After celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan was in a deadly car crash last August, scrutiny of his controversial and widely publicized cosmetic surgery work on reality TV star Heidi Montag has re-ignited all over popular media.
The most widely criticized aspect of the 10-procedure surgical makeover Dr. Ryan performed on Montag wasn’t the pair of nose jobs, liposuction or mini brow lift the then-23-year-old had done, but rather the gigantic G-cup breast implants Dr. Ryan gave her after surgically-enhancing her breasts for the first time about two years prior.
Heidi Montag has publicly denounced her obsession with plastic surgery and cartoonish new breasts since undergoing multiple plastic surgery procedures for the second time in November 2009, however before his death Dr. Frank Ryan expressed shock and surprise that Montag was experiencing buyer’s remorse.
“When I asked him how he could have been so foolish as to operate on someone like [Montag], he mentioned he was completely taken aback when she went public in such a negative fashion,” a source close to Dr. Ryan told Joan Kron in the December 2010 issue of Allure.
Dr. Steven Hoefflin, another colleague and friend of Dr. Ryan’s, said of the situation, “Frank said he had expected Heidi Montag would get publicity, but he was surprised at the tone and concerned about his reputation.”
While some surgeons defend Frank Ryan’s decision to perform the breast implant revision surgery and more on Montag, others feel it was unethical, especially given Montag’s notorious attention-seeking behavior and outlandish cosmetic goals.
“At best, 700-cc implants will distort a patient’s breasts, and at worst, they will maim them,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Teitelbaum. “Not only did Frank probably harm Heidi Montag; he harmed the specialty of plastic surgery by perpetuating the stereotype that plastic surgeons are irresponsible and plastic-surgery patients are frivolous.”
Most reputable plastic surgeons agree that ensuring good plastic surgery outcomes and avoiding post-procedure regret is largely dependent on patient selection.
Many surgeons like Dr. Pfeifer take the stance that maintaining ethical standards and patient safety should be the first priority for plastic surgeons.
In her Manhattan practice, Dr. Pfeifer says she feels it is irresponsible to accept patients who don’t trust her professional opinion, refuse to accept potential risks or set unrealistic expectations of what they can accomplish with cosmetic plastic surgery.
“I will not operate on them. If someone wants something that in my opinion is too much, like overly large implants, I will not perform the surgery,” says Dr. Pfeifer.