Quick tuck is not the answer, say doctors

Awareness on obesity is key; surgeries to be carried out only for medical reasons.


Kelly Clarke

Published: Tue 28 Apr 2015, 12:48 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:41 PM

Dr Gabi Wazz, Ramadan Ibrahim Al Blooshi and Jeehan  Abdul Qadir at the discussion on ‘Aesthetics: trends and concerns’ in Dubai on Sunday. -  KT photo by Mukesh Kamal

Dubai - Obesity figures are on the rise globally, but with rates in the UAE double the world average, are wealthy patients giving in to narcissism and turning to elective aesthetic surgery as a quick fix?

In some cases yes, according to Medical Director of Dubai Healthcare City’s (DHCC) Obesity Surgery Centre, Gabi Wazz.

“But it’s the physicians who set the boundaries,” he said.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion titled: ‘Aesthetics: trends and concerns’, Wazz said with obesity now declared as a “worldwide disease”, throwing money at a quick nip and tuck is no longer the answer. “Though most people view weight loss surgery as a purely aesthetic procedure, it’s just not the case. The surgeries we carry out are for medical reasons only and physicians in Dubai have to follow strict guidelines when doing so.”

Obesity not only effects a person physically, it effects them psychologically too, he said, so for the physician there has a “huge ethical role” to play when it comes to this type surgery. “Ultimately, the physician is responsible for the patient. Patient satisfaction is an important requirement, but medical safety is paramount, so the last word is that of the doctor.”

Policy overview

In 2014 the Practice and Procedure Oversight Committee (PPOC) was formed in Dubai.

The PPOC is mandated to review practice standards for contemporary medicine in general, but in particular, non-conventional aesthetic and cosmetic procedures.  Speaking to Khaleej Times on Sunday, Managing Director of DHCC Authority - Regulatory, Dr Ramadan Ibrahim Al Blooshi, said aesthetic procedures are often viewed as a “matter of contention”. It was this sticking point which ultimately steam-rolled the decision to establish such a committee, he said. “Through feedback from both patients and physicians we became aware that we needed to regulate this type of medical practice, hence the establishment of the PPOC.”

Popular trend

Cosmetic and plastic surgery has become a growing trend in the UAE, and in 2014 DHCC’s American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital (AACSH) served 10,000 new patients — of which 28 per cent were medical tourists, and 72 per cent were UAE residents.

During the last three years, around 3,600 patients underwent weight -oss procedures in DHCC. Of this figure, about 80 per cent were laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomies – a procedure that sees 70 per cent of the stomach removed.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, more than 66 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women in the UAE are already overweight or obese. Globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) puts this figure at 2.1 billion. So, with obesity now declared as a disease, experts say the issue won’t simply go away by throwing money at it.

“This is now classed as a disease so we need to educate and raise awareness of obesity to prevent it. Only in severe medical cases is cosmetic and plastic surgery the answer,” Al Blooshi said.

Dr Jeehan Abdul Qadir, Executive Chairperson of the AACSH, was also in attendance at Sunday’s roundtable discussion. -kelly@khaleejtimes.com

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