This post originally appeared on VICE Canada.
According to Kylie Jenner, 2016 was the year of realizing things. I couldn't agree more. It was the year many of us found ourselves comparing our lives to the lavish lifestyles of Instagram models and social media stars. We realized we often came up short when it came to owning Range Rovers, wearing a college tuition's worth of Cartier bracelets on one hand, and splurging on regular lip injections and invasive cosmetic surgeries. Often finding myself thrown into a chaotic tornado of strange and luxurious beauty regimes, I can safely say that there were moments in 2016 where I didn't feel like I measured up to those infamous beauty gurus on social media. And like thousands of other young women, I deliberated getting a little work done myself. I didn't end up going through with it because of all of the horror stories of botched surgeries.
According to SELF magazine, lip augmentation procedures have increased by 43 percent since 2000. In 2015 alone, a lip procedure was performed every 20 minutes.
To investigate the increase in popularity of plastic surgery, I sat down with the Dr. Six of plastic surgery himself—Dr. Martin Jugenburg of the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute. He's been featured on the celeb gossip show etalk, and RateMD considers him to be one of the top plastic surgeons in Toronto, so I figured this guy just had to know it all.
VICE: Ever see someone so unattractive you thought you couldn't fix them?
Dr. Jugenburg: No, honestly, that's an idea created by reality TV shows, and they are intended to shock, and they aren't real.
Do you rate people in your head as you are walking down the street?
No, I don't rate people as I walk down the street. Because of my job, yes, I subconsciously see what individuals could get done, but it's not at the forefront of my mind.
What are the biggest boobs you've ever put in a person?
Huge. Huge. 800cc's, and I have injected more saline into them. FYI 800cc is considered extra large for implants, so these really are gigantic.
Do you have a lot of young women coming in trying to look like models and celebrities on social media?
So let me start off with the Kardashians. I think they're an amazing family, and I'm always so naturally amazed at how they transform their bodies through natural contouring. So yeah, we talk about the Kardashians a lot. I address on my Snapchat this habit of unrealistic expectations that people like the Kardashians set up. But not only them, you see all of these models on Instagram, all of these people who put up pictures where sometimes I have little rants about how this is not realistic, you don't know if this is lighting, if this is a pose, or if it's photoshop.
I think social media can have a negative effect, and that is what I deal with every day. I am trying to educate people that this is not normal and that is why I Snapchat. I show what is real, what is normal, and what is not normal. I think it allows for patients to see the procedure for what it is. If they haven't seen my work yet, I tell them to look me up on social media so that they can get an understanding of what work I am able to do. So, I love the Kardashians. Kim Kardashian, I'm sending you a message, thank you for all the Brazilian butt lifts that you are sending to me! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! But, on the other hand, I spend a lot of time explaining to people what I can and cannot do, what a Brazilian butt lift on their body will look like because it won't look exactly the same as Kim Kardashian. But still Kim, thank you very much. Kim is my best friend. She refers all of my patients!
You use Snapchat quite frequently. Do you think this aspect of using social media to record procedures helps keep all of these surgeries real for patients?
I think it allows for patients to see the procedure for what it is. If they haven't seen my work yet, I tell them to look me up on social media so that they can get an understanding of what work I am able to do.
Aren't you giving in if you get plastic surgery to impress other people?
You are not giving in, that's ridiculous. Plastic surgery is corrective surgery. Kids have otoplasty, and in my opinion, why should a child go through three years of school and high school being bullied because of their ears and learn to accept their body when they can go ahead and complete the simple procedure of otoplasty and walk out of here and never have to deal with bullying. I'd like those people who say that it's giving in to go through three years of bullying, to learn to accept their body, and go to a psychologist an hour a week, every week to come to terms with it. Why go through that when you can do a simple procedure like otoplasty that can take it away?
What does beauty look like, according to a plastic surgeon?
The ideal of beauty was set by the Greek statues like Venus, and it's all about proportions. Beauty today is distorted, in my opinion. There's something called the Golden Ratio, and that is the mathematical equation of beauty—how things considered beautiful fit into certain patterns. That being said, today, it is so different. Things you see on Instagram, the Kardashians, Nicki Minaj, they do not fit into the Golden Ratio. The scary thing for people like me is how do people consider people like them beautiful? Like no, this is disproportional. When you become disproportionate, it becomes grotesque. But grotesque is now considered normal. Beauty is what you see around yourself. Because of all of these famous people who are showing off, people think of that as normal. I had a patient come in a while back and she say, "I want you to do a natural breast augmentation on me," and then she pulls out a picture of Victoria Beckham. Have you seen Victoria Beckham's breasts? They are not natural. I've learned now to, when people say they want natural augmentations, to always ask for examples of what "natural" means to them.
What about opting for cheaper cosmetic surgeries down in places Mexico City?
If you look for cheap plastic surgery, you will get cheap plastic surgery. It's as simple as that. The issue with medical tourism is not that there are bad doctors out there; there are doctors all around the world. I cannot say that the only great plastic surgeons live in Canada. That's ridiculous. There are great doctors in Brazil, China, Germany, wherever. The issue is with you going to the unknown, you don't know how things are happening there, so when you go to a place like the Caribbean, you take certain things for granted that you assume are normal in Canada that actually aren't.
The standards of care that we have to live up to in Canada are not the same amongst provinces, between Canada and the states, and between Canada and the Caribbean. So you go there and you see a doctor, a medical office, you think everything is fine, but maybe it's not. Let's say you found someone in the Caribbean, and something goes wrong, you get rushed to the local hospital. Do you really want to be in one of the local hospitals there as compared to here? If you need touch-ups here when you come back, now you're stuck because surgeons here will not be looking after you. They will send you back to the original surgeon. So all of the money you've tried to save will be spent traveling in and out to get it fixed.
I saw a patient who had a breast augmentation done in Ukraine, and the doctor injected some foreign substance into her breasts, which I ultimately had to amputate. This would be illegal in Canada. This was a fully certified doctor in another country where this procedure was normal and acceptable. There's also the medical-legal aspect that's awkward to talk about. You have Big Brother looking over your shoulder here, you have to make sure that everything is good. When you don't have that in a foreign country, they don't really care. If something goes wrong, the doctors don't worry about flying back to fix it. They don't worry about medical malpractice suits.
As a doctor, you're faced with telling a patient about their flaws, and then you give them this promise and treatment to rebuild them as this beautiful person. So do you think that-
I'll stop you right there. No. So when people come to me, they come with issues. I don't tell them what's wrong with them and if they ask me, "What else can I do?" My answer is, "I can do a million things, but what bothers you?" Cause I can tell you to do a million different things, but I'm not going to tell you that; I'm not here to make you into what I think is beautiful. I am here to help you correct what bothers you. So no, maybe other people do that, but I never tell people what is beautiful and what is not. I have a lot of breast augmentations, and patients ask me what a good size is, if they should go bigger or smaller, do you like this? I tell them that it doesn't matter what I like. You are the one looking in the mirror, you have to be happy, so choose what you like.
Do the people coming here expect to get "fixed" because they feel bad about themselves? Is it a self-esteem issue?
We don't talk about self-esteem a lot because I don't think that most of my patients have self-esteem issues. I don't really have people coming in and saying, "Hey, listen, I feel bad about myself. I'm depressed. I want to feel better." On the rare occasion that I do get patients like that, I educate them and say, "Listen, I'm changing your body, but I'm not changing your mind. So understand that if you have psychological issues, I'm the wrong doctor. I'm not a psychological surgeon. I'm going to fix visible things, but I'm not changing how your perceive yourself."
Follow Dr. Jugenberg's NSFW Snapchat @realdrsix.
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