Viewers might know Dr. Miami, aka Michael Salzhauer, best from his viral Snapchats.
The plastic surgeon built his fame — and millions of followers — on live streaming graphic procedures on social media. Critics consider Salzhauer’s methods controversial because of how he blurs the line between entertainment and surgery.
However, in addition to being an M.D., Salzhauer is also a devoted husband, father, and Orthodox Jew.
His different sides are explored in a no-holds-barred documentary, “They Call Me Dr. Miami,” directed by Jean-Simon Chartier.
Salzhauer spoke to Fox News about filming the doc, society’s obsession with perfection, and how he balances his personal and professional life.
Fox News: Do you consider yourself controversial?
Dr. Michael Salzhauer: I’ve been controversial since the first grade. I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t controversial. I don’t feel vilified and maybe I should, but I don’t maybe because I kind of stay in my lane and operate with blinders, maybe like most megalomaniacs, I kind of just focus on the job at hand, which is my patients and my family. Is my wife happy? Good. Are my patients happy? Good. I’m not everybody’s cup of tea.
Dr. Salzhauer considers himself one of the first social media influencers.
Fox News: Did you mind that other surgeons weren’t complimentary of you in the documentary?
Salzhauer: I think of it like this: there are patients out there that would watch me on social media and their reaction would be, ‘I would never let that guy touch me with a knife, never in a million years.’ And that’s fine. I probably would not gel with them personality-wise with them as far as bedside manner goes and just relating to them. And then there are other people that are like, ‘Yeah, you know what? I like his work. I like his personality. That’s I want that guy to be my surgeon.’
You know, personally, I prefer to have a little sense of humor when I go through life and my business and my work, with my employees, and I would encourage [other surgeons] to lighten up a little bit. But other than that, I don’t hold it against them.
Fox News: You’re known for doing the Brazilian butt lift. Some people have died going under the knife for that surgery. Is it too dangerous?
Salzhauer: I think the operation itself is challenging and it has risks, but those risks can be mitigated. Thank God no one’s ever died in my practice. I’m very proud of that fact and also very paranoid about it. So I go the extra mile to make sure that nothing bad happens to my patients. I think what happened was the demand for the operation outstripped the supply of surgeons that are properly trained and maybe even the general knowledge base of the operation itself.
The science behind it was in its infancy when it got very, very popular, very fast. I think that led to a lot of the deaths. Now we have a good handle on the safe way to do it. I started the World Association of Gluteal Surgeons (WAGS) to try and make the surgery safer. I started WAGS because I felt guilty. I think every single country and every doctor everywhere has to be responsible to make sure that they do [the surgery] as safely as possible.
Dr. Salzhauer in his operating room in Miami.
Fox News: As a plastic surgeon, how do you feel about society’s obsession with looking perfect?
Salzhauer: I think that we’ve always tried to look our best and you know, all the Greek statues seem to be very chiseled. They don’t look like they’re eating chocolates on the couch. I mean, people have wanted to look a certain way, I think forever. I think the difference now is that we actually have science that has progressed to the point where we can make changes safely and affordably, at least relatively safely and relatively affordably. Social media like everything else just magnified [that desire].
Fox News: You’re silly and outrageous on social media and then at home, you’re quieter and very religious. The documentary juxtaposes your two personas. Do you feel like you’re living two different lives?
Salzhauer: I feel like we all have different sides of our personality. We all have these different elements of our personality and obviously, at home, I’m dad, that’s who I am. So it’s not like that’s a different person. It’s just a different side of me. And then on social media, it’s like my “pre-dad” personality. I work with the volume turned up all the way. I hope that people will see the documentary and see that I’m trying my best to keep that balance and reach the finish line.
“They Call Me Dr. Miami” is available to stream on Discovery+.