Doctors' NotesLifestyle

Nip and Tuck: Celebrity Plastic Surgery

Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents and husband and wife physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via digitalpitches@ebony.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 


This year marks a record number of African Americans being nominated for Emmy awards. While the live event is scheduled to air Sunday, September 20th at 8pm ET, celebrities are preparing their bodies now for their red carpet debut. No longer considered taboo in our community, many are relying on body enhancements to get the flawless red carpet look we see.

Now becoming a trend not only for top celebrities, but for the community as a whole, many African Americans are choosing to go under the knife.  In fact, African Americans make up almost 10% of all plastic surgery procedures each year, with us having had more than 1.2 million plastic surgery procedures in 2013.

Here dishing the scoop on the latest plastic surgery trends is Dr. Barry DiBernardo, plastic surgeon to the stars.

JET: We know the trend is “less is more” in Hollywood and many of our favorite celebrities are baring it all. Tell us the latest trick celebrities are using to prep for the 67th Emmy Awards to ensure they are red carpet ready?

Dr. DiBernardo: Yes, the trend is that more skin is showing. Face and neck is normal, but hands are being shown more. They now have “mani-cams” where they are looking at the nails, but you are seeing the aging hands through the loss of plumpness, and more tendons and veins. That can give your age away.

JET: Plastic surgery seems to be gaining in popularity in the Black community—not just among celebrities, but also the general public. Why the rise in popularity over the last several years?

Dr. DiBernardo: It used to be only surgeries, but now in recent years we have done a lot of work with non-surgical devices. So this trend has made it easier to do from a cost standpoint. Most people can’t take a lot of time off from work so if you do non-surgical treatments, you can have it done and be on your way. This has opened us up to a much larger population.

JET: We have often been told that a lot of enhancements are not appropriate for African American skin tones and features. Are there some procedures and enhancements that are in fact safe for African Americans?

Dr. DiBernardo: Years ago, our lasers and treatments worked on the surface of the skin and took layers off and we always had to worry about the pigmentation—either getting reduced pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation. But that’s not the case anymore. Most of the work we are doing bypasses that layer altogether. We’re using fibers under the skin, radio frequency treatments under the surface, and even the noninvasive fat removal devices are working deeper. So it opens it up to any skin type or color.

JET: We typically think of women as the standard candidate for plastic surgery enhancements, but would you say that it is growing in popularity among men as well?

Dr. DiBernardo: That’s definitely the case. Several years ago there were 80% women in many practices, now men want to look good too. We’re seeing almost sometimes 50% men in the practice. They are coming in for their skin to look good, hair transplants, body contouring. The men want to look good too.

JET: What’s a good place to start when looking for a plastic surgeon?

Dr. DiBernardo: To find a board certified aesthetic plastic surgeon in your area, please visit the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors:

Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!