Plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman started Snapchatting his surgeries to educate the public, and now has over one million viewers a day

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated December 16, 2016 04:31 PM
Matthew Schulman

These days you can use Snapchat to peek into Khloe Kardashian’s workouts, see Jessica Alba play with her kids, and — thanks to Dr. Matthew Schulman — watch a plastic surgeon at work.

The New York City board-certified plastic surgeon has over one million viewers a day view his Snapchat Stories @nycplasticsurg, which document a day in his life of tummy tucks, breast lifts and nose jobs.

Dr. Schulman says he enjoys giving people a direct view into his operating room.

“They’re seeing things as it’s actually happening,” he tells PEOPLE. “They watch me and they know me, they know my staff. It’s a way for people to decide if I’m the right doctor for them. And then a lot of people watch me who have no intention of me being their surgeon, but they’re educated about the procedure.”

And it benefits the patients, too. Dr. Schulman says that 95 percent of the people that come in want to have their operation Snapchatted so they can watch and follow along after. And the entire procedure is kept private, with each patient signing explicit consent forms.

“Everyone is completely anonymous,” he says. “We don’t give their names, we don’t show their face. If they have identifying tattoos we cover them up. And the beauty of Snapchat is whatever’s filmed is gone in 24 hours. It disappears.”

The short shelf life of Snapchat is one of the main appeals for Dr. Schulman. He considered using other social media platforms like Facebook Live or Instagram to document his surgeries, but preferred Snapchat because they don’t over regulate his posts.

“The problem with the other platforms is that they really censor the content. So on Instagram you can’t show any nudity. They consider nipples to be nudity, they also consider a butt crack to be nudity. So it’s very common for a plastic surgeons’ account to be frozen, or just have a lot of content taken down. If you show a lot of blood they take it down. On Snapchat anything goes.”

Dr. Schulman hopes that his Snapchat shows people that plastic surgery is about more than vapid looks.

“It’s about paying it forward and educating the public and destigmatizing plastic surgery,” he says. “People think plastic surgery is just what they see on TV. This isn’t Extreme Makeover, this isn’t Botched. It’s very different.”

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And while everyone is talking about the new Snapchat Spectacles, which enable users to record videos using a pair of wireless glasses, Dr. Schulman says he’ll stick with having an assistant filming the procedure.

“At first I thought it would be really cool to use, but I think the only way to record is to press a button on the side of the glasses, and that doesn’t really work for me.”