What is the ‘criminal’ plastic surgery in The Tinder Swindler and is it real?

Ayleen says Simon wanted to change his cheekbones, lips and nose but was refused by the plastic surgeon

Netflix’s newest documentary The Tinder Swindler is absolutely wild. In it Ayleen, who was the girlfriend of Simon Leviev and eventually helped the authorities catch him, says she went to visit Simon where he was hiding in Prague after the news broke. She says he took her to a plastic surgeon’s office and wanted to change his face so he wouldn’t be recognised from the Tinder Swindler news article, but was refused the plastic surgery he wanted to get as the surgeon says it’s what only a “criminal” would get.

Ayleen says: “He wanted to change his cheekbones, his nose, his lips, maybe his chin. And the plastic surgeon says ‘I’m sorry but I’m not going to do this surgery because only criminals want this.” But is this “criminal plastic surgery” in The Tinder Swindler real, and what even is it? The Tab spoke to cosmetic surgeon Ekrem Keskin at Vera Clinic to find out.

the tinder swindler, criminal plastic surgery, simon leviev, is it real

Ayleen in The Tinder Swindler, via Netflix

What is ‘criminal plastic surgery’, like in The Tinder Swindler?

Ekrem Keskin said criminals can get surgery and treatments to drastically change their faces, and therefore become less recognisable – and said this is a procedure that would not be recommended and clients motivations would be assessed before hand.

Speaking to The Tab, Ekrem said: “Criminal surgery is when criminals undergo plastic surgery treatments to change the appearance of their face such as botox, filler, and further enhancing treatments. The treatments can cause their facial structures to drastically change and therefore will make this more difficult to be recognised. Ultimately, this is a procedure I do not recommend and at Vera Clinic we would not be associated in this type of practice and ensure to thoroughly assess clients motivations for surgery beforehand.

“However, this is something that has grown in popularity in TV and film, as portrayed in the Netflix hit film The Tinder Swindler, and in the 2010 thriller The Tourist. The film features Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, who gaze at each other in dead-eyed. But he had plastic surgery, so she didn’t recognise him.”

Have any criminals actually had this plastic surgery?

Real life criminals have used plastic surgery to attempt to evade capture. In 1997, drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes died of complications during an extensive plastic surgery operation he decided to undergo to try and evade capture. Drug cartel boss Luiz Carlos da Rocha reportedly used plastic surgery over 30 years to evade the police before his arrest.

Tatsuya Ichihashi, who was accused of murder, said he cut off his lower lip with scissors, as well as digging two moles out of his cheek and giving himself a DIY nose job, to try and cover his identity.

The Tinder Swindler is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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Featured image via Netflix / Instagram