Surgery left Aylin feeling ‘deformed’

By Aisha Dow, Sunday Age

24th September, 2023

Standing in a room as a doctor filmed her naked body for TikTok was one of the last things Aylin Senkul says she remembers before she underwent major cosmetic surgery at the clinic of celebrity surgeon Daniel Lanzer.

Senkul, a mother of five from Melbourne’s north, says she was booked in to have six procedures in April 2021 under the care of Lanzer’s associate, Dr Daniel Aronov, then the most followed cosmetic surgeon on TikTok, with 13 million followers.

‘‘[Aronov] kept saying, ‘Well, this is my lovely patient. She’s such and such years old’ … and he’s pointing out what I’m going to get done,’’ recalled the 56-year-old. ‘‘They kept stuffing up the TikTok, so they started over a few times, but I’m just standing there, naked.’’

Lanzer, who had previously consulted with Senkul, also spoke to her before the surgery. She tried to tell him about a complication she’d experienced after a previous medical procedure and how she wanted her breasts and bottom to look.

But Senkul said she felt he wasn’t listening. ‘‘[Lanzer said:]We’ll see you in surgery and when you wake up you’re going to be beautiful.’’

On her list of procedures were eyelid surgery (a blepharoplasty), ‘‘360 liposuction’’ to remove fat from both front and back of the body, liposuction under the chin, a Brazilian butt lift (transfer of fat to the bottom), as well as a breast and nipple reduction.

Senkul’s overriding memory after she woke up from the major surgery was pain. When she was discharged from the Malvern clinic later that day, she said she was passing in and out of consciousness. Her husband had to carry her to the car, where she was laid out in the back. ‘‘Every time he went on a bump …my eyes would just open up. I was screaming in pain,’’ she said. But the drive home would be only the start of Senkul’s nightmare.

‘‘This is going to make me cry,’’ she said, listing the raft of physical and mental side effects she said were caused by the surgery. ‘‘So my body didn’t turn out the way they promised, or explained it would.’’ Senkul is one of more than 1000 former patients of Lanzer and six of his associates includingAronov who are registered with a class action in the Victorian Supreme Court led by Maddens Lawyers. The key defendants are due to file their defences by the end of next month.

Principal lawyer Kathryn Emeny said many of her clients had reported receiving insufficient pain relief, scarring, deformities, numbness, restricted movement and chronic pain. Before her surgery, Senkul said she and her husband had carefully researched different cosmetic surgeons and felt reassured by the fact that Lanzer had his own TV show. They were also impressed with the before and after pictures posted to his Instagram account.

But Senkul said her before and after photos were nothing like the ones she saw on social media. ‘‘As you can see, there is no difference whatsoever,’’ she said. Senkul said she was left with lasting side effects.

She said one of her breasts was now ‘‘significantly’’ larger than the other, her stomach was lumpy, and she had pink lines on her back and waist, numbness around her bottom and scarring around her eyelids.

New symptoms continued to emerge, she said. ‘‘I have a lot of sharp pain around my back and my waist, it feels like a knife is going in… and that happens about four or five times a day,’’ Senkul said. ‘‘My mental state is really bad … I [feel] deformed. And we don’t have enough money to go back to a doctor and say, please can you fix all this?’’

A lawyer for Lanzer declined to comment on the case.

Aronov, a general practitioner, is still registered but with conditions, including that he must only practice as a general practitioner and not undertake any cosmetic or surgical procedures. His lawyer did not return calls.

Dr Tim Edwards, president of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: ‘‘The cosmetic cowboys are still out there operating because at the end of the day, the regulator didn’t do what the regulator should have done, which is to make sure that this major surgery is done by specialist registered surgeons.’’



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