10,000 likes and we’ll show you how we built this patient’s butt

Through social media, modern doctors gain celebrity status and teach their followers.

10,000 likes and we’ll show you how we built this patient’s butt

Through social media, modern doctors gain celebrity status and teach their followers.

A doctor in bloody scrubs holds two huge hunks of human flesh as though he were comparing pork shoulders at the grocery store. “We have removed the skin,” he announces, pride in his voice. “It’s pretty thick, and long, like me.” Beneath the video, a caption informs me that the first person to comment with the correct weight of the leftover flab will win a T-shirt. But not a beige shirt with a bland logo, like something you’d find at an airport kiosk — these T-shirts are adorned with flame-lettering of the doctor’s stage name, BFixin, as consciously in-your-face as a Thrasher tee.

“It sounded cool, so we went with it,” admitted Dr. Scott Blyer, informally known as Dr. BFixin, when I asked about his name. The board-certified cosmetic surgeon has over 70,000 followers on the rather graphic Instagram account he maintains for his practice, CAMEO Surgery Center, on Long Island. The account features real visits from viral stars (Fatboy and Pioladitingancia are a few), memes related to the procedures (breast augmentation apparently cures divorce), and family photos with his wife and daughter. But mostly, his page is covered with the backsides of his patients, marked up with medical pen and swollen in their post-surgery photos. “We had two, maybe 350 followers on Instagram, maybe two years ago,” he told The Outline. He’s been even more successful on Snapchat, where he chronicles his surgical adventures daily. “Our Snapchat’s just fire. When we’re hot, we’re getting probably 100,000 views a day, like, per clip. We have people literally all around the world who come to see us because they see us on social media,” he told me. He said he even gets recognized at restaurants — fans ask him for photos all the time.

Blyer, who describes himself as “44 going on 21,” is part of a new wave of medical professionals: the social media doctor, a type of MD that uses the internet to demystify and showcase their procedures. When he first began practicing in 2007, Blyer tried to stick to the traditional, no-nonsense doctor persona that has been encouraged by medical schools for ages, but it felt like putting on “a coat that wasn’t fitting right.” He realized that the best way for him practice medicine was to be as goofy as wanted to be, even if that entailed breaking away from what people would usually expect from a medical professional. “It makes the patients feel much more comfortable, and it has blown up. You know, we’re real. We don’t put on a facade,” he said.

Blyer’s speciality is the Brazilian butt lift, which is essentially a fat transfer that allows for enlargement and reshaping. He often pairs this with Lipo360, which removes fat from all the way around a particular body part (many patients seem to favor the stomach and waist.) The excess is then utilized for the BBL. Coupled together, these two procedures cost $10,900 at CAMEO.

Being that he works so intimately with the bodies of his patients, he decided it would be beneficial to treat his patients as if they were his friends. He gives all of his patients his cell-phone number. He texts over a dozen patients every day for a week after performing procedures on them, fielding their questions at night. And of course, he maintains the practice’s social media presence, along with Steph Parra, who has worked as his social media director since 2016. His methods are not completely unusual. According to a recent study, 70 percent of surgeons believe that social media benefits professional development, and 28.2 percent of American plastic surgeons currently use a social media account professionally.

This has elevated some doctors to an almost-celebrity status. If you look at one, the algorithm will pump dozens of accounts similar to Blyer’s onto your Instagram Explore page everyday, all in varying style. Some are more conservative — posting only advertisements for weekend deals and inspirational quotes — while others are outright silly, frequently sharing client twerk videos and roasting celebrities. Many doctors have their own self-made monikers, like Dr. Miami or Dr. Feelgood. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of this particular niche, which encompasses innumerable doctors displaying a unique form of virtual thirst — one that complies with the Hippocratic oath.

Blyer and his team often put on weekly skits based on what’s going on in pop culture. He recently posted one in which foul-mouthed viral hell child Lil Tay is the literal source of someone’s “pain in the ass”: her incessant whine plays as Blyer drains a mystery liquid out of his pretend patient. (The tube is embellished with cropped photos of Lil Tay’s head, which Blyer peers over at, wide-eyed and disgusted.) In another video, the team parodies Aaron Schlossberg, the viral racist who was caught on video disparaging Spanish-speaking store employees last month. On Tuesdays, Blyer and his team put out a Top 10 list, which tends to be simple and topical and not always within his medical purview — things like “the top 10 things you hate about allergy season.” Wednesday is their celebrity news day, which Steph compiles. (She’s in charge of making their memes, but Blyer told me he writes many of the skits himself.) By the time the patients meet Blyer and his team in real life, they might already feel well acquainted with them. None of Blyer’s patients are forced to participate in the doctor’s Snapchat or Instagram — most of them actually request to be featured.

“Whatever’s cool in hip hop, we’re at it.”
Dr. BFixin

It’s not easy for Blyer, the father to a one-year-old, to keep up with everything the kids are doing these days, but Steph helps to keep him in the know. She’s only 20, and has a decent sized following of her own: 12,000 Instagram followers. “I learn a lot from her,” he said. “Her musical taste has now rubbed off on me. I just preordered my tickets for Drake and Migos in August,” he said. He may be a white Jewish man approaching his fifties, but his tastes are more reflective of a college freshman going out for the football team. “Whatever’s cool in hip hop, we’re at it, like we’re authentic, we’re in it. We love the culture,” he said.

One of the main benefits of capturing cosmetic surgery on video is the transparency. The clinical feel of an operating room dissipates when potential patients are given a close-up view. “We don’t stop in the middle and go, ’Shit, this one’s coming out bad, we gotta stop it,’” Blyer said. “If anything, I feel like we’re safer than most places because we show everything.”

This philosophy powers the current boom of surgeons on social media. Dr. Lara Devgan, who’s ranked the No. 1 female cosmetic surgeon in New York by doctor referral site RateMDs, has accumulated more than 130,000 Instagram followers. “It was a suggestion made to me a few years ago, and I thought that it sounded kind of crazy,” she told The Outline. “I think my exact thought at the moment was, ‘How could anyone choose their doctor based on Instagram?’ But you know, I have found over time that it’s a very visual medium and my field is very visual. And so in a way, it’s a very natural marriage.” Now, she posts to Instagram daily.

Devgan had just come back from performing an upper and lower eyelid surgery, and a breast augmentation when she sat down with with me to talk about her social media presence. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, costs around $3,000, and is meant to keep a youthful look by addressing the sags and hollows of the eye area. Although only a little over 200,000 were performed in the United States in 2017, Devgan specializes in all areas of eye rejuvenation, and sees many patients for the procedure in her NYC office. Her technique tends to hide the incision in the natural crease of the eye, for optimized beauty while healing.

As the mother to five kids, and with one on the way, she often gets up at dawn, and is in to the office by 9:00 am to start her cases for the day. Devgan’s online presence is more reserved than Dr. BFixin and his team, but she finds similar value in how Instagram allows her to connect with patients. “You know, I’m a serious person. I have an academic background. It’s not a joking page,” she said. “I don’t wear costumes, I don’t mock people. I wear gloves whenever I make contact with patients, I keep protocols up. I’ll really focus on including educational, factual information to demystify some of these things.”

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A post shared by Dr. Lara Devgan, MD, MPH, FACS (@laradevganmd) on

Non-surgical rhinoplasties are what first drew me to Devgan’s page. Needles used to make my skin crawl, but these videos have built my tolerance to the world of documented cosmetic surgery. The procedure looks simple enough that I can imagine myself performing it, casually filling in the bumps in a friend’s nose in front of my makeup mirror before a night out. Devgan uses soft-tissue fillers, which are injectable dermal implants, to fill dips and raises in a nose. This avoids having to break the bone, as has traditionally been done, and since 2000 the use of such fillers has almost quadrupled. Devgan said that she most commonly administers fillers to the undereye area, but she does a “really nice non-surgical rhinoplasty.” “I can do some very powerful work with facial sculpting, with cheekbones and jawline, and toxins that will smooth out wrinkles like Botox and Dysport,” she said. The average price of a non-surgical nose job is around $5,000; patients can choose to have it last from anywhere between a couple of years, or permanently.

Social media also allows plastic surgeons like Devgan and Blyer to demonstrate changes and innovations to a generation of potential patients who have less interest in undergoing painful, invasive procedures. More people than ever are choosing treatments that are non-invasive and knife-free. The number of people undergoing procedures like Coolsculpting, which essentially freezes the fat off your body, increased 7 percent between 2016 and 2017; almost 3 million procedures used fillers in 2017. Eighteen years ago, only a little over half a million procedures used fillers. None of this growth is so surprising, in a time in which instant gratification has become expected across all categories. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, 55 percent of facial cosmetic surgeons said that their patients were sought out cosmetic procedures to look better in their selfies. “I do think that there should be a little bit more awareness of the fact that Instagram and social media images, especially from influencers and models and celebrities and things like that, can be highly filtered,” Devgan said. “They can be photoshopped. Everyone puts their best stuff on Instagram, and so you want to be careful with the generation of young women coming up to not create unrealistic ideas in their minds.”

The day after we talked, I opened Instagram and was greeted with a video of Devgan injecting a woman’s neck with deoxycholic acid, popularly known as Kybella. It sounds frightening, but I love to watch it done — a behind the scenes look at how beauty, or our idea of it anyway, comes to be. Puncturing the skin with a syringe multiple time along chalk lines, the fat in the jaw literally dissolves. Meanwhile, on Snapchat, I watched as Blyer injected fat into a patient’s rear end with some kind of tube. The camerawoman cheered; trap music hammered in the background. It made me squirm, but I couldn’t look away.

To check out an audio version of this story, including an extended interview with Dr. Bfixin and Dr. Devgan, use the embed above, or in your favorite app below.

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