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Is Plastic Surgery America's New Addiction?

Aired January 28, 2006 - 21:00   ET


STEVE ERHARDT: Well, they tell me I've had 37 surgeries.
NEIKIE RENO: He actually said he wanted to lift my nose off my face.

HOPE DONAHUE: I wanted to look like anybody other than myself.

DR. ROBIE LUDWIG, CNN GUEST HOST: Tonight, she grew up rich and beautiful in high society. But that didn't stop her from stealing and posing nude to support her habit.

He spent a quarter of a million dollars on his obsession. Now, he's known as the Human Ken Doll. It's the new addiction to plastic surgery.

You'll meet America's new junkies, next on "LARRY KING LIVE."

Hi and welcome to "LARRY KING LIVE." I'm Dr. Robbie Ludwig, in for Larry. And tonight, people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on agonizing procedures, destroying their bodies, their families and their bank accounts all because their obsessed with having plastic surgery.

Let's meet our guests. Hope Donahue was a gorgeous Hollywood debutant who became a plastic surgery junkie by the age of 23. She's written a book called "Beautiful Stranger."

Neikie Reno, she says she's happy with how she looks now. But that's after spending $100,000 on plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures.

Steve Erhardt is an L.A. hairdresser known as the Human Ken Doll. He spent a quarter of a million dollars on 37 different plastic surgeries.

And with us here in New York, plastic surgeon, Dr. Paul Lorenc, a pioneer of liposuction.

I'd like to start by asking all of our guests about their first procedures and what made them do it.

Hope, we'll start with you because your story is really an incredible one. When did you start with your plastic surgery?

DONAHUE: I started when I was 22 and, after graduating from college, I was devastated because I had a boyfriend who left me and I thought that it might be as simple as, if I just became a little bit more beautiful, I could get him back.

LUDWIG: And that was your first procedure, was a rhinoplasty?

DONAHUE: My first procedure was -- it was relatively small. It was a tip rhinoplasty.

LUDWIG: And from there what happened in terms of your next procedure?

DONAHUE: When they took off the bandages after the rhinoplasty, my first thought was I don't look any different. And that was when I realized -- I hadn't realized up until that point that I wanted look different. I wanted to look like a different person.

LUDWIG: Did you have a sense of who you wanted to look like?

DONAHUE: I wanted to look like anybody other than myself, basically.

LUDWIG: So it was escaping from yourself?

DONAHUE: It was escaping from myself. Absolutely.

LUDWIG: And, Steve, you've had quite a lot of surgery. Some might say that your look is not even a natural look. What started your plastic surgery adventure?

ERHARDT: Mine, too, started with a rhinoplasty. And I never really wanted a natural look. That's not what I was trying to achieve. I wanted something kind of over the top.

I've become a very Hollywood-Beverly Hills person and -- my nose was a little bit out of balance so I sought out like the world's most famous plastic surgeon and he agreed to do my rhinoplasty.

LUDWIG: So did you have an image in your head of who you wanted to be like. I mean, they call you the Human Ken Doll. Did you use that as a pictorial image for yourself?

ERHARDT: No, I just wanted a certain look and certain features and I wasn't thinking about anybody in particular.

LUDWIG: But you kept on going on. I mean, you didn't stop with one or two procedures. Something kept you going. Were you aware of what the pull is for you?

ERHARDT: As the years went on, they started developing new techniques and technologies and they developed muscle implants...

LUDWIG: Can you tell me exactly what you've had done?

ERHARDT: If you've read the "National Inquirer" lately, they say I've had, I think, 37 procedures done lately. I've had like my eyes done, rhinoplasty, chin, cleft, pectoral implants, bicep implants, buttock augmentation, liposuction, abdominal sculpting and those are the ones I can remember right off hand. LUDWIG: And, Neikie, how about you? When did you first start? It sounds like your story is a little bit similar. It started with the nose, if I remember correctly.

RENO: It did. It started with the nose and, at a very young age, being teased and taunted by children. So I did go to the doctor and I talked to him about my breasts and my nose.

I was pleased with what he said about my breasts. He was conservative. He said, you know, you can't go large. "I don't want to see you walk past a door and see your breasts come first." He said that's not a beautiful woman in his eyes, which was -- it was OK but very conservative.

But then, when he talked about my nose, he actually said he wanted to lift my nose off my face.

LUDWIG: Oh, my goodness.

RENO: And re-attach it back.

LUDWIG: Did you find, when you started with your plastic surgery, did it quiet the negative voices in your head from your childhood that said your nose was too big, or you're not exactly right?

RENO: I'm not so sure that I had negative voices. I just remember hearing it. But the positive reaction that I did get from going from no breasts -- I mean, I literally had none. I didn't have to wear a bra. I didn't -- was very flat chested.

But the response I got from it was very positive. I mean, obviously.

LUDWIG: Is that what kept you hooked, the positive response from people?

RENO: No. Not at all. I felt -- I definitely felt good about myself. It made me feel better.

LUDWIG: How about you, Hope? What have you had done?

DONAHUE: I've had the tip rhinoplasty. I had cheek implants. I had three procedures done on my lips. One was to correct a previous procedure that went wrong. And I've had breast implants. And I've also had some more minor procedures like Botox and Collagen.

LUDWIG: OK. So how many total are...

DONAHUE: About 28 total.


And how about you, Neikie?

RENO: I've had a rhinoplasty. I've had fat removed from the upper and lower eyelids. I've had a lateral eyebrow lift, cheek implants, buckle-fat removal from the cheeks as well, which is the lower part. Lip augmentation; I've had my teeth done, a breast augmentation and liposuction.

LUDWIG: Doctor, what are the most common procedures done currently? What's most popular?

DR. PAUL LORENC, AESTHETIC PLASTIC SURGEON: Well, as far as the surgical procedures, liposuction by far, 480,000 cases last year along in the United States.

As far as the non-surgical cosmetic procedures, it is Botox, 2.8 million injections last year in the states alone.

Overall, 11.9 million procedures just in this country. It's an exponentially growing entity.

LUDWIG: It almost sounds like moving into the future the question will be who hasn't had plastic surgery.

LORENC: It very well might be.

LUDWIG: Why is it so commonplace.

LORENC: Well, I think it's media exposure. Of course that's one thing. And, as you know, there have been an incredible amount of technology. Our technology is just exploding.

What we're doing right now is so different than what I was doing five years ago. It's easier, quicker recovery, less anesthesia, let's less invasive. What I do endoscopically right now, it's so much better than what I did 10 years ago with a larger incision.

So overall, patients are aware of this and they are able to recover much quicker. Also, commonly patients ask for a much more natural look. And it's much easier for me to deliver that with less invasive procedures.

So it all makes sense.

LUDWIG: We've got lots more to cover on America's new addiction when we come back. Stick around.

ERHARDT: Well, they tell me I've had 37 surgeries and I do have quite an extensive list.

I've had a corona lift where they cut you from ear to ear and then pull the forehead up. I've had my lower lids done. I've had some Gortex put in my lips.


ERHARDT: It's going to take a few little nips and tucks, but not much more. I won't have much more.

DONAHUE: I felt -- I definitely felt good about myself. It made me feel better.

LUDWIG: Welcome back to "LARRY KING LIVE." I'm Dr. Robi Ludwig, in for Larry, and we're talking to people addicted to plastic surgery.

Steve, can you hear me?

ERHARDT: I can hear you.

LUDWIG: I think a lot of people are very curious about you, in particular, because one could say that you're even a beauty victim because you go to such extreme lengths to really change your entire look. What motivates this desire to make so many changes?

ERHARDT: Well, I'm in the beauty industry and, I think, that's basically what started me off. If one thing is good, then three things are better.

LUDWIG: Some might say that's a disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder is when you look in the mirror and you're just aware of all of your imperfections and you really can't see the things on yourself that look good and should really not change.

ERHARDT: I believe that I do have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. And, you know, I accept that. And it's not all bad because it really helps me in my business. I'm like a celebrity hairdresser, make-up artist so...

LUDWIG: How is it helpful to you to have a disorder?

ERHARDT: I not only see my imperfections, but I see everybody else's.

LUDWIG: Now, is there a way to be aware of, let's say, your clients' needs without attacking your body? You know, surgery is not the way to treat the feeling that you're imperfect.

ERHARDT: I think that I tried all of the natural ways to do it. I worked out in the gym. I just didn't build the muscle mass that I was looking for. And at least with the...

LUDWIG: But somebody with that disorder really never feels that they're good enough. Did you ever go into psychotherapy or get evaluated?

ERHARDT: I'm getting -- I'm getting very close to the end. I'm getting very close to the end.

LUDWIG: Close to the end. What does that mean, close to the end?

ERHARDT: Close to the end of cosmetic surgery where I'm just almost satisfied with the way I look.

LUDWIG: Doctor, I have a question. Because I hear him talk about he's almost close to the end. And I wonder, what is a good reason to have plastic surgery? LORENC: I have to assess whether the patient is motivated properly to undergo the procedure. What the expectations of the surgery are. They have to want to do it for themselves, of course. Nobody should tell you that you need to undergo a surgical procedure. It has to come from within. You have to be comfortable with yourself first of all.

LUDWIG: But what if it's -- what if it's coming from within and it's not a healthy place? So somebody, let's say, who has a disorder, would you treat somebody like Steve? Would you take him into your office and accept some of the changes that he wants to make at this point in his life?

LORENC: Six to 15 percent of patients seeking cosmetic surgery have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. So it's not that uncommon for our practices to see that. It is up to me, as an individual surgeon, to spot that and evaluate it.

What I do in the initial consultation is partially think about cosmetic surgery, but to a large extent, evaluate the patient's psychologically, basically.

LUDWIG: What do you look for?

LORENC: Well, I look for self-esteem, whether the patient has good self-esteem, whether they're doing the surgery for themselves. Their motivation, their surgical expectations.

In my opinion, if I see a patient who has the possibility of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, I will not recommend surgery. I will recommend a referral to a psychoanalyst or psychiatrist and get their input.

And in my practice, I use it rather frequently because, I think, in the end, it benefits the patient.

LUDWIG: Right.

Hope, would you say that you were a little bit Steve in that way? That you would look in the mirror and, I call it kind of imagined ugliness, that you just see what's ugly?

DONAHUE: I really didn't see ugliness when I looked in the mirror. I just say the potential to look better. I always wanted to look a little bit prettier, a little better.

LUDWIG: But isn't that true of everybody? And then the question is...

DONAHUE: It's absolutely true of everybody. What I think -- I personally was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

LUDWIG: Right.

DONAHUE: And I take medication for that. But I also believe that, if you are, as I am, hard-wired for addiction of any kind -- in my case it's plastic surgery -- then, you know, you become somebody who cannot control the amount of plastic surgery that they want to have.

LUDWIG: Now, Neikie, we were talking during the break and you felt a little bit uncomfortable with this notion of addiction to plastic surgery, because you don't put yourself in that category.

RENO: I don't.

LUDWIG: What category do you put yourself in?

RENO: Well, OK, when someone goes into have plastic surgery, obviously they have -- they look at themselves and they say, "You know what? I think I can handle this. This is something that I want to do."

For me, when I went in and I saw my doctor -- she was very good, very, very, good. And she looked at me and she said, "I can definitely do your nose." She said but, you know -- at that point, I was only 29, and it's hereditary in our family to have puffy eyes. And she said, "You're 29. You're really young. You really should have your eyes done."

So it was something that I thought about. And I was thankful that she did say that to me because, when I did heal and all the bandages came off, I was absolutely pleased.

LUDWIG: Do you feel that that was done for you? That they delivered what they promised you?

RENO: Yes. Absolutely. Because, when I went in, and I told her that I wanted to have my nose done, she said, "Well, if you want a little small Barbie doll nose," she said, "you can forget it. You're not going to get it and there's going to be no doctor that can give you that."

LUDWIG: So that's the sign of a credible doctor, they're being honest and tell you what to expect?

LORENC: And also conveying realistic expectations to the patient.

LUDWIG: When we come back, the length people go to in order to pay for all this plastic surgery. In Hope's case, stealing and posing nude.

That's when "LARRY KING LIVE" returns.


LUDWIG: Welcome back to "LARRY KING LIVE" and our look at America's costly and painful new addiction: plastic surgery.

I'm Dr. Robi Ludwig, in for Larry.

Hope, what led you to stealing and posing nude? And didn't you get involved with porn at one point?

DONAHUE: I did, yes, yes.

LUDWIG: Was that all to pay for plastic surgery?

DONAHUE: Originally, it was to pay for surgeries. I had maxed out my credit cards and I had three roommates and I was stealing from them, stealing cash...

LUDWIG: Did they know it? Did they find out?

DONAHUE: They eventually did find out and it's just -- I'm amazed that they never pressed charges against me because they very well could have.

And it was originally for money that I went to the pornographer and started posing for some nude photos. And -- but that was also for affirmation, when I look back on it.

LUDWIG: Affirmation of what?

DONAHUE: I was not getting what I was seeking in the plastic surgeon's office anymore, which was affirmation that I was beautiful and desirable and attractive as a woman. And going to the pornographer and taking my clothes off was another way to try and get that affirmation.

LUDWIG: And did it work?



DONAHUE: It didn't work. It worked -- I would say it was a quick fix.


DONAHUE: Just like -- just like being in the doctor's office, it was a quick fix.

LUDWIG: One of things that I was so struck by, when reading about your story, was the situation with your mother, that your mother had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.


LUDWIG: And at one point, she accused you of seducing your father?

DONAHUE: That's correct. Yes.

LUDWIG: Is that also what contributed to the plastic surgery?

DONAHUE: I believe so. Yes. Absolutely. LUDWIG: Because when I read that, I thought, wow, that's intense. What did you say when your mother accused you of trying to seduce your father?

DONAHUE: Well, I was absolutely shocked. I was very shocked.

LUDWIG: Very Freudian, by the way. But...

DONAHUE: It is very Freudian. I was absolutely shocked and devastated. And it set off a sort of chain reaction in me where I began to reject parts of myself. And I began to want to change.

LUDWIG: And, Steve, do you have any back story like that, or is it just you're in the beauty industry and, we know that fashion and plastic surgery, sometimes they merge into one?

ERHARDT: Right. I think when I was growing up, I just focused on my nose, that it was a little disproportioned. And through my teenage-hood, I focused on that. And when I came to Hollywood, it kind of became a reality that I could do something with it.

LUDWIG: Did your family say, "You're beautiful the way you are. You don't need to change anything. We love you. You're acceptable."? Did you get any of those messages?

ERHARDT: Well, my family doesn't want to hear anything about plastic surgery whatsoever.

But, you know, really what we're doing is really combating aging. I mean, I've been in the beauty for almost -- I don't know if it's 18 or 20 years. But...

LUDWIG: I'm so glad you brought that up because that's something I want to talk to the doctor about.

ERHARDT: I mean, there's no way that we can combat aging without doing something.

LUDWIG: I don't care how brilliant a plastic surgeon you are. I mean, eventually a woman is going to get older and she's going to, you know, move into her 70's, 80's, 90's. And she's going to look like an older woman. She might be attractive. And it frightens me that we have this mindset that, unless your beautiful, unless you're youthful, you can contribute to the world. What do you say to that?

LORENC: What I do is I enhance. I don't change completely a patient. I want someone who's in their 40's, 50's, after the surgery, look better, feel better about themselves. Have more self-confidence. And they do. Physically, they look better, but it's not a radical change.

I will not take a 55-year-old woman and make her look 18. I can't do that, nor should I do it. So it all has to be done within reason.

LUDWIG: What should somebody look for in a credible plastic surgeon? Because we know that, you know, a lot of surgeons out there, some of them are not licensed and it can be deadly, lethal.

LORENC: Do your homework. That's the first thing. As I mentioned in my book, do your homework, check their credentials, check board certification. Find out whether the surgeon has done a number of these procedures. Do they have hospital privileges to do this procedure if they're doing it in the office? Is the office accredited? Do your homework. That's the key.

LUDWIG: And, Neikie, how much money have you spent on plastic surgery?

RENO: I'm -- honestly, I don't even know. I've...

LUDWIG: And how did you fund it? Did somebody give you money?

RENO: In the beginning, I got a loan and then I put some on credit cards. And then after all of that, I met a man that was very wealthy and so it was at my disposal. Money was at my disposal. So it made it easy. And that...

LUDWIG: Did you choose the man because he would fund your plastic surgery?



RENO: Actually, he chose me.

LUDWIG: What do you think will happen when you get older? Do you think that you'll get back into, you know, requesting plastic surgery to try to erase time?

DONAHUE: I hope not. But I can't say that I definitely won't. I do go to therapy and that helps me to keep it under control.

I also believe that, because it is an addiction for me, I really can't go there at all. I'm in danger if I even set foot in the plastic surgeon's office.

LUDWIG: Steve, what would say was your most painful surgery to date?

ERHARDT: Truthfully, the buttock augmentation.

LUDWIG: Yes, that sounds kind of painful.


LUDWIG: What inspired you to go in that direction.

ERHARDT: I was -- Actually, my doctor told me I needed it. The only thing he told me I needed after doing my whole body.

LUDWIG: And I believe in your book you say something about you shouldn't go for a buttocks implant, that that's not a good idea? LORENC: Just to put it in perspective, out of 11.9 million cosmetic procedures last year, buttock implants only accounted for 2,100.


LORENC: So it's less that .1 percent. So it really is not a trend. In my book, I do discuss that because I think buttock implants are a separate entity.

Of course, I perform other implants, cheek implants, breast implants, even calf implants. But I think that's a separate issue. I personally do not recommend buttock implants because they tend to look unnatural.

LUDWIG: How long do they last?

LORENC: Well, they can last for your lifetime. But my practice is really all about looking natural; looking better, but natural.

LUDWIG: OK. So that's your nitch?


LUDWIG: More on the agony, internal and external, of plastic surgery addiction. What are the psychological issues that make people feel they need to do all this work on themselves. When "LARRY KING LIVE" returns.



EARHARDT: The buttock augmentation is the hardest surgery for both the doctor and the patient.

I've had two hair transplant surgeries. Bicep implants. That's an implant. And I got the pectoral implants. Right here.


LUDWIG: Welcome back to LARRY KING live, I'm Dr. Robby Ludwig in for Larry. Our topic tonight, America's new junkies, plastic surgery addicts and those who say they've managed to kick the habit, but have they?

Let's re-introduce our guest, Hope Donahue grew up a rich, beautiful Hollywood debutante, but in her 20s was stealing and posing nude to pay for more and more plastic surgeries. Her book is "Beautiful Stranger."

Neikie Reno says she's a former plastic surgery junkie. She spent $100,000 on her addiction. Steve Earhardt is known as the Human Ken Doll. This L.A. hair dresser has spent a quarter of a million dollars on 37 different plastic surgeries. And here in New York, plastic surgeon and liposuction pioneer Dr. Paul Lorenc. All right, so, Steve, I'm going to start with you. You know, it's just -- it seems like when you hear somebody has had so many surgeries to look so different, especially when I hear that your parents considered you good looking as a child, it's almost like you're trying to escape yourself.

Would you say that there's any truth to that, that you're trying to deny who you really are?

EARHARDT: I don't think so. I think that I just -- I didn't plan on having as much surgery as I've had and, you know, you're not going to believe it when I say, I don't even think that I'm a plastic surgery addict. I've just had a couple of --

LUDWIG: A couple? Thirty-seven is not a couple, but I'm not good at math.

EARHARDT: No, no, no. A couple a year. A couple procedures a year and it just turned into 36 or 37. I've been around a long time.

LUDWIG: Now, if someone were to ask you about the pull, I mean, it really, it just sounds like there is something inside of you that is longing for something, either to have a certain feeling that you're using the plastic surgery to help you out with.

EARHARDT: I mean, it's possible. I see a therapist and we discuss it, but it's really no big deal. I'm like really well adjusted and very well informed about it.

LUDWIG: What do you think would happen if, for one whole year, you didn't have any surgery at all. You didn't plan for it, you didn't think about it, what kinds of feelings do you think would come up for you? Because, really, when I hear you talk, I can't help but think that the surgery is a way to manage other issues going on in your life that are not getting dealt with in a healthier way.

EARHARDT: I could go for probably a couple or three years, as long as I had botox underneath my eyes. I mean, I'm not looking to get knocked in the head. That's what I think about surgery. I'm not looking to get knocked in the head every other month.

LUDWIG: See, it's so interesting to knee because I'm asking Steve about how would he feel if he didn't pursue the surgeries and he's not answering me. So, you know, I wonder if you also see that in your office where, people come to you, a lot of plastic surgeons are good looking doctors, you know, surgeons are well respected in the field of medicine.

Maybe because they want attention or they want to be heard, that it's not so much they want a smaller nose or a larger breast or a better buttocks, but they want the touching, the attention, the feeling that they can get when they pay a doctor.

LORENC: It certainly plays a part of it, but I think it just goes back to the issue that we discussed before, that during the initial concentration and I certainly don't operate on a patient just based on one consultation. I see them two or three times preoperatively.

LUDWIG: But do you think some of your patients have a crush on you and come because they like the idea of being recognized by you?

LORENC: Well, if you ask my mother how could they not? In all seriousness, I think that, again, that plays a certain role, but I think it's up to me as a plastic surgeon to understand that, realize that, and move on and move past it.

LUDWIG: Hope, you talked a lot about that in your book, that part of the pull for you, too, was to be validated by a doctor in a way that weren't being validated by your family.

DONAHUE: That's absolutely true and the doctor who performed most of my procedures was a very attractive man and he played that up. He could give you all of his attention, make you feel very special, very beautiful, very sexy, everything that I need.

LUDWIG: So he was very seductive?

DONAHUE: He was very seductive.

LUDWIG: Do you think he took advantage of your poor self-esteem?

DONAHUE: I think he did, but I don't blame him because if I hadn't been him, I would have found someone else.

LUDWIG: Do you think the plastic surgery for you was a way to recreate yourself and somehow distance yourself from whatever went on in your childhood?

RENO: I think so. I do. And as well as a bad marriage. I mean, I got married for all the wrong reasons.

LUDWIG: Which happens a lot with people who have difficult family lives.

RENO: Right. And I wanted out of my home. And that was my way out. And then, getting married wasn't the answer for me.

LUDWIG: Well, it's never the answer for anyone because getting married just gets you married.

RENO: Right. Right, absolutely. But, sure, I probably did get some sort of satisfaction, as you put it. All these aspects to me of my childhood, a bad marriage, I'm sure that I did get something.

LUDWIG: And it's also a way of taking control of one's life or seemingly, you know, being able to take control.

RENO: I needed to take control. I really did.

LUDWIG: I always feel that there's something that's being asked for when somebody comes in for a surgical procedure and then there's something that's not being said that's being asked for. What do you notice in terms of your clientele?

LORENC: I think that's an excellent question because that's exactly what happens. When a patient comes in to see me for a face lift, for instance, and they certainly could benefit from having their eyes done, I really let the patient take the lead. I want to hear from them their motivation, their reasons for undergoing a particular procedure, but it's also up to me to mention it in a very sort of subtle terms that, yes, in conjunction with your face lift, you would overall benefit from your eyes. Or eyelid surgery.

Just getting back to the discussion before, I think it's critical for patient or prospective patients to understand that undergoing a surgical procedure, let's say a rhinoplasty, will not have a global change in your life. It will change your look to a certain degree. It will increase your self-confidence, it will not change your life totally. And you have to understand that and keep that in mind.

LUDWIG: Much more to come with our panel of plastic surgery junkies. We'll hear what they have to say and what they think of all those makeover shows on TV when LARRY KING LIVE returns.



ANNOUNCER: Kelly's transformation included 24 procedures and extensive dental work. She was an emotional wreck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm getting ready to go into surgery.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you, too, babe.

ANNOUNCER: But ultimately got back on track. She went on to the pageant as an audience favorite.


LUDWIG: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Dr. Robby Ludwig sitting in for Larry. Our topic tonight, America's expensive and painful new addiction, plastic surgery. So, what do you think about these shows? "I Want a Famous Face," I found that really disturbing. "The Swan," "Extreme Makeover." Any thoughts about that, Hope?

DONAHUE: I think they're all really disturbing and I cannot watch them. I heard about an incident with one of the shows where the contestant, her 5-year-old son didn't recognize her when they did the reveal. And as a parent, I just found that horrible. And disturbing.

LUDWIG: Do you think it encourages somebody who might be inclined to misunderstand plastic surgery to think it's easy, to think your life will be wonderful. RENO: That's exactly what those shows do, they put out it's an easy thing. You can go in. I mean, people are having procedures done on their lunch hour and it makes it easy, but that does absolutely put out there that can you go -- first of all, the recovery time is a lot longer than what they show you. It's a lot more painful than what they show you. It's not that easy. It's really not.

LUDWIG: Do you think that's revealed enough on these shows?

LORENC: Absolutely not. I think what these shows do is they trivialize what I do, what my passion, what my life is about. Plastic surgery, aesthetic surgery is real surgery. It's anesthesia, it's a recovery time. Possible complications. You have to think about those things.

So, as far as lunch hour face lists, there are no such things.

LUDWIG: Steve, I know you're in L.A. listening to us, and I wonder if you think this is true as well, that we have this homogenized view that there's one way to look, there's one way to be. What do you think about that? Do you think that's influenced some of your choices?

EARHARDT: I've gone into plastic surgeon's office, like, say, Pamela Anderson's doctor, every single person in the room sitting in the waiting room is looking like Pamela Anderson. I think it's kind of, I think it's kind of odd.

LUDWIG: Well, it is odd and it's psychologically disturbing, too, because if you are trying so hard to look like somebody else, you're making a clear statement, I don't want to be me.

RENO: I think that people need to try to stay with the fact of looking more natural. Not looking so out there, so different.

LUDWIG: Do you think you show --

RENO: So the same as everybody else. I don't want to look like everybody else. I want to have what I have, just enhance what I have.

LORENC: I couldn't agree with you more. I call it plastic surgery light. It's an enhancement, it's still you, you look better but it's not a radical change. Getting back to the shows that you mentioned, what was interesting is that each contestant, at the end of the procedure or the show, they really all looked the same. Because the same procedures were done. And in the end, it was just a cookie cutter type of a result.

LUDWIG: Where do we get this standardized idea about what is beautiful?

LORENC: I think it goes back to self-esteem. I think we have to be comfortable in who we are and I think that's an important part of thinking.

LUDWIG: But there are cultural tendencies that point a finger and say, for example, we're not comparing ourselves to realistic images of what we should look -- and even these images out there, you know, the models will joke around, don't I look so beautiful in that picture because it's airbrushed and it doesn't look like how they look in person.

DONAHUE: I read a quote from Cindy Crawford saying even she doesn't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.

LUDWIG: That's right. And you hear a lot of them talk about that. And I think, too, that there's also the other pressure and Steve, you're in Hollywood, too, and I'm sure you see this close up, where there's the pressure to keep up with one's self.

EARHARDT: Absolutely. And another thing I want to say about the plastic surgery shows, I think that they're doing too many procedures at one time which is, in my eyes, like really dangerous.

LUDWIG: And I wonder, too, if they're preparing them for what it will be like to be so drastically different in the world because a lot of these people, their relationships break up or they don't know how to handle someone getting looks from other people. Do you find that in your practice, that patients sometimes have a difficulty adjusting?

LORENC: I think it's critical for a practice to prepare the patient. My support staff has to prepare the patient, what they're going to go through because, trust me, the first couple of days after several procedures, let's say, can be difficult. And patients have to be prepared for the black and blue, for the swelling, so it's easier. And it's up to us to do that for the patient.

LORENC: It's really up to the medical profession.

Lots more ground to cover with our panel. If you're a plastic surgery junkie, are you prone to other addictions, too? LARRY KING LIVE will be right back.



LUDWIG: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Dr. Robby Ludwig in for Larry and we're meeting some of America's newest junkies. They're addicted to plastic surgery.

So, my question, Hope, to you, since you have identified yourself as addicted, do you suffer from other addictions like any food addiction, shopping addictions, drug, alcohol addiction sentence

DONAHUE: Yes, yes. I have been treated for chemical addictions. To drugs and alcohol. So, as I said before, I think in a person like myself, who is hard-wired to be a addicted.

LUDWIG: And poly-addicted, addicted to several different substances.

DONAHUE: Exactly, exactly. LUDWIG: So, in your case you were --

DONAHUE: A serial addiction for myself and I have to be really careful about that.

LUDWIG: Is this in your family?

DONAHUE: Alcoholism runs in the family, yes. Very much so. Very much so.

LUDWIG: Now, Neikie, I know you don't feel that you're addicted, but did you notice, when you are focused on your looks, did you notice having any eating issues, shopping issues, drug, alcohol addictions?

RENO: Actually, I have no -- I think I'm a very strong individual. I don't feel that I have any addictions. At all. Again, the money was at my disposal. It was easy.

LUDWIG: What if it wasn't? What would you have done to get it?

RENO: You know, that's a very good question. To what extreme after I got my nose and eyes done and I recovered from that, I can't say.

LUDWIG: How about you, Steve, what do you think?

EARHARDT: I don't have any addictions. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I like things nice and neat and tidy and pretty. And --

LUDWIG: You like things perfect. That may be the issue.

EARHARDT: I like things perfect.

LUDWIG: That may be the issue.

Doctor, what do you notice in terms of people who you would diagnose as having an obsessive-compulsive disorder related to their body? Have you noticed that they've had other addictions because I'm sure you have to prescribe pain killers after these surgeries.

LORENC: I do, for certain procedures or really for the majority of the procedures. I think at least in my practice, it's very rare that patients become addicted. And in my practice, it's certainly less than the six to 15 percent that I quoted before. It's rare.

LUDWIG: You said something very interesting during our break that you work very closely with a psychiatrist.

LORENC: I think it's beneficial, again, to the patient. There any questions, refer them to a psychiatrist or psychologist. And get a sense of their opinion and it's really a joint effort. And I think it just makes it so much easier and smoother for the patient if do you that.

LUDWIG: What would a psychiatrist tell you that would get you to say, you know what, you're just not ready for surgery right now? LORENC: Well, my thinking has always been, if I enlist a consultant, I have to believe in what the consultant tells me, whether it's an internist or psychiatrist. So if a psychiatrist says to me, and it has happened on a couple of occasions, I wouldn't recommend not do the surgery, I will not do the surgery. If they recommend therapy, let's go through the therapy first and then think about the surgery.

LUDWIG: I'm just wondering in terms of perhaps it's because I'm just aware of getting older, everybody gets older. Is there anything we can do as a society to really change our mindset on that we don't struggle and find ourselves in this battle where once we get old we're not going to like ourselves?

LORENC: I think you have to be comfortable with who you are. Obviously, it goes without saying, exercise, eat right, take care of yourself. We live longer. That's great. Be comfortable with who you are. Age is great. Aging gracefully is wonderful. Be acceptant of that.

LUDWIG: Back with our remaining minutes with America's new addiction. We'll ask our guests for their regrets and what's next for them when LARRY KING LIVE returns in a most.


LUDWIG: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Dr. Robby Ludwig, in for Larry King. We've spent this last hour learning about America's new junkies, plastic surgery addicts.

Just wondering about regrets because everybody has regrets. Hope, I'm going to start with you.

DONAHUE: I try not to have any regrets. If I had it to do over again, I would not do the surgeries, but I feel I've grown through my mistakes.

LUDWIG: And you have children, too. You have four?

DONAHUE: Four children.

LUDWIG: You have any girls?

DONAHUE: Yes, I have one little girl and she looks exactly the way I did when I was a little girl. So I honestly don't know how I'm going to approach the subject of my changed appearance with her.

LUDWIG: Maybe some of the regrets can get channeled into terms of how you can help your daughter feel good about herself.

DONAHUE: Absolutely. I always try because there's such a natural thing to say to a cute little girl, she's so pretty.


DONAHUE: People always say that. I say that to my daughter, but I always try to add and you're so smart and talented. LUDWIG: So she can identify herself as being more than just pretty.

Her looks and so smart. How about you, Neikie, any regrets?

RENO: I don't. I don't have any regrets. No.

LUDWIG: How about you, Steve, any regrets?

EARHARDT: I don't any regrets and I probably wouldn't change a thing. One thing I want to tell everybody is surgeries don't last forever. I think everybody thinks that it's a permanent fix. Face lifts fall. Eyelids droop, and probably over the years, again, I'm probably have to get my eyes done again.

LUDWIG: So you're preparing for what will happen in the future if anything falls or droops. Am I hearing you correctly?

EARHARDT: I'm prepared. But I just want everybody to know that I don't think that surgeries lasts really over five, ten years at the moment.

LUDWIG: Ask the doctor here. Is that true?

LORENC: It really depends on the procedure. Certainly, a real face lift will last more than ten years, routinely. Something like botox, for instance, lasts at best six months.

LUDWIG: So you can't have any permanent damage from something like botox?

LORENC: That's not true, either. That's very, very, very rare.

LUDWIG: Okay. What do you want people to know from your story? What message do you want to send people?

DONAHUE: I want to send a message most of all to teenage girls and I want them to know that there's so much more to them than how they look. And even though we're bombarded by these images of perfect women, perfect models, beautiful actresses, that's not what is really important and not what gives you your self-esteem.

LUDWIG: What does?

DONAHUE: Your talents.

LUDWIG: What about you, Neikie?

RENO: I have to agree with Hope, what she said. On the subject of plastic surgery, that it is painful. The recovery time is much longer than what they put on all these shows.

Finding a good doctor is a major key to the end results, and just loving yourself.

LUDWIG: How about you, Steve in what do you want people to know other than your face lift can fall?

EARHARDT: I want everybody to consult a great hairstylist and makeup artist first. It can do the same thing as plastic surgery.

LUDWIG: Oh, that's a great tip.

EARHARDT: Try hair and makeup by the very best that you can find.

LUDWIG: So, try the nonsurgical route perhaps first and make yourself feel better in that way.

EARHARDT: Correct.

LUDWIG: And then if you need to go a step farther, take it from there?


LUDWIG: That's our show for tonight. I want to thank all of our guests, Hope Donahue, Neikie Reno, Steve Earhardt, the Human Ken Doll and Dr. Paul Lorenc.

And thank you Larry for letting me sit here. Stay tuned now for more news on your most trusted name in news, CNN.


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