Strange plastic surgery requests in UAE: When doctors have to say no to makeover wishes

Even if it affects their business, a number of UAE practitioners refuse to do cosmetic procedures that can do more harm than good for their patients

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File photo used for illustrative purposes
File photo used for illustrative purposes

Lamya Tawfik

Published: Sun 8 Jan 2023, 5:33 PM

Last updated: Mon 9 Jan 2023, 12:44 PM

With all the medical technologies available today, plastic surgeons can certainly do wonders and grant all sorts of makeover wishes — but a good doctor would know when to draw the line.

In the UAE — where cosmetic surgery has seen strong demand — experts have come across some 'strange requests' and unrealistic expectations.

Sometimes, those who want their noses reshaped go a bit too far, said Dr Bashar Bizrah, an otolaryngology consultant who has conducted over 40,000 rhinoplasty procedures and author of Rhinoplasty and Facial Aesthetic Surgery.

There were people who wanted to lift their nose tips too high, and those who wish to make their noses really small, he told Khaleej Times.

“If I make the nose very small, it will affect her breathing, so I refuse. The nose was created by God for breathing not for cosmetic purposes. A skilled surgeon should always preserve the function and you can’t follow the patient's desire if it's unreasonable,” Dr Bashar said, adding that people sometimes just follow the media and the way celebrities look.

Plastic surgeons have an obligation to say no, according to Dr Bashar. “I refuse to do surgery for people who have a normal-looking nose because there’s always a risk with surgery."

Surgeons should know when to stop both before and during the operation, he said. “It’s like seeing a red traffic light. You have to stop when you see it. Before surgery, you say no to patients whose noses have normal dimensions and are in harmony with their faces. During surgery, skilled surgeons need to know when to stop. Those who don’t know how to stop can cause problems and complications."


Liposuction can't create 'supermodel body'

Expectations are high when it comes to liposuction, according to Dr Matteo Vigo, medical director and specialist plastic surgeon at Amwaj polyclinic.

Many people expect that a liposuction will lead to a supermodel body — but, in reality, it is not a slimming procedure, he explained. It only reshapes the body.

“Along with it, exercise and correct eating habits are needed,” Dr Matteo said. “Liposuction is done only to remove parts of the fat to give a new shape, but it doesn’t lead to weight loss.”

Plastic surgeons should also act as psychologists sometimes, he added. “They need to understand when to say no because a lot of people are obsessed and addicted to plastic surgery."

Even though it may affect his business, Dr Matteo finds himself saying no to many patients.

“My job isn’t to only make the patient happy and do what they request, I’m there to give suggestions and real advice. If someone asks for extra fillers or Botox — I’ll say no if there’s no need. Plastic surgeons need to be absolutely honest with the patients,” he said.

Dr Juan Carlos Barrera Rojas, multidisciplinary plastic surgeon at Dubai London Clinic, agrees, saying he would never do any surgery that he is not comfortable with.

“In my opinion, beauty means proportionality. Something is proportionate and nothing is beautiful if it is too big or too small,” he said.

Dr Juan offers guidance, especially when someone reaches a point where they need professional help.

“Sometimes, a psychiatrist can help, and sometimes, spiritual guidance and religion can help. They need to see that life isn’t only physical. It’s quite complex, when you start to speak to them, you discover they are suffering from big traumas and those have a big influence over their behaviour,” he said.

Risks and dangers

The rise in nose filler requests is rather unfortunate, Dr Bashar said. “Many people are requesting it but it is medically contraindicated and can cause many problems which patients are not aware of."

The procedure, which some dermatologists are suggesting, is quite dangerous, he explained. “It could cause blindness and death, infection of sinuses, and abscesses. The filler is a foreign substance going into a very delicate organ so many complications can happen."

Those seeking plastic surgery are advised to look at an expert's specialisation — because no surgeon can do everything. “Choose the skilled surgeon and one who does the practice on a daily basis and whose practice is limited to that specific surgery in a subspeciality. If a surgeon does everything means that he’s not good in everything,” Dr Bashar said.


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