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Heidi Montag Plastic Surgery Debacle Revisited After Surgeon’s Death

Reality TV star Heidi Montag’s over-the-top plastic surgery has been making headlines for years, and after the recent and untimely death of her infamous plastic surgeon, Dr. Frank Ryan, the beauty magazines and gossip columns are back on the beat, scrutinizing Montag’s ten-procedure binge and the judgment of Dr. Ryan.

The most widely criticized aspect of the surgical makeover Dr. Ryan performed on Montag wasn’t the pair of nose jobs, liposuction or mini brow lift he performed on the young woman (Montag was only 23 at the time of her 10 cosmetic surgery operations), but rather the gigantic G-cup breast implants he added to her already surgically-enhanced breasts.

Heidi Montag has publicly denounced her obsession with plastic surgery and cartoonish new breasts since undergoing surgery for multiple cosmetic procedures for a second time in November 2009, however prior to 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 operate on Montag, others feel it was unethical, given the Hills star’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 and depression is largely dependent on patient selection.

“Young augmentation patients can be a problem, but not always. Also, anyone who seems to have some type of personality disorder or is very narcisstic, I avoid,” says New York City breast augmentation specialist Dr. Tracy Pfeifer.

Many surgeons such as Dr. Pfeifer take the opposite approach of Dr. Ryan, refusing to disregard ethical and aesthetic principles for the sake of generating sensational gossip-blog publicity.

Dr. Pfeifer says that in her Manhattan practice, she steers clear of 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.

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