Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Plastic surgery patients must be realistic

Dubai has much to gain from being a centre for cosmetic procedures, but there are risks
A patient being prepared for a facelift surgery. Bernadett Szabo / Reuters
A patient being prepared for a facelift surgery. Bernadett Szabo / Reuters

Once the preserve of the rich and famous, plastic surgery has become accessible to the wider population in recent years. As demand worldwide increases, the UAE – and Dubai in particular – has become a hub for this service. The spin-offs of this form of medical tourism are good for the economy, as patients who come for surgery will also inject money into the retail and hospitality industries. However, there is also a dark side to plastic surgery that needs to be understood.

Along with the many medical professionals, there are some who seek to cash-in on the trend by offering treatment such as Botox, and even surgery, without the proper qualifications and experience. The authorities have a good track record of pursuing and prosecuting these rogues, but opportunists in all fields are persistent. This fact, and the knowledge that all surgical procedures carry a level of risk, including death, ought to be uppermost in the minds of people who are seeking a “Superman six pack” or “Beyoncé butt”.

Would-be patients must also recognise that plastic surgery is not a cure-all, especially for those with psychological issues such as body dysmorphia. Reputable doctors recommend that patients have realistic expectations about the outcome of their surgery – including understanding the ramifications of a botched procedure. They will also insist on a cooling-off period, typically two weeks, before any invasive operation is carried out.

Moreover, undergoing a surgical procedure should not be seen as a substitute for healthy living or a shortcut to goals that are achievable through natural means. If you want to lose weight or gain muscle tone, then you should do so through diet and exercise. At the same time, though, it is worth remembering that these procedures play a valuable role in the physical and emotional well-­being of accident victims and people born with abnormalities.

As a business, plastic surgery fills a growing demand. As long as regulations are in place to ensure that it is performed by professionals in properly equipped facilities, and as long as patients are able to give informed consent, there should be no legal issue with it. But many of those people who think that surgery alone will dramatically alter their lives are entertaining a fantasy. Looking like a celebrity or a superhero won’t make you one.

Updated: September 7, 2016 04:00 AM

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