Why “plastic” surgery?
It derives from the Latin or Greek “to mould or form” and has been around for 2,000 years. There are Indian Sanskrit texts that refer to nose reconstruction using skin from the forehead, and more recently, huge advances were made in WW1 as surgeons dealt with wartime injuries. Today, most of the cosmetic techniques we use actually stem from work on cancer patients.
Do you need a steady hand?
Very much so. No coffee in the mornings and no heavy nights before surgery. What you’re doing might appear to be a simple procedure, but you could be millimetres from a major artery. That’s why our training takes so long – it can take up to 14 years.
How much does your life resemble Nip/Tuck? Do you drive a Ferrari, play golf, have a fish tank in the office and work with a babe psychiatrist?
I don’t drive a Ferrari, I play golf twice a year, there is a fish tank and while the psychiatrists are very helpful to us the babes are sadly few and far between. My friends do reckon I’m a bit more exciting as a result though, so that’s something.
What jobs are the hardest?
Anything that involves tissue transfer: moving skin, muscle or bone from one part of the body to another. That’s not what you would call cosmetic surgery, of course – it’s usually working with burn or cancer patients. Those kinds of operations can take up to 12 hours and we’d be working in teams and taking on a few hours each. It’s exhausting.
Do any ops still turn your stomach?
There’s something about deliberately breaking a perfectly healthy nose that still causes you to pause; it’s an unpleasant sensation. There are sounds that make you squirm and some procedures do too – like with burns victims, where you literally shave off dead skin with a steel blade.
What are the most common jobs?
It’s actually the removal of moles, but in terms of larger operations then it’s undoubtedly breasts – enlargement and reduction.
And what are the dangers?
Unsightly scars… risks connected to anaesthesia… infections… bleeding… plus, of course, unfavourable results. You only have to look at media horror stories to see what can happen with techniques such as breast enlargement or reduction. With cosmetic surgery, the work is being done at that person’s choice and not for medical reasons, so you really have to ask if it’s worth it. It’s very rare, but you can die as a result of cosmetic surgery.
In ten years’ time will half of the UK’s boobs be leaking silicon?
As far as we know, silicon is safe. But you are putting something alien into the human body, so there are risks of infection and also of capsules forming around the implant that can distort its shape and lead to extreme discomfort. Leaking is unlikely, but not technically impossible.
Are there any genuine alternatives to plastic surgery?
Plenty. Botox, collagen fillers to fill in facial wrinkles, laser techniques and chemical face peels – these are all non-surgical procedures.
We’ve got £200k. Can we turn grandma into Jessica Alba?
No. Remember, plastic surgery is not without scars, and post-surgery these scars have to be incorporated into the patient’s appearance. Because of the media, people have had their beliefs in what is achievable raised too high. No matter how much money you spend, plastic surgery isn’t magic.
How minging do you have to be to have surgery on the NHS?
It’s not purely a physical thing – there’s also a psychological evaluation. It would be a decision for the consultant, but it would also be affected by the local health authority policy. If a young FHM reader had, say, a very large nose that was causing him distress and problems in his life then it could potentially be looked at within the NHS for free.
Could you give us a nice set of man norks?
Hmm. We’d certainly discuss it with you, but ultimately something like that would be viewed as not appropriate: that surgery would not be the answer to whatever’s going on in your head. I’m sorry.
Bugger! Can you spot fake jugs a mile off?
I’d have a decent stab from perhaps ten yards. If you know what you’re looking for, it’s also usually possible to spot a facelift – there will be a scar extending from in front of and under the ear and round into the hairline.
Can’t you meet a girl without thinking, “You need this, this and this?”
Quite the opposite – I think this job makes you appreciate natural beauty more. I spend my days seeing people alter their image, and seek a kind of “universal” look. I think it’s a shame.
How many knockers have you re-shaped over the years?
Hundreds. We do them on a weekly if not daily basis. There’s actually more variation in breast operations than you may think, and there’s a certain amount of skill in producing a result which looks acceptable.
What do you think of Jordan’s tits?
They’re a bit on the large side, but I think she’s fully aware of that. She’s certainly got her money’s worth.
You work in Scotland. Who, generally, needs more work: the Scots or the English?
Are you trying to get me the sack? Having worked on both, I can tell you very definitely and diplomatically that it’s an equal split.
Liar! Ever carved out a new face for a drug dealer?
Haven’t had the pleasure. But to be honest, they’d struggle to alter their appearance completely. You could have your nose, ears, wrinkles, and facial fat worked on but the underlying appearance of a face is based on your bones and muscles. Put it this way, his friends and family would still recognise him.
How much would it cost to get the old cock, ahem, “reduced” a few inches?
Ha ha! Penis extensions are something I’ve read about but never worked on. I think it’d be very rare for a man to risk a disappointing result in such a vital area. The only time I tend to deal in that zone is on gender swap operations.
So patients come in as men and leave as sexy ladies?
No, because by the time they reach the genital surgery they are usually quite far down the road. If they’re going from male to female, for example, they’ll almost certainly already have breasts through hormone treatment. We would be adding the final touches, if you like.
Do women ever ask for a fanny-tidy?
It’s performed here on a far more limited basis than in America. The main cosmetic operation centring on that area is the reduction of the anatomical elements that the patient may feel is too large, usually the labia. It is underpinned by an aesthetic aim but there are also psychological issues there. Talk of a tightening operation is, I believe, an urban myth.
What’s the future of plastic surgery?
Well, the popular conception is that people will soon be able to have entire face transplants – and that’s certainly what some research is working towards – but I’d suggest we’re a long way away from that. Hand transplants have been achieved, though, so it’s not impossible.
Finally, ever been asked to sew a fair maiden’s hymen back in?
I’ve heard about the operation being conducted, but I’ve never encountered it. It would be relatively tricky, but certainly not impossible.
Original interview by Neil Forsyth in the February 2006 issue of FHM UK magazine