Ashley Belance, 21, a cute college student at Florida International University wearing big, silver hoop earrings and pointy, fake pink nails, is lingering outside of Michael Salzhauer’s operating room in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. Dr. Salzhauer is a cosmetic surgeon known for the kinds of body procedures that give women pumped-up curves, such as Brazilian butt lifts (B.B.L. for short), and Belance is his social-media assistant. She’s licking a scoop of peanut butter off a spoon before heading inside the operating room to get to work. Her job there—and what’s turned the doctor into a daily draw for over 821,000 people—is to Snapchat Dr. Salzhauer’s surgeries as they’re actually happening on one of his real, completely-cool-with-it patients.
Dr. Salzhauer, who goes by @therealdrmiami on Snapchat, is the first surgeon to broadcast on the app. He said he recently hit a high of 1 million views and about 100,000 people tune in every hour, while 18,000 watch from “snap” to “snap.” The basics of the doctor’s life would seem to make this fame unlikely. At 44, he’s performed plastic surgery for 19 years and been married for 20, and he has five kids. He’s an Orthodox Jew who keeps kosher and observes the Sabbath.
But what he shows on Snapchat—filmed by Belance or his other social-media assistant, Brittany Benson, 27, with an iPhone only inches above the body on the operating table—is anything but boring. Stomachs are bisected, nipples are snipped off and sewn back on, rear ends are inflated with bright red fat. It’s all set to a soundtrack of Miami club bangers.
“People have never seen these surgeries before,” Dr. Miami says. “I remember the first time I saw one, I was mesmerized. [Some people tell me] they get a little high from it. There’s actual joy from watching people getting manipulated. Some people like that feeling of getting grossed out and losing control, too.”
Others may simply be wondering what it might be like if they were on the table; what they would have to go through to get different breasts, a slimmer stomach, or Nicki Minaj’s ass. While the appeal of Dr. Miami’s Snapchat account is certainly multifaceted, what elevates it from gross-out time-waster to arguably revolutionary—besides showing us strangers’ insides—is how it reveals what really happens in the hours between when a patient goes under and when they emerge with a new ass. Though we are surrounded on a daily basis by medically pumped-up breasts and lips and everything else on newsstands, TV, and, yes, social media, rarely do we see the gory means that get our stars to those ends. Previously, if we saw cosmetic surgery at all, it was fictional or edited. Dr. Miami’s Snapchat gives some power back to the people on the operating table (or those thinking about joining their ranks). Anyone can see exactly, in explicit detail, how bodies are reformed.
None of the footage that’s shot in the O.R. is edited, or even especially polished, and it’s so graphic—chests are slashed open, flaps of skin are sheared off—that it’s initially hard to stare at for even the limited length of a 10-second snap. One regular Dr. Miami viewer I spoke with, Gloria, a publicist in New York, told me, “I definitely have to make sure no one is looking at my phone when I’m watching it.” She compares the impulse to watch his snaps to the same one that makes her rubberneck while passing car accidents. “It’s hard not to look,” she says.
Inside Dr. Miami’s O.R., a Young Jeezy song is playing. The doctor is about to perform a breast lift while wearing Swarovski-studded Gucci sunglasses. “I’ve never felt so comfortable in a pair of glasses,” he says. “They’re like slippers.”
His Snapchat personality is that of a hip uncle, who is amused—and willing to be educated—by the young people around him. During surgery, he’ll ask Belance several times to push his shades back up on his nose, and when the anesthesiologist, Barry Miller, jokingly approaches him with a piece of tape, he says, “Oh no, you’re not going to nerd out my Gucci glasses.”
He has the kind of barely there stubble any brooding actor would appreciate and looks a decade younger than he is, although he frets that his hair is thinning. He has been carefully cultivating his interest in the hip-hop scene. He’s worn Yeezys in the O.R., and has taken his staff to a Fetty Wap show. (He met Fetty and snapped the introduction.)
“I like trap music,” Salzhauer says. “I’ve developed quite a taste for it. We always had something playing in the O.R. before the snap, but now I monopolize the music. I’m always asking, ‘Is this new?’ Or, ‘Are the kids asking for it?’”
He has his limits, though.
“If I hear ‘work, work, work’ one more time I’m going to jump out the window,” he says, referring to the popular Rihanna song. Belance says she keeps playing it just to see his face when she does.
“It’s quite the dichotomy between my real life and my Snapchat life,” Salzhauer says. “I have deep religious convictions, but I’m not judge-y. I’m a people person. I think I’ve seen a lot. I understand a lot. And I hope people cut me some slack, too.”
The patient currently on the operating table is Beza, 25, a financial consultant from Los Angeles. Behind her, a large screen shows her naked “before” shot. (In the picture, which will be posted to Snapchat, her vagina is covered by a cat emoji.) She’s been sedated, with a cloth placed over her face and the ventilator she’s hooked up to. She’s come to see Salzhauer from L.A. because the surgeons there don’t do “my type of body,” she said the day before at her pre-op appointment. “I wanted a voluptuous body and the girls in L.A. don’t have voluptuous bodies.” Her fiancé is paying for her breast lift, tummy tuck, and B.B.L.
All of Salzhauer’s patients who appear on his Snapchat—and about two-thirds of them do—sign consent forms. Some request that identifying details like tattoos or birthmarks be covered up; others want to be known. They ask for their boyfriends’ names to be written on their bodies or for a specific song to be played during their surgery. (The American Medical Association advises doctors that filming should only be permitted when patients or their surrogates have explicitly consented—as Salzhauer‘s patients have. The association also tells medical professionals that they should “not allow financial or promotional benefit to the health care institution to influence their advice to patients regarding participation in filming.”)
The atmosphere in the room is supercharged; it has the focus and intensity of the O.R.s you’ve seen on TV combined with the freewheeling, anything-goes vibe of a student-film shoot. The music thumps, the anesthesia machine beeps, and Salzhauer cracks wise—like most surgeons, he has a big ego and likes to get the last word in. He once got in a Twitter war with Nicki Minaj after she said she didn’t know who he was.
“Nicki Minaj saying she doesn’t know my work is like an N.B.A. player saying they don’t know Lebron James’s work,” he says.
In particular, he likes to play off Belance, and as they’re sparring he’ll often make her repeat herself so they can capture the repartee on Snapchat. A sample exchange:
“Do you want to be a surgeon, Ashley?”
“With my work ethic? Do you think I could be a surgeon? If I weregoing to be a surgeon, though, I’d be a cardiothoracic surgeon.”
“Yeah, that way you could kill a lot of people.”(Video) Skinny bbl journey | 9 weeks PO
In the past year, Michael “Dr. Miami” Salzhauer, a dad-joke-spouting, Miami-based plastic surgeon, has rocketed to micro-fame by broadcasting breast augmentations, tummy tucks, and, yes, Brazilian butt lifts, on Snapchat. His patients aren't just consenting; they're seeking him out specifically.Why does everyone go to Miami for BBL? ›
Expertise: Miami has a large number of plastic surgeons who specialize in BBLs and have extensive experience in performing the procedure. Many of these surgeons have earned a reputation for delivering consistent, high-quality results, which has made Miami a top destination for those seeking the procedure.Is Dr. Miami legit? ›
Michael Salzhauer (born 1972) is an American celebrity doctor who practices plastic surgery. He is active on social media as Dr. Miami, has been on reality TV, has recorded a song, and written a children's book. He runs a plastic surgery practice in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida.