On the surface they seem unlikely partners in the business of plastic surgery: one a veteran in his field, the other a comparatively recent entry almost two decades younger.
But Andrew Ordon and Ritu Chopra share more than just a Southern Californian upbringing, degrees from the same university and surgical training stints in New York. They have the same holistic view of medicine and restrained yet enthusiastic approach to an often controversial field. They also both happen to look and sound pretty good on television – making them stars in a growing field of go-to medical experts in the US and abroad.
Now the US-board certified surgeons are planning to offer to patients in Dubai the skills and charm fans have grown to love watching the daytime chat show The Doctors
Having already secured the support of the Dubai Health Authority, the pair flew to the emirate on Monday for their first exploratory visit. They will be here until Sunday and plan to be back as soon as April, returning to operate up to four times a year.
"Finding where we are actually going to do our consultations and our surgery – we hope to get that done this week," says Ordon.
The idea for a semi-regular Gulf outpost, where they could visit on breaks from filming the show to conduct assorted face lifts, tummy tucks, breast lifts and augmentation and other procedures, came from Ordon's travels through the region as well as a steady stream of patients from the Middle East travelling to their California clinics in Palm Springs and Beverly Hills. Many are from the UAE, drawn over after watching Ordon on The Doctors, which launched in the US in 2008 and has been broadcast twice a day on MBC4 since the following year.
"It is kind of amazing," says Ordon. "They found us through the show and came to California and said: 'Well do you think at any point you'd come out there?'"
One of their most recent patients from the UAE was a woman wanting to get rid of a nasty scar she'd acquired after a tumour removal.
"She came to us, said: 'I have this scar, need it removed, they tried to remove it once here, didn't come out so great, we saw you guys on The Doctors, can you remove it for me?'" says Chopra, suggesting Ordon is the big draw. "A lot of patients are like that, who see us on The Doctors, maybe not so much for the procedures that we do, but because they trust him."
Ordon is one of the four originals on The Doctors, all of whom remain regulars: the accident and emergency doctor Travis Stork (who formerly appeared on the ABC series The Bachelor); the paediatrician Jim Sears and the obstetrician-gynecologist Lisa Masterson. Chopra, and other doctors and lifestyle consultants, including the original trainer on The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels, have been added over time.
After Chopra made appearances on Phil McGraw's chat show in the US, McGraw hand-picked him for The Doctors. An original at the time, it has been followed by several others devoted entirely to medicine and health, including one from the popular Mehmet Oz, who became famous after his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The Doctors is now broadcast in more than 120 countries, with local versions produced in Portugal, Mexico, Lebanon and Canada. There may one day be a similar show in Dubai, says Ordon. "I've heard the producers talking about it." The pair, who were introduced and hit it off several years ago just as Ordon was looking for a partner and Chopra was finishing his training, are known to team up for face and body makeover surgeries that can take up to six hours – and are sometimes conducted on-air. In one such procedure, they operated on Danny Cahill, allowing him to go shirtless after losing 239 pounds in seven months to win season eight of The Biggest Loser. They may tackle procedures of that scope in Dubai, provided they are done early in their visit to allow for post-operative consultations, which would then be handed off to a certified physician practising locally.
Both Ordon and Chopra donate their services, too, most recently as part of the collective Surgical Friends Foundation. That work helps a variety of cases, including survivors of domestic abuse and breast cancer in the US and reconstruction surgeries for children and adults abroad.
Meanwhile, they are seizing all the business opportunities that television success is bringing their way. There is a new skincare line, which will be available online and they are working to sell locally through CitrusTV Shopping Dubai. They say Golden Ratio combines the best natural ingredients – including caffeine, mushroom extract and Vitamin K – with active compounds both believe are necessary in anti-ageing, including glycolics and retinoids.
"You have to do both," says Chopra.
They have also filmed a pilot for their own show, which they say will focus on the practice – just "me and him", says Chopra.
"I guess you could call it a reality show, but not one of those crazy shows ... there's some bantering, the older guy, the younger guy," says Ordon.
When it comes to their philosophy on plastic surgery, however, both are on the same page - often finishing each other's sentences. They advocate healthy lifestyles, natural alternatives and the best of a growing array of increasingly effective non-invasive techniques. And while they love to operate, the pair say they will not overdo it or push procedures people don't ask for.
"You don't want to eliminate those lines," says Ordon. "Every line tells a story – that's true for men and women."
Chopra is also quick to point out: "Obvious correlates to poor surgery for us."
"Or too much," adds Ordon.
"We're definitely into the more natural look," Chopra says. "We don't want someone coming up to you and saying: 'You had a face lift.' We want someone coming up to you and saying: 'Wow, you look really rested. Did you change your hair colour? Did you change something else?'"
- To book a Dubai consultation with Ordon and Chopra, visit www.drordon.com or call 056 789 1007
- For more information on the doctors' charity work, visit www.surgicalfriends.org
- For more information on Golden Ratio, visit www.ratioskincare.com
- For the doctors' safe plastic surgery and non-invasive procedure recommendations, visit the Scene&Heard blog: www.thenational.ae/national-blog