Sao Paulo — A Brazilian plastic surgeon says he performed aesthetic procedures on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 1995, including harvesting fat from Gadhafi’s belly and injecting it into his face to smooth wrinkles, the Associated Press reports.
Liacyr Ribeiro, M.D., who has authored two books on plastic surgery, says he was in Tripoli, Libya, in 1994 to lecture at an international conference. After his presentation, a Libyan official approached him and “said he wanted me to meet someone who Libyans love very much,” Dr. Ribeiro told the AP.
That turned out to be Gadhafi.
“(Gadhafi) told me that he had been in power for 25 years at that time, and that he did not want the young people of his nation to see him as an old man,” Dr. Ribeiro says. “I recommended a facelift, but he refused.”
Concerned that a facelift would be too noticeable, Gadhafi opted for the less radical procedure. He also received hair plugs.
The Libyan dictator insisted on using local anesthesia and interrupted surgery midway to eat a hamburger.
“I warned Gadhafi that the effects of the operation I performed would last for about five years, that it had an expiration date after which the skin would sag and the wrinkles would reappear,” Dr. Ribeiro told the AP. “He said he would call me if he needed me to come back.”
Dr. Ribeiro got that call about 10 years after the surgery, but could not follow up due to a family obligation. He says that was the last he heard from Gadhafi or his people.
The doctor told the AP he is speaking out now only to provide insight into a man about whom little is known, not to boast.
“Gadhafi is not looking very good these days,” he says. “To let potential patients know that I operated on him would be counterproductive.”