An Australian socialite ‘living a nightmare’ after a ‘botched’ cosmetic procedure by controversial doctor Danny Lanzer has finally had the damage repaired in Colombia.
Anthony Hess, 40, claimed the liposuction surgery in 2013 left him looking like a ‘freak show’ for eight years and so ashamed of his body he hid or edited his abs in shirtless photos.
Dr Lanzer surrendered his medical licence on December 2 and agreed to stop practising after an avalanche of complaints about his work.
Hess said the procedure damaged his abdominal wall and gave him internal scarring and fibrosis resulting in unnatural lines across his abdomen.
Now living in Los Angeles, where he famously unknowingly infected at least 60 people with Covid in July despite being vaccinated, Hess flew to Cartagena in Colombia for the corrective surgery by Dr Carlos Zuleta Bechara.
‘I have been living a nightmare since my surgery with Danny and was a misery. It was the worst decision of my life,’ Hess told Daily Mail Australia.
Anthony Hess, 40, (pictured with a friend) was so ashamed of his body after ‘botched’ surgery by Danny Lanzer he admitted to airbrushing his abs in shirtless photos like this one
‘I am ecstatic that Dr Carlos was able to repair the damage and I can live a normal life without looking like a freak show,’ Anthony said
Dr Lanzer surrendered his medical licence on December 2 and agreed to stop practicing after an avalanche of complaints about his work
‘I thought I’d never be normal again, I had all this scarring, puckering and stretched skin.
‘I am ecstatic that Dr Carlos was able to repair the damage and I can live a normal life without looking like a freak show.’
Dr Lanzer defended his surgery in emails to Daily Mail Australia, claiming the result was good until Hess gained large muscle mass that drastically altered his body type.
Hess had the original surgery with Dr Lanzer in June 2013 after he gained weight while recovering from rupturing his ACL 10 months earlier.
The extra kilos affected his work as a shirtless waiter, spray tan model, and brand ambassador so he opted for a quick fix – which he soon regretted.
A complaint to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency in June 2014 claimed Dr Lanzer convinced Hess to have a more invasive procedure that turned out to be unsuited to his body.
Hess also wrote that he asked Dr Lanzer if he would be better off going to a Bali ‘fat farm’ to lose the weight, but was told liposuction was his best option.
Hess flew to Cartagena in Colombia for the corrective surgery by Dr Carlos Zuleta Bechara (pictured together a few days after the surgery)
Hess pictured in Crown Towers with best friends turned mortal enemy Married At First Sight star Stacey Hampton in a photo where he Photoshopped his abs to look ‘normal’
He claimed that despite promises of minimal post-op pain, it was ‘the most excruciating pain of his life’.
‘I thought I was going to die,’ he wrote in the complaint compiled by AHPRA staffer Clare Morgan.
The complaint continued: ‘When he went home after the procedure, Mr Hess said he was leaking blood everywhere, every towel and sheet he had was filled with blood.
‘Mr Hess said he had to wear adult nappies to absorb the blood. Mr Hess had friends over and they had to help Mr Hess clean up the blood.’
Dr Bechara said it was one of the worst ‘botched’ surgeries he had ever seen and he had to ‘stitch the abdomen back together’.
‘The problem was all the internal scaring, the abdominal wall had to be repaired,’ he said through a translator.
‘There was the unnatural result with all the skin puckering and canals where fat was sucked out around the abs to give the look of “abs”.’
Hess after waking up from surgery in Colombia, where he had the corrective surgery
Dr Lanzer also made 18 incisions in Hess’ torso that turned into noticeable scars, whereas the recent surgery needed just four much less noticeable ones.
Modelling work dried up after the surgery due to the disfigurement of his abdomen and people often made hurtful comments about his appearance.
‘Mr Hess is now depressed and has been suicidal because he says he looks bad,’ the AHPRA complaint read.
‘He does not go out because he does not like the way he looks, the modelling agency does not want to use him anymore due to his scarring.’
Hess repeatedly complained about lumps, loose skin, disfigurement, and scarring to Dr Lanzer and in March 2014 was refunded $7,000.
Hess got the original surgery with Dr Lanzer in June 2013 after he gained weight while recovering from rupturing his ACL 10 months earlier (pictured just before the operation)
The true appearance of Hess’ chest before the corrective surgery (left) and a Photoshopped image he presented to the world
The complaint listed Melbourne doctors Ashley Granot and Bryan Mendelson as having assessed his surgery and been appalled by the results.
Unable to work as a model or promoter, Hess turned to prostitution to make ends meet, and was uncomfortable going to the beach or taking his shirt off.
‘Mr Hess says his body has been ruined by Dr Lanzer and, he has scars everywhere, he has internal lumpiness that does not heal,’ the complaint concluded.
Hess moved from Australia to Los Angeles last year after a brawl with Mongols bikie boss Toby Mitchell, a longtime friend.
Having failed in negotiations with Dr Lanzer about corrective surgery, he flew to Colombia to see Dr Bechara.
After going under the knife he spent several days recovering in the clinic and then a respite apartment he shared with another patient.
Hess (centre) at a bodybuilding competition where he was the judge, used in his AHPRA complaint to illustrate how deformed his abs wore compared to ‘normal’ ones
Another view of how Hess’ abs looked unnatural just months after the 2013 surgery
Dr Bechara explained that he used Renuvion, formerly known as J plasma, to straighten out Hess’ skin and give it more natural look.
It uses helium gas and radiofrequency energy to create cold helium plasma, which is injected and used to treat the underside of the skin.
The ionized gas stimulates collagen production, immediately tightening the skin.
‘The Renuvion smoothed all the loose and damaged skin, and a cannula was used to even out all the fat that Dr Lanzer missed,’ he said.
‘It was a difficult but achievable process and I used every instrument to give the natural result with no permanent scaring.’
Hess plans to later have laser treatment in Beverly Hills to treat the scars left over from the 2013 surgery.
He also must have regular deep tissue massages for months to remove remaining fibrosis from his torso.
Dr Bechara (pictured) explained that he used Renuvion, formerly known as J plasma, treatment to straighten out Hess’ skin and give it more natural look
Dr Lanzer claimed Hess was initially happy with the surgery and sent him photos like this one as he gushed about its results but then used steroids to bulk up, which changed his body in a way that caused problems for the procedure
‘He was very happy initially. I have great photos of him and he loved sending me photos of himself topless. He used to pose topless with his work,’ Dr Lanzer said
Dr Lanzer claimed Hess was initially happy with the surgery but then used steroids to bulk up, which changed his body in a way that caused problems for the procedure.
‘He was very happy initially. I have great photos of him and he loved sending me photos of himself topless. He used to pose topless with his work,’ he said.
‘Intentionally putting on about 30kg with hormones totally changes the small liposculpture he had nine years ago on his stomach.’
In a May 13, 2020, email to Hess, Dr Lanzer also blamed Hess’ decision to bulk up after the surgery for the results.
‘[Gaining large amounts of muscle] caused further visceral deep fat and pushes out the muscle,’ he wrote.
‘The fine six pack on your slim body does not look the same on a big body.’
Dr Lanzer wrote that he never took responsibility for Hess’ displeasure with the surgery, and only gave him a refund as a gesture of goodwill.
‘When we met with your friend in 2014 you did not look so bad but my heart went out to you and I took the noble step of giving you a full refund,’ he wrote.
‘I recall clearly in room 3 upstairs how you thanked me and shook my hand.’
Dr Lanzer claimed to have spent $15,000 in legal fees defending himself against the AHPRA complaint, which was eventually dismissed.
Who is Anthony Hess?
Anthony Hess is a controversial Australian socialite, now in Los Angeles with a seemingly never-ending appetite for drama.
He is best known for his ill-fated friendship with Married At First Sight star Stacey Hampton and defeating Sydney PR queen Roxy Jacenko in court.
The party animal with a nose for trouble got special permission to leave Australia last October after he was repeatedly hit in the face by Mongols bikie president Mitchell.
Hess called the bashing a ‘drunken misunderstanding between mates’ sparked by Hampton spreading false rumours that he called Mitchell a ‘dog and a c**t’, and asked for the charges to be dropped.
Police prosecuted Mitchell for the assault anyway, even after Hess flew to LA to avoid being questioned over the brawl.
Hess was hit with a restraining order by prominent PR maven Ms Jacenko in 2019, but had it overturned in court in February 2020.
Ms Jacenko accused him of spraying ‘Roxy is a c**t’ on her office wall in Sydney’s Paddington after an altercation at one of her speaking events.
Roxy Jacenko accused Hess of spraying ‘Roxy is a c**t’ on her office wall in Sydney’s Paddington after an altercation at one of her speaking events
Hess denied the vandalism saying ‘gay guys don’t do graffiti’ and the court agreed, but he was last month fined $2,400 after new video evidence was discovered.
His falling out with former BFF Hampton was no less dramatic with photos of the pair shopping last year critical to getting the MAFS favourite fined for breaching quarantine rules.
Since their messy parting of way they have not missed an opportunity to snipe at each other on social media.
In July he unknowingly spread the Delta strain of coronavirus to at least 60 people in a single weekend during a party bender in Los Angeles
Danny Lanzer: From TikTok super-surgeon to retiring under a cloud
Dr Lanzer spent 30 years promoting himself as one of the world’s top cosmetic surgeons and amassing an estimated $100 million fortune.
He used slick advertising, reality TV appearances, and built an audience of more than five million followers on TikTok and 300,000 on Instagram.
But in just a few weeks it all came crashing down after an investigation by ABC’s Four Corners, the Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age.
The report, and more that followed in the Australian media, uncovered allegations of serious breaches of hygiene and safety standards.
More than 100 former patients came forward to share their stories of suffering extreme pain, poor work that needed corrective surgery, and resulting psychological distress.
The allegations prompted an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and a review of the entire cosmetic surgery industry,
Dr Lanzer spent 30 years promoting himself as one of the world’s top cosmetic surgeons and amassing an estimated $100 million fortune
Dr Lanzer vowed to defend himself, but after an exodus of staff and baulking investors, he declared he was retired and surrendered his licence.
His enormous social media platforms were almost overnight shut down, all traces of him scrubbed from the clinic, and many outlets shut down.
However, AHPRA vowed Dr Lanzer’s decision to surrender his registration would not stop it from continuing its investigation.
‘We are continuing our investigations into Dr Lanzer’s conduct and performance and should they result in a regulatory outcome, this would be considered if he was ever to seek to reapply for registration in the future,’ it said.
One of the most shocking scenes caught on video showed two surgeons, neither of whom was Dr Lanzer, thrusting cannulas in and out of an unconscious male patient during a liposuction procedure, while dancing to Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’.
Another attendant dances next to the operating table while the woman filming the scene laughs hysterically.
One of the most shocking scenes caught on video showed two surgeons thrusting cannulas in and out of an unconscious male patient during a liposuction procedure, while dancing to Dolly Parton ‘s ‘Jolene’
The producers asked Mark Ashton, clinical professor of surgery at University of Melbourne and former president of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, to comment on the video,
‘These two – I’m not even going to call them surgeons – these two gentlemen, are not even watching where the tip of the cannula is going,’ he observed.
‘It is dangerous, disrespectful. It is bewildering,
Another video Dr Lanzer posted to social media shows him talking to the camera while he moves a large cannula in and out of a patient.
‘In the four sentences I saw Dr Lanzer talk to the camera then, he didn’t have any idea where the tip of that cannula was,’ Dr Ashton said.
‘You need to visually, directly look at where the tip of the cannula is, at all times. That’s surgery 101 that you learn in the first week of training.
‘This is incredibly dangerous.’
Two specialist plastic surgeons, Dr Craig Rubinstein and Dr Patrick Briggs, also weighed in on Dr Lanzer’s method.
‘One of the risks of liposuction is penetration through the abdomen into other organs, such as liver, kidney and even an aorta.
‘To be using a cannula, not actually watching where the cannula is, is dangerous.’
Other former patients complained to the program about the lasting effects of the cosmetic work they had received at one of Dr Lanzer’s clinics.
A nurse, Kathy Hubble, claimed she was diagnosed with a serious bacterial infection, cellulitis, after two procedures over two days at Dr Lanzer’s Sydney clinic.
Four Corners played audio messages from Dr Lanzer to staff in which he stressed they were never to admit fault in the face of a complaint by a client.
‘Never, ever, ever, not slightly ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever admit to a patient that something’s bad or wrong,’ he said in the message.
‘They’ll use it against you 100 times for the rest of your life.
‘Never, ever, ever, ever own up to anything.’
He also told staff not to send clients to a GP because it’s ‘the worst possible thing you can do … and it always creates problems’.