Plastic surgery isn’t what is portrayed in the movies and on television. Drugs are not smuggled in breast implants, plastic surgeons are not surgically disguising criminals. The “reality” of TV shows like The Swan and Extreme Makeover is that it is never the goal of plastic surgeons to make a patient virtually unrecognizable to their own friends and family after a series of surgeries.
There is a lot of mystique surrounding plastic surgery and I guess it makes for good film and TV. A google search on the topic interestingly reveals that movies and TV shows about plastic surgery themes is not new dating back to 1928.
The Broken Mask (1928) – silent, black and white. A plastic surgeon corrects a man’s scarred face, then destroys it out of jealousy.
Black Dragons (1942) – Black and white war drama. Japanese plastic surgeon operates on Japanese agents to make them pass as American.
Dark Passage (1947) – Humphrey Bogart plays a convict who is framed for the murder of his wife. He has plastic surgery to find the real killer.
The Girl Most Likely to… (1973) – A girl becomes much prettier after plastic surgery following a car crash. She exacts revenge on previous high-school tormentors.
A Stolen Face (1952) – A plastic surgeon transforms a female convict to look like a beautiful pianist he is in love with.
Rabid (1977) – Horror about a woman who has a new plastic surgery procedure after a motorcycle accident. She develops an unusual deadly lesion in her armpit and taste for human blood.
Doc Hollywood (1991) – Michael J. Fox plays a hot-shot Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.
Breast Men (1997) – Fictional look at two plastic surgeons played by David Schwimmer and Chris Cooper who invent the breast implant in Texas in 1960.
Face Off (1997) – A criminal genius played by Nicholas Cage and FBI agent played by John Travolta trade faces through an experimental plastic surgery procedure.
Extreme Makeover (2002-2007) – Reality TV. Unattractive individuals volunteered to have multiple cosmetic surgery procedures.
Nip/ Tuck (2003-2010) – Far fetched drama about the lives and practices of two ethically challenged plastic surgeons
Dr. 90210 (2004-present) – Reality TV about the lives and practices of a number of plastic surgeons. Interestingly the most recognizable plastic surgeon on the series is not a board certified plastic surgeon. I find that an interesting choice for E!.
The Swan (2004) – Reality TV. Unattractive women underwent radical cosmetic surgery transformations.
Bridalplasty (2010) – Reality TV. Twelve women compete for a dream wedding and plastic surgery procedures.
Just Go With It (2011) – Adam Sandler plays a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon opposite Jennifer Aniston.