From Sunday, 20 June on E! Entertainment (DStv channel 124) at 20:00
From Sunday, 20 June on E! Entertainment (DStv channel 124) at 20:00

Dr. Terry Dubrow examines Botched S7 on DStv

“Fabs”, Zoom surgeries, pandemic problems and more – Dr. Terry Dubrow tells all about the new Botched S7 on E! (DStv channel 124)

Aesthetic and reconstructive surgery reality show Botched is back for a 7th season, and surgery BFFs Dr. Terry Dubrow and Dr. Paul Nassif have a flood of new cases on their hands, and a little bit of “don’t Panic, Pandemic” chaos behind the scenes.

“We started season 7 about 2 months before the pandemic. The pandemic made the season very long, very difficult. And it was the most challenging season by far because of it. We were getting into the swing when the pandemic hit. So we paused production for a couple of months,” reveals Terry. “Once we got the green light, we did basically most of it. It dramatically affected us in 2 ways: Number 1, we had to do different protocols, obviously, to be safe. The good news is that as doctors and surgeons, we're very comfortable using personal protective equipment. And 2, a lot of the patients who had active complications that we had chosen for season 7 had to wait. So by the time we got to them, the complications were much worse, and it was much more difficult. So it was really challenging.”

But as always, there was plenty to capture Dr. Dubrow’s interest and imagination.

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Inside Botched S7 with Terry Dubrow

What do the cases this season have in common?

Dr. Dubrow: This season, we try to really build globally around the body, with people who have different kinds of problems. This season is unique because as opposed to just doing noses and butts and breasts, we had for example, a woman who was born with a tumour on her foot, had to have it removed and that left her with a big, giant hole as a baby. Surgeons had to take a portion of her back and put it on her foot to cover the hole, and then as she grew, the flap – the tissue on her back – grew much more. She couldn’t run, she couldn't walk. And then we saw a guy who was born with a nasal deformity, we think because his mom's IUD smashed his nose as he was born. And so he had a huge nasal flap thing because of that. So this is a season of the usual extreme cosmetic surgery complications, combined with all different types of body parts that have gone very wrong due to cosmetic and plastic surgery reconstruction efforts all over.

Which patient from this season challenged you to get really inventive?

Dr. Dubrow: I have a 22-year-old guy, the left side of his abdomen, basically a shark bit it. It took the whole side off, it looks like. So he comes in with nothing on his left side. So he's this young, healthy, good-looking guy with no left side of his trunk. I had to figure out a way to give him the left side of his abdomen. I invented a procedure where I use the local tissue, rotated it in, took a piece of mesh and put it in there to reinforce it. And it's one of the most interesting cases I've ever done. It was based on a procedure that I’ve done where someone has butt implants that are a disaster. You take them out, and you can rotate down their back tissue and use their own fat to implant and put it in the buttock implant pocket. So I used that invented procedure in other parts of the body this season.

How do you prepare for a surgery that’s never been done before? 

Dr. Dubrow: I have this process. I examine them initially, and then I take pictures. And then I basically use the fundamental principles of plastic surgery that will serve these basic tenets, basic fundamentals that we always use for all surgeries, based on blood supply, based on tissue anatomy. And then I think about it. I literally sleep on it, sometimes for 3 months. And then I bring them back in, and a light bulb will often go off and I will re-examine them. And then I will sort of just use 3-dimensional visualisation (in his imagination). Computers don't really help you because it's really all about the tissue quality, the amount of blood supply, the thickness. And you always have to make sure that you possibly can, to rotate in tissue that's exactly like the tissue that's missing, to match all the layers. So it's really a process of visualisation.

With so many of us spending hours staring at our own faces on Zoom, is this affecting the type of surgeries that people are coming to you for?

Dr. Dubrow: Because the pandemic now is, at least in this country, starting to change, the country's opening up. We're not wearing masks as much. So there's a giant demand, a pent-up demand for plastic surgery. And people have been staring at their Zoom faces now for 14 months, so it has exploded because all these people are seeing what they look like on Zoom. They’re gained weight, they're going back to work or they’re dating. And the big concern right now is there's new procedures in plastic surgery, like strings to lift up the face, like new energy devices to put under the skin to tighten the skin, fat transfers all over the body. They're not really tested. They haven't been around a long period of time. So that new pent-up demand is meeting these new procedures. And it's really kind of a very dangerous situation because doctors are using new techniques on tons of patients that haven't been tested very well.

1 of the procedures we see this season is abdominal etching to create what one patient calls “fabs” – abs made from fat…

Dr. Dubrow: There are very few people who are actually good candidates for abdominal etching and making abs out of fat, so I don't like that operation. I know it can be popular in certain parts of the world and even here. But if that doesn't come out right. It's a really tough 1. Abdominal etching is when you make abdominal muscles out of fat. In other words, they don't have the muscles but they show muscles, just by carving out the fat. First of all, it looks very weird on someone who's a little overweight. They're chubby, with abdominal muscles made out of fat, it looks very bizarre. Have you seen those Halloween muscle costumes? When people put on a costume and they look like they have abs but they're still very big, it looks really weird. Similarly, if that doesn't work, if it goes wrong, that is very hard to fix. So I would caution people about doing abdominal etching and making muscles out of fat. The best way to do it is just the old-fashioned way – diet and exercise.

Will you or Paul be having procedures done on yourselves this season?

Dr. Dubrow: 1 of the things that characterizes this season is that Paul had a lot of plastic surgery. He had a facelift last season, he does stuff to his tummy… I think he has a brand-new baby, he's got a young new wife. And he's holding on for dear life, to the way he looks, and he wants to maintain his youthfulness. So Paul is having an extraordinary amount of procedures. Basically, he's aging in reverse like Benjamin Button, except he doesn't look anything like Brad Pitt. (all said tongue-in-cheek and with considerable teasing enjoyment on Dr. Dubrow’s part).

1 of the episode titles this season is “I was dumped because of my plastic surgery”. Is that something you see happen a lot?

Dr. Dubrow: We do see that this season! It’s funny sometimes people get plastic surgery, not so much for themselves, but for what their significant other wants. They have the plastic surgery, not something themselves, but for someone else. Then they have a complication that makes it look worse. So the person that they had the surgery for dumps them. That is a disaster. That's why you never, ever, have plastic surgery to satisfy someone else's goals. You only have plastic surgery if you're a good candidate for it, if it’s safe, if you have a good surgeon, and it's for you.

Watch Botched S7 from Sunday, 20 June on E! Entertainment (DStv channel 124) at 20:00

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