St. Petersburg woman says she is shocked to find her photos being used in advertising by local plastic surgeon

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – In 2006, Wendy Saunders says she had cosmetic surgery performed by Dr. Christian Drehsen.

“He said that it will take years off of you and make you look thinner and he convinced me it was a simple surgery and we would go forward with it,” said Saunders.

She was pleased with the outcome and even agreed to let the doctor take “before” and “after” photos for him to show other patients her success.

“No one was going to see that because the internet wasn’t as big then and no one was going to see that. It was only going to be seen by women that went in for plastic surgery,” said Saunders.

She says she also had an understanding with the doctor that the photos would only be used for one year.

“It’s just a year and the only people who are going to see it are people that are looking, older women that are looking for plastic surgery, so my business, my associates, my employees, no one was going to see that,” said Saunders.

She recently learned the photos are now being used in advertisements for the doctor when children at school started bullying her daughter because of the photos.

“They captured the image and sent it to my daughter and it was the most humiliating and unflattering picture,” said Saunders.

She says she tried calling the doctor to ask the photos not be used anymore. When that didn’t work, she contacted an attorney who says he sent a letter to the doctor asking him to stop using the images.

“At this point, it has been 15 years so the very fact that Ms. Saunders is asking that he take it down is reason enough that he take it down right now,” said attorney Kevin Comer.

On Friday 8 On Your Side contacted Dr. Drehsen who said he was unaware of any patient who had asked their photos not be used in an advertising campaign. Dr. Drehsen says he can’t confirm if anyone is a former patient because of confidentiality laws, but says he would instantly remove photos if a patient asked him to.

“If I had received notice from anybody, even if I had the release, I would immediately stop,” said Dr. Drehsen.

Wendy Saunders says that’s all she was asking for.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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