DUBAI // An emerging market of male plastic surgery customers is contributing to growth of the industry in Dubai, insiders say.
Local doctors say they have witnessed a rise in overall custom in the past eight months.
Dr Maurizio Viel, a plastic surgeon at the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery in Dubai, says more men seemed to be concerned with achieving a muscular physique.
"Men are now more keen on exercise and training so they come for body reshaping," Dr Viel says. "A lot of men do high-definition liposuction to improve their abdominal muscles."
Dr Sanjay Parashar, a specialist plastic surgeon and laser specialist at Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation, agrees.
"Men also show a keen interest in plastic surgery and some of the common procedures among them are rhinoplasty, hair transplantation, liposuction and Botox," Dr Parashar says.
A successful gastric band operation left SM, 20, with sagging skin after he had lost more than 54 kilograms.
SM, an Emirati, asked the renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr Linda Li, who was visiting Dubai, to remove the skin.
"I had a consultation and the next day was my surgery," says the college student. "I feel perfect and would recommend it to others in the same position."
He says he is not the only one turning to the knife to fix imperfections.
"Most of my friends go for lipo and rhinoplasty," SM says. "There is also an interest in plastic surgery tourism, which is booming in the Middle East. Europeans and Americans travel here for the good prices and to enjoy the sun."
The increasing demand has spurred recognised names in the industry to travel thousands of kilometres to Dubai.
Dr Li, who has been featured on the reality TV show Dr 90210, visits the American British Surgical and Medical Centre in Dubai a few times a year to treat patients and conduct consultations.
Her colleagues, Dr Jason Diamond and Dr David Matlock from the same show, also visit Dubai.
Exact numbers of plastic surgery tourists in Dubai are not readily available.
"There was a huge amount of demand even prior to my starting to come out here," Dr Li says. "[People] from the Middle East wanted to have surgery but because it is such a long trip, plus the recovery time … it is just easier for me to come here."
Established plastic surgeons say Dubai is attractive to those seeking cosmetic surgery because of its cosmopolitan nature, central location in the region, wide choice of clinics, developed infrastructure and strict regulations on quality.
"They come here for the high quality and level of service," says Dr Viel. " We have a lot of patients from the GCC, as well as countries like Pakistan and India. Plastic surgery demand ... reflects the growing economy of the UAE."
Doctors also said cosmetic surgery here is more economical than it is in some western countries such as the US and the UK.
"There are obviously variations among cities, but generally speaking they are more competitive," said Dr Viel.
Dr Parashar agrees and says the infrastructure in Dubai is comparable with developed countries, and more economical than some western countries.
"It is very well connected to East and West and makes it convenient for people to travel to Dubai for pleasure, work and plastic surgery," he says. "There is certainly an increase in demand in the UAE, particularly in Dubai as compared with many other Middle Eastern regions."