Dr. Nikolas Chugay :: Plastic Surgeon and LGBTQ Pioneer

by Joshua Ryan
Sunday Jul 20, 2014

Dr. Nikolas Chugay, with offices in Long Beach and Beverly Hills, is one outstanding surgeon, and the reasons are clear: Experience, understanding of the LGBTQ community, compassion and... did we say experience?

Make sure the surgeon you select is qualified, properly trained and certified to perform your procedures. A lot of non-plastic surgeons advertise that they are "cosmetic surgeons" when they can be everything from optometrists to dentists. The American Board of Plastic Surgeons certifies the only real plastic surgeons.


Chugay has practiced for 37 years and his son, Paul, recently become a second- generation plastic surgeon as well. Dr. Chugay is an LGBTQ pioneer in plastic surgery, accepting his first gay and transgender clients over 37 years ago. "At that time, a lot of people did not like gays and would not accept them as clients," shared Chugay.

Dressed in a suit with a crisp shirt and matching tie, Chugay's fine, small hands
seem like a master surgeon's. On his long list of accomplishments, he is considered the "godfather of implants." He explained, "Twenty five years ago it was common practice to place an implant -- at the time, silicon was most popular -- on top of muscle. I helped to develop new procedures which are now considered 'best practices' for plastic surgeons worldwide."

When considering factors like experience, it's comforting to know he pioneered such practices as used by plastic surgeons today. "The implant field has been revolutionized," explained Dr. Chugay, "We now offer implants for calves, biceps, pectorals and more. Want six-pack abs? Done. Want a J-Lo booty? It can be yours with buttock implants. Breast augmentation? No problem."

Dr. Chugay is also a pioneer in the transgender community, accepting his first transgender patient almost 30 years ago. "I was a doctor, transgender people came to me for help... so, I helped," said Chugay modestly. "I used to share an office with another Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. He didn't like gays and, especially, transgender people in our practice," said Chugay with disdain in his voice. "He felt it was 'bad for business,' so I said, forget him." Currently, nearly 50 percent of Chugay's male clientele are LGBT.

Dr. Chugay offers Botox, Restalyne and other anti-aging injectable procedures and for men, his work with testosterone replacement is booming. "Men want their energy back, want to feel vital and, of course, want an active, youthful sex life," he stated.

Sitting back in his office, Chugay smiles broadly then speaks. "It is a great feeling to help people look and feel better. When I see my LGBTQ patients from 30 years ago, when no one else would care for them, I am proud." He continued, "One patient just brought in his grandson. It made me feel a little old, but I realized, I'm a pioneer and I was there first!"


So, thinking about having plastic surgery? The issues to consider: Cost, recovery time and pain management. Costs vary from doctor to doctor and recovery time is similar for most, though things like age, general healthfulness, drinking, smoking, etc., are all factors that affect recovery.

Most surgeons recommend a general anesthetic, which makes it possible for you not to feel a thing during your procedure. New practices and technologies can also make recovery time quicker and reduce pain greatly during recovery. Dr. Barry Friedberg, who practices anesthesia for cosmetic surgery and works with Dr. Nikolas Chugay, discussed with The Rage Monthly his approach to anesthesia and healing.

Some experts say the anesthesia during surgery is often more risky than the surgery itself, is that true?

In surgeries prior to 1996, we were only able to measure vital signs (i.e. heart rate and blood pressure), reflecting only brain stem activity (not the actual brain). Because we don't want people to be awake or in pain, most anesthesiologists err on the side of too much, to be sure patients are comfortable during the procedure. If anesthesia overdosing results, it can mean more days of recovery (like 'brain fog'), not from the surgery, but actually from too much anesthetic.

Do you have a better method?

Yes. In 1996, the FDA approved a brain monitor, the Bispectral (BIS) Index, to directly measure your brain response to anesthesia. Giving anesthetics, based on individual patient response, means that the patient is "controlling" the dose while comfortably asleep. With this method, the dosage cannot be too much or too little, but always just the right amount, kind of like the "Goldilocks" reference.

The BIS sensor sits on the forehead and reads the electroencephalography (EEG) and then processes the BIS value that is delayed only 15 to 30 seconds from real time. A software switch displays the real time electric signal (EMG) from the muscle between the eyes, similar to the electric signal of the heart muscle (EKG). BIS/EMG monitoring also means a dramatic reduction in the possibility of being awake when your anesthesiologist thinks you are asleep.

This is significant how?

It means that drugs can be used in precise dosages for the first time. We use them to trick the brain into blocking pain before the body ever felt it. As a consequence, patients do not have the "look" of having been operated on and healing time can be much faster. Also, nausea and vomiting, common with regular anesthesia, is virtually non-existent and without the need for anti- nausea drugs, which can have their own undesirable side effects.

If this technique has been around so long, why aren't more doctors using it?

Politics and economics mainly. There are larger profits when a hospital uses more drugs and people take longer to recover. Our system is designed for profit over patient care, so if patients don't know about the option or who provides it -- they don't get access to it.

How do you give people options?

Goldilocks Press published a new book, "Getting Over Going Under: 5 Things You Must Know Before Anesthesia." It is written in plain language for the public and is available on Amazon, Kindle and Audio Books.

For more information on Dr. Chugay, call 800.660.8507 or go to

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