Watching events unfold live is nothing new to most people, and even watching surgery is becoming more common place. Is there something unsettling about watching cosmetic surgery live?
Even if the answer is, ‘Yes,’ that’s not stopping a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston. Dr. Wilberto Cortes is giving the world a front row seat to plastic surgery and in the process his popularity with patients is growing. Do his colleagues consider this wise?
Live Streamed Surgery – ‘It’s Educational And Informative’
His faithful followers know him as “Dr. Hourglass”, and they loyally tune in to catch new a new YouTube post almost every day, where his segments have catchy names like “Bootyman”, “Star Bodies,” and “Wonder Breasts.” All of it is the work of Dr. Wilberto Cortes, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas, who shapes and sculpts his patients and posts a lot of his work live to social media.
In an interview, Dr. Cortes said that he finds the live surgery to be very educational and informative for the public. He will often periscope, go live to Facebook, or post to Snapchat from the operating room to showcase a breast augmentation, butt lift or tummy tuck procedure.
His colleagues may not always agree with such an approach. “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should all the time,” says Dr. Shaun Parson, a board certified plastic surgeon in Arizona. Parson says education should never be over the top or shocking to the senses. “I think that it’s great to inform the public and I think we have a responsibility to inform the public, but I don’t think we have to do it through the wow factor every time. ”
The World Is Watching
With just a few clicks, a surgeon – any surgeon – can reach a worldwide audience. Cortes is finding those viewers interested in seeing live plastic surgery. One video received more than a million views on YouTube. It has been reported that Cortes is drawing patients from overseas, and he tells local media that he is booked solid for a year. Patients who appear in the videos are, of course, required to supply consent. Cortes indicates that some patients may gain confidence by watching the videos and seeing others undergo procedures they are interested in pursuing.
Keeping It Discreet
Surgery is surgery and will be graphic, but Cortes says he downplays the raw side of what he’s doing by covering the sensitive parts of the body that may show during the operation. For instance, he will cover the nipples during a breast augmentation. Facebook and other social media have certain rules that must be followed. Still, it’s a surgery unfolding, live online for anyone to tune in and watch.
Other surgeons fear it downplays the seriousness of surgery. “It sort of minimizes the procedure and the risk,” says Dr. Ned Snyder, a board certified plastic surgeon in Austin. Snyder thinks it could be beneficial to the public to see a surgery, but is concerned about backlash if something goes wrong. “The risks are low that something will go wrong, but if something were to happen, it could generate anxiety for family members who are watching that operation while it’s taking place.”
Experts say live cosmetic surgery may stick around (we know social media isn’t going anywhere) so look for a surgeon who can deliver the now, along with the wow.