchat, where he’s known as @therealdrmiami—his bloody, fat-filled surgery snaps have reached nearly 2 million views each. Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, and Racked (written by the lovely Cheryl Wischhover) have all covered his rise to fame, and he was recently nominated for the Shorty Award for Snapchatter of the Year, alongside Kylie Jenner and DJ Khaled (DJ Khaled won).
It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely star than an Orthodox Jewish father of five from Florida, but his geeky-dad persona sort of works; it doesn’t hurt that he’s showing people something they’ve never seen before—live, brutally honest snaps of some pretty gnarly surgeries set to serious beats (his “Ran off da Plug Twice” dance, set to Plies’ Ritz Carlton, has 54 million views on YouTube).
“He likes to be the showman,” Dr. Miami’s wife Eva told BuzzFeed. Clearly: anyone willing to dance to rap while holding someone else’s stomach skin is willing to go out on a limb for a like.
And it makes sense. To him, this is work—it’s like an athlete snapping practice or a makeup artist snapping a great contour. He told Vanity Fair, “People have never seen these surgeries before. I remember the first time I saw one, I was mesmerized. [Some people tell me] they get a little high from it. There’s actual joy from watching people getting manipulated. Some people like that feeling of getting grossed out and losing control, too.”
In past quests for stardom, that element of losing control always trumped any real value. He published My Beautiful Mommy in 2008, the first-ever book about plastic surgery written for children (according to Amazon, it’s “frequently bought together” with The Night Dad Went To Jail and My Parents Open Carry) and made a music video in 2012 called “Jewcan Sam (A Nose Job Love Song)”—it was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League and raised the ire of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Is filming legal? Yes, actually. The American Medical Association advises that filming an operation should only happen when patients or surrogates explicitly agree (clearly not a problem here). Will these guidelines change? Yes, and in fact the ASPS told Cheryl Wischhover of Racked that they’re drafting new guidelines right now.
Dr. Sejal Patel, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who also snaps his snips, has a great point: “Any doctor who’s willing to show you the entire fricking surgery is pretty proud of what they’re doing in the OR. Wouldn’t you want to watch that?”
But according to Dr. Miami, “anyone who can change a tire can change an implant.”
Image: We Are Mel, Jared Ryder
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