As the only plastic surgeon on the panel of physicians, Dr. Drew Ordon always brings a unique insight to the conversation on the popular syndicated show “The Doctors.” With a private practice in Beverly Hills and Rancho Mirage, California, Dr. Ordon uses his 25 years of experience to give viewers a glimpse into what is possible through reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. During an interview with me, Dr. Ordon, who has also been featured on shows including “Dr. Phil,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “20/20,” talked about what he contributes to “The Doctors” and gave his thoughts on the current U.S. healthcare reform.
Did you ever think going into the medical field would lead to an opportunity to host a TV show?
It was really a surprise to me. We really had no formal training for TV. They sort of just threw us off of the ship and said, “Swim.” Thank god all I have to do on the show is be myself, talk about plastic surgery, and try to bring that same passion to the show I have in my practice. It’s slowly getting easier.
As the only plastic surgeon on the show, you bring a different perspective from the other doctors. Why do you think issues on plastic surgery are important to the show?
In general, I think the public is interested in plastic surgery. I’ll be the first to say that plastic surgery isn’t for everybody, but everybody likes to feel good about how they look. I suggest healthier lifestyles that will help you age better. There are so many noninvasive things available to make people look better. On top of that there’s the whole reconstructing part of plastic surgery. People don’t realize as plastic surgeons, we are not just “beauty doctors.”
We’re right in the middle of a major overhaul to the U.S. healthcare system. What would you like to see included in the reform when it comes to the work you do?
In some countries, insurance companies pay for your cosmetic surgery. It’s not going to come to that in this country, but there are some things that can be done for people who need reconstructive surgery. For example, I think a woman who has just had a mastectomy has the right to have that breast reconstructed.
I’m sure there have been times where you’ve had to say no to a patient who wants a certain procedure done. Is it difficult to turn people away since they are coming to you for help they feel they need?
Part of a real plastic surgeon’s training is all about patient selection – choosing the right patient to operate on. As difficult as it may be, saying no to certain people is part of the job. People are sometimes overly focused on something that is not a big physical problem as they perceive it. Some people are literally addicted to cosmetic surgery. I know it’s hard to say no, but sometimes you just have to. We saw that with Michael Jackson. Doctors didn’t want to say no to him. My creed has always been that plastic surgery shouldn’t leave you looking like plastic. If something is done well, it shouldn’t jump out and scream at you that anything was altered surgically. It should look natural.
What about plastic surgery on teenagers? Where do you stand on that issue?
I think a lot of the controversy is with procedures like liposuction. Instead of making a lifestyle change to help them lose weight and focus on the cause of their problem, they want a quick fix. Then there are other procedures like breast implants and collegian in the lips. But look what these young women see everyday in magazines. They see the big breasts and the plump lips. When they see this in the media it gives them the wrong message. It starts with parents telling their kids to be happy with who they are. At the same time, I have to be pro-plastic surgery because I’ve seen the impact it’s had on people’s lives. If you have something that legitimately bothers you, they you should pursue it. Maybe it is something that needs to be fixed, but make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.