Friday, March 25, 2011

Muammar Gadhafi's Plastic Surgeon Speaks

Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi is not only crazy as hell, he's vain, too. Dr. Liacyr Ribeiro, a Brazilian plastic surgeon, says in 1995 he operated on the Libyan dictator in a secretive four-hour procedure in which he removed fat from Gadhafi's belly and injecting it into his wrinkled face because Gadhafi thought a facelift would be too noticeable. The Libyan leader, who was 53 at the time, also got hair plugs.
A surgeon with an international reputation, the 70-year-old Ribeiro has written two books on plastic surgery and taken part in conferences around the world on the topic. It was at one such gathering, in May 1994 in Tripoli, that Ribeiro spoke about his specialty, cosmetic breast surgery. Afterward, a Libyan official identified as Mohamed Zaid "came up to me and said he wanted me to meet someone who Libyans love very much," Ribeiro said. "Because of my specialty, I thought he was going to introduce me to his wife." Instead, Zaid drove Ribeiro to a house surrounded by armed guards. "Zaid and I were taken to a library located underneath a tent set up inside the house, and there he told me that he wanted me to examine Gadhafi," Ribeiro said. A few minutes later, the Libyan leader, wearing a long white tunic, entered the room, "shook my hand and greeted me, speaking perfect English." "He was an extremely polite, intelligent, cordial and soft-spoken person who quickly told me what he wanted and why," Ribeiro said. Gadhafi wanted an immediate operation, but Ribeiro needed a surgical team and the procedure was scheduled for January 1995. It began at 2 a.m. in Gadhafi's bunker, which "had two fully equipped and very modern operating rooms, a gym and a swimming pool," Ribeiro said. "He insisted on local anesthesia saying he wanted to remain alert," the doctor added. "He was a very calm patient." Sao Paulo-based plastic surgeon Dr. Fabio Naccache confirmed to the AP that he was part of the team and performed a hair transplant on the Libyan leader. About halfway through, Gadhafi said he was hungry. "Hamburgers were brought in for all and surgery was interrupted for several minutes while we ate," the surgeon said. Afterward, Zaid handed Ribeiro an envelope "full of U.S. dollars and Swiss francs." He would not say how much money it contained. "All I can say is that it was more than I would charge for my services in Brazil," he said. The doctor stayed in Tripoli for 10 days while Gadhafi recovered. Ribeiro said he assumes Gadhafi turned to him because Libyan surgeons were either "incapable of doing what I did or too scared that he would die on the operating table."
Dr Ribeiro told Gadhafi that the effects of the operation would wear off over time and he needed a tune-up in five years. Five years ago, Gadhafi called requesting more surgery, but the doctor was unavailable. "They never called me again," he said. Sidebar: The photo above was taken in 1994. Dr Ribeiro is pictured, right, alongside Gadhafi.)
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