Today, the plastic surgery industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry that continues to rise in popularity. For some people, having these plastic surgery procedures becomes an addiction: consider Michael Jackson (MJ) and Joan Rivers. It is easy to see why facial plastic surgery procedures can become addictive, especially for someone like Joan Rivers, who was trying desperately to address the signs of aging and for MJ, who was trying to eliminate the issue (i.e., big nose) that his father tormented him about throughout his adolescence.
This article was updated by Trina McMillin.
Plastic Surgery, In the Beginning…
The Ancient Egyptians oldest medical records show that surgical procedures were being performed from 3,000 to 2,500 B.C., long before the birth of Christ. By the time 800 B.C. rolled around, reconstructive techniques were starting to evolve in India.
In the Western world, the first major plastic surgery procedure was performed in 1815 A.D. by an English surgeon named Joseph Constantine Carpue. The plastic surgery procedure he performed was nose surgery (aka rhinoplasty). He used a technique that had been created in India.
Walter Yeo – Sir Harold Gillies’ First Modern Plastic Surgery Patient
Today, we can thank Sir Harold Gillies for creating plastic surgery techniques that provide patients with remarkable results. Sir Gillies was an otolaryngologist in New Zealand who treated WWI soldiers suffering with injuries to the face.
Walter Yeo was a sailor who suffered a very unfortunate facial injury while he manned the guns on the HMS Warspite (a battleship of the Royal Navy) during WWI, at the Battle of Jutland. Yeo’s facial injury was the loss of both of his upper and lower eyelids, an injury that held very little hope for a solution, however, a year after his injury, Sir Harold Gillies came up with a pioneering solution. Sir Gillies successfully performed flap surgery on Yeo to address these injuries. While the procedure was successful, by today’s standards, this solution would be considered ghastly. However, as the years passed, Sir Gillies continued developing plastic surgery techniques, which is why he is now referred to as ‘the Father of Plastic Surgery.
The Plastic Surgery Industry Does Have a Dark Side
Although plastic surgery is required when addressing certain issues (e.g., breast reconstruction following a mastectomy), this industry does have a dark side. Individuals who have self-dysmorphia are especially at risk of falling prey to the dark side of the plastic surgery industry. Below are five of the most bizarre plastic surgery procedures and requests of all time.
5 of the Strangest Plastic Surgery Procedures and Patient Requests of All Time
People choose to have plastic surgery for a variety of reasons, to enhance their physical features or facial appearance, to address the signs of aging, to reconstruct an area that has been injured or affected by a disease, or to express themselves through unique facial and physical changes. Some of these people ask for surgery that will set them apart from the rest of the human race. Although these bizarre plastic surgery requests are legal, there are many who consider them to be taboo.
#1 It’s a Bird…No, Wait, It’s a Plane…Nope, It’s Herbert Chavez, aka Superman!
Herbert Chavez has been working towards looking like his idol for two decades! His obsession with Superman began when he was just 5 years old. In his attempt to resemble Superman, Chavez has had 26 plastic surgeries. In addition to skin whitening procedures, Chavez has had jaw realignment surgery, rhinoplasty procedures, liposuction of his lips as well as abdominal and pectoral implants. These implants provide him with the strong-looking abs and chest necessary to mimic this iconic superhero. Truth be told, Chavez does closely resemble Superman.
Chavez has no problem wearing his full Superman attire as he moves through his daily life. His goal is not only to put a smile on the faces of the children he meets, but also to help teach them about the importance of having good morals. Now that he is famous, when he heads out into the streets of his hometown of Calamba City, which is located in the Philippines, people ask for a photo and his autograph.
There are certain features that require Chavez to undergo maintenance procedures to ensure his precisely tailored Superman look remains fresh and accurate to the character. For example, in order to keep his cleft chin in balance, he must continue getting more hydrogel added to his face.
Chavez has no intention of discontinuing these procedures at any time in the near future; in fact, he wants to have a special surgery in Japan where metal implants are inserted into the legs to lengthen them. These implants would allow him to be the same height as his favorite superhero. Chavez told the surgeons from the television show ‘Botched’ that he would like to be known as the “Man of Plastic.”
#2 Vinny Ohh
Vinny is a 25-year-old model and makeup artist who has decided that he wants to be a sexless alien. To accomplish this, he is requesting that his genitals be removed. According to Ohh, the sexual objectification in Los Angeles, which is where he has lived since he was a child, contributed to his desire to resemble an alien. He says that when he thinks of an alien, he thinks ugly and genderless.
The plastic surgeons that he has visited are reluctant to perform this procedure because they say that Ohh will probably have complications following the surgery. Even so, Ohh remains adamant, continuing with his quest to become sexless. He states that he just wants to have a hole to “pee out of.” So far, to accomplish the look he currently has, Ohh has had three surgeries and 110 cosmetic procedures.
#3 Erik Sprague: The Lizardman
You may have seen Erik Sprague on a television show or in a magazine. What makes him unique is the lengths he has gone to in an attempt to resemble a lizard. Sprague has radically transformed his body to attain lizard-like features. To transform himself, he has had his tongue cut from its front to the center (so it is split like a reptile’s tongue would be – ouch!), he is covered with tattoos that resemble green scales, has had transdermal implants placed (these are implants that are placed directly beneath the skin) and tattooed his lips so they appear green. He also had his teeth shaved in such a way so they appear to be pointed.
Although there have been rumors that Sprague wanted to have a tail transplant, he says that this is not true because there is no way to accomplish it, but he does plan to continue transforming himself.
Below is a photo of a freak show from September of 1941 (Rutland Fair in Rutland, Vermont).
#4 Pixee Fox is a Model Who is Referred to as ‘The Living Cartoon’
Pixee Fox longed to have the tiny waist that Jessica Rabbit had in the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
So, to attain this amazingly tiny waist, she had six of her ribs removed.
While appearing on a program called “Plastic and Proud,” Fox stated that she is her ‘own work of art.’ Although she did not name every procedure she has ever had, she did name quite a few, including:
- Four rhinoplasty procedures (aka nose surgery).
- Four breast augmentations (aka breast implant surgery).
- Liposuction, which can be used for contouring purposes and/or to remove excess fat.
- Jaw reconstruction.
- Ear surgery to have her ears appear more elfish.
#5 The Cat Woman: Jocelyn Wildenstein
Jocelyn Wildenstein, who is also referred to as The Cat Woman, The Bride of Wildenstein, The Lion Queen, Fierce Legend and The Tiger Icon, is known for her obsession with having plastic surgery on her face. She is the ex-wife of Alec Wildenstein, a billionaire art dealer, businessman, racehorse owner and breeder.
In an article for Vanity Fair that was published in 1998, Alec described the frequency of Jocelyn’s plastic surgeries, stating that “She was thinking that she could fix her face like a piece of furniture, skin does not work that way. But she would not listen.”
Rumor has it that Jocelyn has spent more than $2 million on plastic surgery procedures. Some believe that Jocelyn was intentionally making herself resemble a cat because of her husband’s love of these beautiful creatures: Alec owned several large cats and she desired to have the same attention that he afforded to them.
The Wildenstein Divorce: The Claws Came Out
After being married for 21 years, (from 1978 to 1999), Jocelyn came home to find Alec in bed with a 19-year-old Russian model. Alec threatened Jocelyn with a gun, which led to him spending the night in jail.
The Wildenstein’s divorce was hardly amicable and, during the divorce proceedings, the judge (Marilyn Diamond) was even receiving death threats in the mail. Once all was said and done, Jocelyn was awarded $2.5 billion and $100 million a year for alimony. Her alimony would continue for 13 years. Judge Diamond forbade Jocelyn from using any of the alimony payments to have plastic surgery procedures. After the divorce was final, Jocelyn sold the family home in New York City for $13 million.
When Alec passed away in 2008, he left behind an enormous estate. Portions of which included a variety of large cats.
While you would think all that money Jocelyn Wildenstein received following her divorce and the enormous alimony payments she was given for 13 years thereafter would last a lifetime, for Jocelyn, it did not. She had to file bankruptcy in 2018.
Although these plastic surgery procedures seem bizarre to many of us, making these changes are normal to those who are choosing to have them. Whether these changes are due to body dysmorphic disorder (as with MJ’s nose), as a way to seek attention from a spouse (like Jocelyn) or in an attempt to halt the aging process (as with Joan Rivers), these people do not care what others say about the numerous plastic surgeries they have because each of them is trying to make himself or herself happier.
For some, these physical and facial transformations will continue until either every plastic surgeon turns the individual away (as with Vinny Ohh) or until he or she passes on.
What Do You Think?
Should a limit be placed on the number of plastic surgeries an individual can have for transformation purposes? If so, who would place this limit and then enforce it?
Should people just have the option of having as many plastic surgeries as they desire? If so, why?