Plastic surgery on the rise in UAE
Plastic surgery requests are increasing in the UAE with those as young as 13 approaching surgeons.
Plastic surgery has been a rising trend in the UAE as men and women seek to find what they hope is their most ideal face and body. However, it is not just the middle-aged patients seeking cosmetic procedures now.
Today, patients as young as 18 are also approaching plastic surgeons asking them to create their most idealistic self.
Creating the idealistic human, might somewhat be perceived as a form of art. Many of those who speak of plastic surgery today, often ambiguously relate it to the greatest artists, sculptures and painters of all time.
In fact, one can take a look back at the Italian Renaissance era, when artistic geniuses like Michelangelo, carved the most idealistic human forms. Whether it was a soft and feminine face with a luscious and curvaceous body, or a muscular jaw-line on a dominating figure, as depicted on the statue of David, all carved out of marble, of course.
Although such geniuses were able to carve the most ultimate figures on blocks of stone as their chosen medium, surgeons today can also try to mimic such figures - in a way or two, but on the medium of a human body.
Khaleej Times spoke to two world-renowned plastic surgeons based in the UAE, as well as an Emirati psychologist and hypnotherapist, on the rise of cosmetic surgery and its impact.
Dr Abdulbaqi Alkhatib, consultant, plastic surgery, and the head of the plastic surgery department at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi, says plastic surgery has certainly been a rising trend in the UAE, particularly among the youth.
Dr Alkhatib, who is also the founder and chairman of the Iraqi Cleft, Lip and Palate Centre, and previously the head of plastic surgery department at Zayed Military Hospital, says media is one of the leading causes of the rise in plastic surgery.
"The media often tries to represent the most idealistic people, who may in fact not even exist in the same way the media portrays them online, in magazines and on television."
The membership to the Emirates Plastic Surgery Society tripled in the last 10 years from 60 to 180.
According to a 2015 report by the Dubai Health Authority, the city currently has the highest ratio of plastic surgeons per capita in the world, as it hosts 50 doctors for every million people, whereas in 2005, the city had 10 doctors for every one million.
Moreover, in the past, plastic surgery was preserved as a private matter of the individual, who was often reluctant or embarrassed to share his or her personal under-the-knife procedures. However, in today's modern society, plastic surgery became somewhat of a fashion.
Again, this is largely due to the normality it is represented in. Plastic surgery has even somewhat become a representation of an opulent lifestyle among the rich and famous.
Social media heavily depicts "the opulence of plastic surgery," as seen on countless Instagram and Snapchat accounts for instance, where narcissistic women would take thousands - if not millions, of their followers on a tour to the surgeon's operating table, to have a quick lip job, or a needle of Botox, here and there.
Dr Alkhatib notes that today, patients are not just looking for the perfect nose or the tightest tummy.
"More women are now requesting to have what is often referred to as the Brazilian Butt Lift, where fat is transferred from their abdomen, for example, to the buttocks.
"Women as young as 25 have come in asking for the procedure, while women as young as 18 have requested the eyebrow lift and lip job, 20-year-olds have come for breast augmentation and girls as young as 15 asked for a rhinoplasty, also known as the nose job.
Doctor Fabian Blaschke, plastic surgeon at Bodyworx Aesthetics Clinic in Abu Dhabi, said that women in the UAE often request breast corrections and tummy-tucks after they give birth.
"UAE women still have numerous children, in contrast to their European sisters. Childbirth is therefore the common reason for plastic surgery, breast corrections and tummy-tucks."
The "Mummy Makeover" is tailor-made for mothers with post-natal challenges, where the surgeon combines multiple procedures to restore the woman's post-pregnancy body and has become a hit in the UAE. However, surgeons also often receive cases where patients are not satisfied with the work done by previous doctors, and in some cases, doctors who had little to no surgical experience.
"As the number of women who have cosmetic breast surgery increases, adjustments have become more common, particularly when the patient and the doctor have different ideas about the ideal outcome." However, Dr Blaschke, who has his own clinic in Hamburg, and also appeared on the UK reality TV show 'Pop Goes the Band,' noted that non-surgical procedures have certainly become a trend in UAE.
"Women love to increase their lip size, and I cannot count the number of times that women with completely harmonious lips came with the demand to make them grow to the size of balloons," he noted.
portrait of man with 3 round mirrors