It's not all minor lifts and subtle tucks: With more than 15.6 million plastic surgeries performed last year, there are bound to be some unusual requests along the way. We spoke with plastic surgeons from coast to coast to get the scoop on the strangest, oddest, and downright craziest requests they've gotten from patients. (Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up to get daily healthy living tips and more delivered straight to your inbox!)
Not a Lot to Work With
While the technique of removing a patient's own body fat to supplement other areas is a growing field, there is one major caveat—it only works if you have enough body fat to start with, explained Dr. Gary S. Berger, of New York City.
"We have been doing Brazilian butt lifts [butt augmentation using a patient's own body fat] since the 1990s, before they were called Brazilian butt lifts! It is not uncommon for a patient to come in who has almost zero body fat, requesting some kind of butt surgery using her own fat, even though she doesn't have any, while refusing buttock implants."
Certain plastic surgery procedures may be able to erase years from your face or body. But decades?!
"A 70-year-old woman brought in a large self-portrait of herself from when she was in high school," said Dr. Phillip Langsdon, a plastic surgeon in Memphis, TN. "She wanted to look like she did over 50 years ago. Of course this was unrealistic." (Here are the 5 best vitamins for beautiful skin.)
While many patients bring in pictures of celebrities they'd like to look more like, one patient had a different inspiration.
"A patient asked if I could split his tongue down the middle," said Dr. David Shafer, of New York City. "He stated he wanted his tongue to look like a snake's when he opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue. I passed on this case." In the same vein: "One young man requested that I make both of his ears pointy like rabbit ears," said Dr. Ali Sajjadian, of Newport Beach, Calif.
The Opposite of Subtle
Though most patients want their procedures to look as natural as possible, some go for the opposite effect.
"I had one patient who complained that even though she was very pleased with the outcome of her rhinoplasty, she thought it looked too natural and did not have an operated look," Sajjadian said. "She wanted to further narrow the base of the nose and have the tip upturned—similar to the look of Michael Jackson's nose. She wanted everyone to know that she had a nose job. She told me, 'Make it count.' "
What Not to Expect When You're Expecting
Though pregnancy often brings a fuller bust, for one woman it wasn't enough.
"I was once asked to place breast implants in a pregnant woman," shared Dr. Lara Devgan, of New York City. "That is definitely not within the standard of care. You can't do elective plastic surgery during pregnancy."
"I had a guy request nipple injections to enhance the projection of his nipples through his T-shirt in the summer," Shafer said. "He even brought in a tight white T-shirt to try on after the injections to make sure he liked the results. He was so happy that he brought in his partner a few weeks later for the same procedure."