Going ‘under the knife’ used to be a rather daunting concept. Whether it’s post-baby, a little time readjustment or just a confidence boost, there’s absolutely no shame in having some help. With the first recorded instance being in 6th century BC, this decreasingly less ‘taboo’ notion is on the rise. More and more people are undergoing cosmetic surgery, with over 23 million patients last year alone. So, with over 20 million women and 3 million men opting for cosmetic procedures, what’s the lowdown? We’ve spoken to experts to get everything you’ve asked, answered.
What is the difference between cosmetic surgery & plastic surgery?
‘Cosmetic’ and ‘Plastic’ surgery are often confused with one another. Cosmetic surgery refers to the aesthetic aspects of a procedure, whereas plastic surgery refers to more essential surgery - usually to repair damage. Dr. Frank Conroy, Plastic, Reconstructive & Cosmetic Surgeon at American Hospital Dubai said, “plastic surgery gets its name from the greek word ‘plastikos’ meaning to mould or form. Plastic surgery covers a wide range of sub-specialties including burns surgery, cranio-facial surgery, hand surgery, breast reconstruction surgery and of course cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery generally involves the treatment of the skin and soft-tissues using various specialised surgical techniques. Cosmetic surgery is surgery used to improve the aesthetic appearance of an individual, with many of the techniques used being born out of plastic surgery.”
What is involved in cosmetic surgery?
So, what’s cosmetic surgery all about? Plastic Surgeon, Dr Tarek Bayazid of Dr. Tarek Aesthetics said: “Every cosmetic surgery starts with the initial consultation. A thorough explanation about the surgery is the corner stone of every successful cosmetic surgeon. Next, is the general health evaluation and most important assessing the expectation of the patient. Once the patient fully understands the procedures, including the advantages and disadvantages, a consent form is to be signed with all being said in a written form. On the day of the surgery, pre operative planning and photography are mandatory, explaining the surgery plan to the patient again. After the surgery is done, patient is discharged home, with written instruction. Follow-up on a certain dates are also a must.”
What are the most popular procedures?
As human beings, many of us share the same concerns. Whether we are younger or more mature, we tend to view our bodies as requiring the same things. Dr. Jaffer Khan, Founder of Aesthetics International and Nova Clinic said, “The most popular procedures really depends on the age of a person. For example, I’m witnessing that younger people are opting for treatments, such as enhancements with silicone for breast procedures, as well as body contouring with liposuction and skin removal procedures. In addition, the rhinoplasty and nasal surgeries are also very popular, as well as the eyelid surgery in older people. As a norm, people tend to want surgeries which are quick and require less recovery time thus meaning they don’t have to take as much time out of normal life.”
What are the highest concerns for patients?
We usually want to make sure we’re always putting our best face forward, so it makes sense that that is our main concern. Dr. Mohamad Sabet Salahia, Plastic, Cosmetic and Aesthetic Surgeon from Emirates Specialty Hospital said: “For sure the concern of the patients coming to our clinics, first of all, starts from the face. Usually, the face is the common concern of the patients because it’s on show and it cannot be covered, other problems in the body can be covered.”
What procedures do you recommend for these concerns?
Overall, time seems to be a huge factor in patients considering cosmetic surgery. Dr. Jaffer Khan said: “When I first came here 20 years ago, we were doing less anti-aging procedures, and now I think we are doing procedures on younger patients or procedures which we recommend for these concerns. It is difficult to say which procedures to recommend for which concerns, that is why a consultation with a plastic surgeon is really important in order for the patient to understand that their expectations can or cannot be met. It is important that as a surgeon you are able to understand whether the technical ability to do these procedures are in fact available.”
What are the top tips to consider before getting cosmetic surgery?
Cosmetic surgery is something that you should be completely sure of before you decide to take the plunge. Dr. Jaffer Khan said, “The first thing to do is to educate yourself, and do your research, and also seek several opinions as well as a word of mouth referrals for surgeons before actively deciding to do a procedure. Far too often, people are in a rush and go ahead with the first thought of doing a procedure and I think this is neither healthy nor practical. It is also important for those who will get better results by losing weight, to go ahead and lose that weight, and again to earn the operation such as that they can achieve a better result by bringing themselves down to a particular body weight which is suitable for them. It is also necessary to mentally prepare oneself for a recovery period as well as to fully understand the potential complications that one could have. “
Thinking of going for it?
If there’s an area of your body that you are unhappy with and you’ve been considering cosmetic surgery, make sure you do your research and follow these tips from Dr Frank Conroy:
- Seek a number of opinions from different surgeons
- Ask to see before and after pictures
- Ask where the surgery will be performed - it may not be in the glitzy clinic where you had your consultation
- Choose a facility with a good reputation and safety record.
- Be wary of ‘visiting doctors’ (they fly in for short periods then fly out). Whilst they may be excellent surgeons - what happens if there is a problem and they are no longer in the country? Who will look after you?
- Never base your decision purely on price - cheapest is rarely the best!
We spoke to some of you who have undergone cosmetic surgery and here’s what you had to say:
Dawn Raquel, Personal Trainer and mother of two said: “I would recommend getting cosmetic surgery, but only after honestly analysing the motivation behind getting the surgery because doing it to make someone else happy with your body isn't right. Also, any insecurities that were present before surgery are still going to be there post-surgery, which is why we see people become addicted to cosmetic surgery.”
Fiona Rehman, Tourism Consultant said: “I felt wonderful after the surgery, younger, more confident and wished I had done it much, much sooner!”
Catherine Harper, Copywriter said: “It had such an amazingly positive effect on my life. I no longer had to worry about people thinking I was pregnant, I could fit into clothes again, I felt more confident in how I looked. I felt so much better in myself, so it had a positive effect on my mental wellbeing as well as the physical aspect.”
Lucy Perrott, Head of Public Relations said: “I think in today's world, we have become so kept on trying to look the way society tells us to; hip-waist-chest ratio, symmetrical face, perfect brows etc. We often lose sight on what natural beauty looks like. I wanted to enhance my features and treat imperfections subtly, mainly for my own confidence. We have a right to be happy in our own bodies and to love ourselves as much as possible. If something is accessible and will help you feel better about yourself, then absolutely go for it. Your body is yours; you only get one and you deserve to be happy in it.”