'If you want to keep looking young, there's nothing wrong with that': Dr Paul Nassif
With selfie dysmorphia and rhinoplasty on the rise, expertise in the field of plastic surgery is gaining importance. Maheshpreet Kaur Narula catches up with Dr Paul Nassif, an expert in nose jobs
"Plastic surgery is not shallow, I would not be doing it if it was," says Lebanese-American facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr Paul Nassif. As a specialist in rhinoplasty, otherwise known as nose jobs, his patients often come in for both cosmetic and reconstructive purposes to improve the aesthetics and functions of the nose. "Rhinoplasty is one of the hardest procedures in plastic surgery," says Dr Nassif, "It's very complex because small manoeuvres can cause devastating effects. And revision rhinoplasty can be even harder."
In his experience as a facial reconstruction surgeon, Dr Nassif deals with around 20 to 30 complicated cases a year. "The most difficult was not too long ago when I did the 18th rhinoplasty on someone. It was extremely difficult, but is now routine for me. Each case is different and has its own level of complexity."
When a patient has undergone rhinoplasty before, and it did not heal right, revision rhinoplasty is the way out. The procedure involves another nose job with extra cartilage usually taken from either the ear or the ribs to fix the tip and the bridge of the nose. Scarring can be another issue.
Dr Paul Nassif
People around the world now get to see his procedures on television as Dr Nassif and his colleague Dr Terry Dubrow star in their own show Botched by E! Entertainment. On its sixth season, the reality show televises how the two renowned doctors fix previously 'botched' cosmetic surgery. "We are doing the hardest cases in the world," says the 57-year-old plastic surgeon and audiences are, therefore, pulled in. "People are interested because it's a transformational and motivational story." From stories on previous procedures to correcting cosmetic mishaps, the recovery process and finally, the patient's reaction, viewers get to watch the entire process. "We are actually helping people and they love to see that. Viewers also love the crazy things patients do, whether they want to be a Ken doll look-alike, a Barbie doll, a Martian or an anime character."
However, there are occasions when people are turned away, like in the case of the 'Human Ken Doll.' "We reject patients all the time. I reject 10 per cent of my patients because they're not realistic or they're doing plastic surgery for the wrong reasons," says Dr Nassif. Sometimes the patients who come him - on Botched or in his practice - are just not emotionally or psychologically ready for such a big change. "To be a good surgeon, you have to reject patients you know are not the best candidates," he explains.
In a world where face filters on social media are a norm, patients have begun bringing in a selfie of themselves from Instagram or Snapchat to Dr Nassif. "This is selfie-dysmorphia and is a shift from when patients used to bring in photos of celebrities. They are bringing in a better version of themselves and it shows us, plastic surgeons, what the patient is really expecting. It's practical, reasonable and it helps us."
While lip fillers have been on the rise since Kylie Jenner rose to fame, face filters have also contributed to the rise of rhinoplasty. Many patients opt for rhinoplasty because the nose is the most prominent feature, being in the middle of our faces.
But, it's not all about cosmetic purposes, says Dr Nassif. His patients go to him for reconstructive surgery after a bad accident, too. And he helps restore their ability to breathe through their nose. Either way, neither cosmetic nor reconstructive plastic surgery should be considered superficial. "If you are getting older and you want to keep looking young, there's nothing wrong with that."
As a surgeon who practises what he preaches, Dr Nassif has gone under the knife. Just 16 months ago, he did a facelift where the underneath muscle layer was pulled up vertically for a more natural look. The doctor is no stranger to rhinoplasties, either, as he has undergone the procedure he performs in the operation theatre and on television thrice.
Dr Paul Nassif is now available for sessions here in Dubai. "Many patients in the UAE have rhinoplasty and a lot of them have over-aggressive rhinoplasty where they can't breathe and their nose becomes pinched, upturned and sloped." With many of his patients in Los Angeles having come from the UAE, the facial plastic and reconstruction surgeon recently joined The Beverly Hills Sunset Surgery Center in Valiant Clinic by Meraas at City Walk to make things easier for his patients. "Whether they are from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or even the UAE, I have an opportunity to take care of them here."