Does this image show a man looking 30 years younger as a result of plastic surgery in Turkey?

By June 6, 2024 Health, Lifestyle

We came across viral and trending posts on the following topic on the social media sites Instagram and X:

According to the posts, a European man had undergone extensive cosmetic surgery in Turkey, resulting in a drastically different appearance that made him look ’30 years younger’, according to social media commentators.

The viral post had even caught the attention of newspapers, such as the UK tabloid The Mirror and the Indian news publication NDTV.

According to the Mirror article, the images were from the Turkish cosmetic surgery clinic Este Med Istanbul. The article quoted Este Med’s post on Instagram, which said the clinics surgeons had performed ‘facelift, necklift, lower eyelid blepharoplasty, upper blepharoplasty, buccal fat removal, rhinoplasty, and hair transplant procedures on our patient, Michael’.

The Mirror article noted enthusiastic responses on social media, with many commentators expressing eagerness to travel to Turkey when older for surgery. Turkey has become a popular destination for plastic surgery in recent years, and it welcomed 1.2 million British medical tourists in 2022.

A Skin-deep Facade

While several results on search engines revealed similar results to The Mirror and NDTV articles, we found an article in the Middle East Eye, a UK-based independent news organisation that focuses on the Middle East, which claimed the images of the transformation were fake.

The article referred to an interview on the Turkish TV channel Ekol TV, which had tracked down the younger-looking man from the images.

In the interview, the man said that his name was Engin Demir and that he was a Turkish citizen and that he had undergone a single rhinoplasty surgery with the Este Med clinic four years prior.

However, he emphasised that he was not the older man in the image. ‘I am not the person in this news. I did not have a face transplant’, Demir said.

This contradicts the information in the clinic’s post, which describes the two images as being those of the same tourist named Michael.

These reports were corroborated by the independent news site Surgical Times, which focuses on news in the plastic surgery industry. The Surgical Times added that Demir had filed a legal complaint against the clinic, and pointed out that the clinic had faced allegations of digital alterations of its images in the past.

Cosmetic surgeons interviewed by the British tabloid The Daily Mail suggested that the ‘transformation’ would have either been impossible or required far more procedures, and that other ‘transformation’ images on the clinic’s profile also appeared possibly to be of two different people or highly edited.

When we visited the Instagram page of Este Med (@estemedinstanbultr), we noted that the page was no longer in use. We found that the clinic had changed its social profile name to @esteistanbultr, and that the viral image of the two men also appears to have been deleted. Este Med’s profile remains accessible with the same original handle on TikTok, but we could not find the viral image on this profile either.

Despite the report in the Turkish news, the Mirror and NDTV articles had yet to issue a correction or edit to note that the image of the transformation had been found to be fake.

The viral images of the two men highlight the dangers of social media and its ability to influence people through editing techniques and deceptive use of images, particularly in the form of content that depicts dramatic physical transformations.

As such, it is false that the images show a tourist looking 30 years younger as a result of cosmetic surgery in Turkey.

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