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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Plastic surgery hub starts with high standards

For Dubai to become a world-class cosmetic surgery hub, safety and quality are paramount
Adults are entitled to make their own decisions about their bodies, but it is best if that is done in an environment where they are given all the information about risks and consequences. Nir Elias
Adults are entitled to make their own decisions about their bodies, but it is best if that is done in an environment where they are given all the information about risks and consequences. Nir Elias

Regardless of one’s views on plastic surgery, it is obviously an increasing phenomenon in this country. As The National reported yesterday, surgeons say the popularity of these kinds of operations continues to grow, particularly in Dubai, which has the highest number per capita of plastic surgeons in the world and plans to boost its medical tourism industry further.

While this will contribute to the economy, it is important to keep in mind that such a rapidly growing market has to be regulated properly in order to establish and maintain Dubai’s reputation as a high-standard medical hub. The emirate must distinguish itself from other medical destinations, such as low-cost countries like Thailand and India, by ensuring the highest quality and safety.

There are a number of ways to do this. One is to have a strong licencing system, in part to prevent unqualified or inadequately trained practitioners from doing business. Other countries, such as the United States, have specialist medical boards for cosmetic surgeons. Surgeons need to register and are required to undertake a written exam before joining. The board could also verify the qualifications of visiting doctors when they come to the country. Investigations and inspections are necessary to catch fake and illegal practitioners who operate in the shadows. When all clinics are certified, everyone is satisfied.

This is primarily to ensure nothing goes wrong but the medical sector is still prone to human failings. When a patient has a complaint, there ought to be a designated legal process to seek redress. To compare this to the financial services field, one reason why Dubai is a global hub for that industry is that the Dubai International Finance Centre has its own rules and courts to deal with disputes.

Plastic surgery is always a serious medical procedure. Adults are entitled to make their own decisions about their bodies, but it is best if that is done in an environment where they are given all the information about risks and consequences. Societal pressure already pushes too many to believe their bodies are imperfect; additional pressure from unscrupulous surgeons motivated by commercial gain must be stamped out. The UAE has an opportunity to be a centre of excellence for plastic surgery, but that will only happen if we ensure this sector is solid, safe and world-class.