MIAMI (FOX 13) - Dr. Michael Salzhauer welcomes more than just plastic surgery patients to his Miami waiting room. He also greets fans from around the world.
Recently, a group of young women on spring break visited the doctor. As he posed for selfies and offered them tee shirts, they told him about where they were from - New Jersey - how they've followed his work on social media.
Dr. Salzhauer has a worldwide audience on Snapchat (search 'therealdrmiami"). His rise to social media fame began a little over a year ago, when he began posting full-frontal surgery photos on Instagram.
After his account was wiped out, his 15-year-old daughter suggested he use Snapchat instead. He said he remembers his initial response.
"I thought, 'isn't that for sexting?'"
and part of the hundreds of thousands of his social media followers.
Turns out, Snapchat was the perfect place for Dr. Salzhauer, whose better known as "The Real Dr. Miami."
"The next day, we did it again and again, and it grew very quickly to 100,00 viewers, and now it's up to 800,000," Dr. Salzhauer recalled. "Now that we have this worldwide audience, its a hoot. It's more fun than anything I've ever done... The atmosphere here at work is just infectiously fun, and obviously business has boomed."
Today, that Snapchat success has the board-certified surgeon booked two years in advance.
Courtney McSwain runs a cleaning service out of Ruskin. She waited 11 months, and traveled four hours, to have a tummy tuck performed by Dr. Salzhauer.
"I wanted it that bad!" she laughed.
She admitted, getting to know him via social media sealed the deal.
"Most doctors, you know, all you have is pictures. With him, you can see somebody live, laying there on the table, and see the procedure that they're getting done," she explained.
She remembered signing the Snapchat consent without hesitation.
"I just was so excited about the snap chat, so excited about the surgery, that I told all my family and friends, 'make sure to see me on Snapchat on Dr. Miami,'" she said.
The Miami physiciansaid he believes his popularity goes beyond the lure of his social media presence. He says the in-surgery videos de-mystify how surgeries are performed
"One of the biggest barriers for any kind of surgery is fear. You know, fear of the unknown, what the process is like. You get to see how people's bodies are transformed and it's kind of like magic. It's like the magician showing you his tricks," he explained.
While faces are off limits, all other body parts are not. When asked if he thinks people might be viewing his surgical snips for inappropriate reasons, Dr. Salzhauer admitted it may happen. However, he believes the majority of his now 1.7 million followers have genuine intentions.
"If you want to see naked bodies, believe me, there's a lot easier ways and a lot more provocative things you could find online than my Snapchat," he said.
In spite of his rapid rise to fame, the self-proclaimed late adapter to technology is surprisingly humble.
"I don't think anybody could have foreseen this. I was late to getting an iPhone," the doctor explained.
He's creating connections with patients, and now, fans, in ways he never imagined.
"As far as I know, we were the first, but now there are dozens of surgeons in all specialties Snapchatting their surgeries... dermatologists popping pimples - whatever you want to see. you see it on Snapchat."
To learn more about Dr. Michael Salzhauer, The Real Dr. Miami, visit balharboursurgery.com.