Warning: This video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.
Posing for his phone camera in scrubs and a facemask, plastic surgeon Matthew Schulman usually placates his 1 million-plus daily Snapchat followers in the morning with a little teaser: “Today we have an exciting tummy tuck and some liposuction, so stay tuned!” Schulman is a Manhattan-based doctor famous for filming his daily operations live on Snapchat. His handle is @nycplasticsurg.
Schulman recently let Motherboard into his operating room for an exclusive look at his process.
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With the consent of his patients, Dr. Schulman broadcasts some of the gory yet honest details of surgeries, using his Snapchat account to let followers watch him slice and dice inert, unconscious patients and pack their butts or breasts with silicone bags—or scrape out subcutaneous fat from their bellies. A nearby nurse uses a smartphone to carefully capture all the flaps of skin flopping around, while Schulman nonchalantly answers viewers questions. “It’s psychiatry with a knife,” Schulman said when we visited him. “That’s really what it is.”
The criticisms thrown his way by others in the field are many, the biggest being that his concentration is compromised when being filmed, but he’s unfazed by them.
Schulman further thinks that by broadcasting selected clips of his surgeries on Snapchat, he and his colleagues can help to demystify and destigmatize their process, and provide a more transparent view of the actual science, medicine, and hard work behind each operation. The idea is to give anyone from the family members of patients to complete outsiders a clearer picture of what goes on in the operating room.
He’s also aware of the business boost his Snapchat videos provide him. “I have no doubt that social media has increased the demand for plastic surgery,” he says. But he insists he does it primarily for education and fun.
All that Snapchat fame can be tiring, however. “I try to feed the machine,” Schulman told us. “But it’s hard sometimes.”
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