Terry Dubrow was already well-known to reality TV fans as the husband of The Real Housewives of Orange County star Heather Dubrow, and he has now landed TV success of his own.
Dr. Dubrow is one of the lead plastic surgeons on E!’s hit show Botched, which delves into the terribly captivating world plastic surgery horror stories and Dubrow’s efforts to fix them, with the help of his business partner Dr. Paul Nassif.
Queerty asked Dubrow some questions about plastic surgery, and had a delightful chat about his love for transgender patients, the dangers of bodybuilding with steroids and why he says Nassif is a versatile-bottom who likes warm nuts.
Queerty: When patients come on Botched, who pays for the surgery?
Dr. Dubrow: The show pays them an appearance fee, and out of that they pay for the surgery.
On the show you have had several patients who are transgendered. In your regular practice, do you do gender reassignment surgery?
To a certain degree, I do. I don’t do what is called the “primary” sex reassignment surgery: I don’t convert the male genitalia to female and vice-versa. That’s a very specialized field, and it’s not that it’s so difficult — it isn’t difficult — but you want to go to a surgeon who does it all the time. I recommend patients to a plastic surgeon who is also a board certified urologist. But I do the secondary surgeries, like the breast surgery, and I do facial surgery.
Do you view these gender reassignment patients differently than someone who, for instance, just wants a boob job?
I view them physically and atomically similar. But I view them very differently in terms of taking care of them as patients. I have a natural affinity for patients who are transgendered. They’re not just typical patients who are just trying to make small improvements. This is part of a transformation of their whole life and their whole existence. Think how difficult it is to come out when you are gay and you feel different—and I am not trying to make an analogy between being gay and being transgender — versus how difficult it is when you feel like a completely different sex? Like you were born a completely different sex? I believe they were kind of botched by nature, honestly. I have a soft place in my heart for them.
I know several people, male to female transgendered, who regret having received the final gender reassignment surgery because it completely numbed their ability to have an orgasm. Is this a common occurrence?
This is an interesting question, because we talk a lot about this. The statistics now are, I think, 80 percent of transgendered people do not have the primary sexual reassignment surgery. They just have the secondary stuff. So for instance, male to female patients, the keep the male genitalia but they get everything else. So you ask, why are they doing that? As a plastic surgeon, I think it’s because they are smart. Because at the end of the day, as good as it can look, it doesn’t function or feel that great. So on the one hand, you feel more feminine having more feminine anatomy, but you sacrifice sensitivity, potentially. Although yes there are situations where they do have orgasms. But I would say most don’t. Most are severely affected by it. I don’t know what Caitlyn [Jenner] is going to do. It is my understanding that…oh wait, I’m not supposed to talk about Caitlyn. I’m with E!, we’ve been given specific instructions not to talk about it until her show airs.
Kylie Jenner was in the news when she admitted to getting lip injections, although she is only 17 years old. You have four young daughters. Would you let your children do that when they are under 18?
Every plastic surgeon I would talk to would say they would never allow their sub-18 year old to get lip filler. But the American Society of Plastic Surgeons now is becoming very open to kids doing that kind of stuff, which I find weird. I wasn’t happy about Kylie Jenner doing that to her lips, because I’m sure she went to some super high-end plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills to get it done. She didn’t go to some back-alley nobody. So that means some reasonable, very talented surgeon put filler in her lips. And I thought that was bad for the plastic surgery community.
But you’ve responded to this as a surgeon first, not as a parent. What about the fact that your daughter wants surgery because she doesn’t like the way she looks?
It’s interesting when you’re a surgeon, because people would think I would be more open to my kids having early plastic surgery, but I’m not. I’m less open to it. I’m a “botched” doctor, and all I do is fix bad plastic surgery, so all I see are the disasters. I’m much more paranoid than the average plastic surgeon walking down the street. I’ve seen every type of plastic surgery procedure, from the most simple to the most complex, go bad on people. I don’t want my kid to get anything that could lead to a disaster. So if my 17 year old wanted lip filler, I would say no, and she would whine and say “Why?…” and she’d rag on me. What’s the difference between 18 and 17? I don’t know. But you’re still in high school, you look beautiful, shut up.
On your show you have been very vocal against using steroids for bodybuilding and physical fitness. Why do you say they are dangerous?
Look, these are intensely scary, dangerous chemicals that are self-administered in extremely high doses without any real knowledge of side effects that are often irreversible. Steroids have such strong potentially negative effects that in order to get super-ripped, you have to take them into the dose range where the side effects profile gets extraordinarily high and the dangers are really excessive. They can lead to kidney failure, thinning of the skin, propensity towards developing cancer, things that you literally die from. But these guys are taking whatever it takes to look amazing. And to really change your body with steroids, you have to hurt your hurt your organs. You have to. You can’t separate cosmetic improvements with organ derangement. It’s impossible to get shredded and huge with steroids without hurting yourself. Even if you cycle on and off, perfectly, the way bodybuilders do it, you’re going to pay the price. [Pause] That’s my speech. There you go.
Considering both you and your wife star in reality TV shows, which of you is the bigger drama queen?
OK, so, I’m going to have to answer this question as if my wife was sitting in the room. I’m very relaxed about everything. It rolls off my back. She’s very super-organized, to the point she’s very focused and controlled about every aspect of her life, so that when things go a little awry, she reacts to it. That’s my way of saying she’s more of a drama queen than I am. However, my wife would tell you that when we walk into a restaurant, I won’t like the first table you’ve shown me, and I won’t like the second table because it’s too close to the window and I don’t like the way the light is reflecting off the silverware. I’m very picky. To me, the room and the table is more important and the food. I’m very sensitive to my environment.
On an episode of Botched, you had a patient who labeled himself as a “top,” and you had some questions about the differences between guys who are “top” or “bottom.” So as thanks for giving me the time for this interview, I want to take this time to give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about this. Do you understand everything?
Oh my God, I’m an expert at it. First of all, my anesthesiologist is gay. And I’m a surgeon! We talk about everything and anything. I love it.
Which would you be?
How would you label Dr. Nassif?
He would be a hybrid. He’d spend more time on the bottom. But he’d have his moments when he’d have to be on top too.
We call that “versatile bottom.”
That little hairy man can be so picky, and so meticulous. You know when you get on a plane, and the flight attendant brings you those warm nuts at the beginning?
In first class, yes.
We’re on a flight and the flight attendant brings us the warm nuts, and he puts one in his mouth, and he says “Oh, huh, I was just hoping they’d be warmer.” He sends the free warm nuts back to have them warmed up more!
Bottoms do enjoy warm nuts.
He’s so picky. But he’s the greatest guy.