Ask for recommendations
If you’ve made the decision to go under the knife, the first step is to find a good surgeon. With so many to pick from, however, the choice can be overwhelming. Glossy ads jump from the pages of magazines, and streets appear to be lined with slick clinics promising great prices and even better results.
The best place to start is by asking for recommendations from family, friends, and their extended circle of friends. Gail Clough of Dubai Surgery (www.dubaisurgery.com) explains, “Good advertising simply means that the surgeon is using a good advertising company! It doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of their work. This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, so you really have to do your homework and not get taken in by superficial things. Some people spend more time choosing a pair of shoes than a surgeon – they just aren’t aware of the implications.”
She continues, “Recommendations are always the best starting point – but make sure it’s for the exact same procedure you are considering. If somebody is good at performing breast enhancements, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will give you the perfect face lift.”
A professional name, stylish clinic and sparkly website does not guarantee that the person carrying out the procedures is properly qualified – so your top priority should be to check their qualifications.
“Laws in the United Arab Emirates are very stringent now, so unqualified doctors and surgeons aren’t allowed to operate here,” explains Dr Sanjay Parashar from Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation (www.cocoona.ae). “It still pays to be vigilant, so ask to see their certification. You can cross-check this with the Ministry of Health or Emirates Medical Association.”
If you are heading overseas for surgery, checking qualifications should be even more of a priority. Dr Jaffer Khan, a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon (www.plasticsurgery.ae) advises, “It’s worth consulting websites such as ASAPS: Amercian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (www.surgery.org) or ISAPS: The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (www.isaps.org). Past experience (especially in the procedure you are considering) is equally important, so don’t be afraid to quiz your surgeon when you meet.”
Weigh up the risks
When you’ve got your sights set on surgery, it’s easy to put the thought of something going wrong to the back of your mind… However small, it’s worth remembering that every procedure carries a risk – whether it’s through anaesthesia or the surgery itself. Talking through those risks and side effects with your surgeon is an important step in your pre-surgery countdown.
“With all surgery there is an element of risk, but it’s maybe comparable to skiing or any extreme sports; people often feel the risk is worth the gain,” explains Gail Clough of Dubai Surgery. “Your choice of surgeon will make a huge difference to the level of risk involved. The anaesthetist is of equal importance, but a decent surgeon will be very conscious of this and only work with the best.”
Gail continues, “The risk is much higher if you smoke heavily, as most complications occur whist healing. You don’t heal as fast if you smoke, so you greatly increase the risk of infection. If you want to go ahead with surgery, I strongly recommend stopping smoking a few months before.”
Ask about recovery time
Recovery time varies according to the procedure, your age, general health, and ability to rest. This is something that your surgeon can advise – but either way, you won’t be jumping off the surgeon’s table and straight back into the throes of everyday life.
Think things through carefully. Do you have enough annual leave to take time off work? Is there somebody to look after your children, pets, or house? Can you cope without driving your car in the weeks following the procedure? Are you happy to stay out of the sun, pool, and gym until everything has healed? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you need to rethink.
“Following surgery, your stay in the clinic would be up to two nights – and you’d need to come back for follow-up procedures on a weekly basis initially and then on a monthly basis,” explains Dr Salivaras Michael Ioannis, from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital (www.aacsh.com).
“For major procedures, such as breast and body surgeries, we generally recommend not to drive or lift weights for three to four weeks afterwards, not to swim for a month, and not to sunbathe or play sport for at least two months. Going back to work depends on both the procedure and the kind of work you do – but generally two to three weeks is a reasonable amount of time to take off.”
Consider follow-up procedures
Most forms of cosmetic surgery are a lifetime commitment, demanding costly follow-up procedures in the future – so it is worth thinking seriously about whether you can afford the ongoing costs (both financially and in terms of recovery time) before going ahead.
“Body structure changes with time and lifestyle – so sadly there is no treatment that can be considered permanent,” warns Dr Parashar. “Botox and fillers will only last between four months and a year. Cosmetic surgery procedures will obviously last longer – but it is very hard to accurately predict, as it depends on the way your body changes as you get older. Most procedures offer an element of choice, so you can opt for the implant or technique that matches your lifestyle and budget.”
Set a realistic budget
Everybody loves a bargain – but when it comes to cosmetic surgery, cut-price deals should set alarm bells ringing.
“If a clinic is a lot cheaper than others in the same territory, it usually means that overheads are low. That should be viewed with caution,” warns Dr Khan. “Most surgeons that want to build a good reputation and a successful, well-respected practice will keep prices within the higher end of the market.”
Gail adds: “I’m usually a bargain hunter, but my health is the one area where I don’t try to save money. If you cannot afford a good surgeon, stay as you are. Nobody needs cosmetic surgery – it’s nice if you can afford it, but your life will be fine without it.”
Think about the end result
Surgeons are both scientists and artists – and different techniques and implants will create very different results. Before your first consultation, spend time thinking about why you want cosmetic surgery and what look you want to achieve. This information will be invaluable when you meet your surgeon.
“These days, patients arrive in our office and have already done their homework, using the Internet and magazines. It’s our job to explain, guide, and direct them to the best procedure for achieving what they have asked for,” explains Dr Ioannis. “That includes choosing the right size, texture, and form. It’s a crucial part of the process, as different types offer different results.”
Consider non-evasive alternatives
If you don’t feel 100 per cent confident about cosmetic surgery, it is probably not the right decision. These days, however, there are some great non-evasive procedures that you can opt for instead, promising equally impressive results that will give you the look you’ve always dreamt about.
“Non-evasive treatments are the future of cosmetic surgery, as far as I’m concerned,” says Dr Mahaveer Mehta of Skin Laser Dubai (www.skinlaserdubai.com). “The treatments are safe, effective, and most don’t demand any recovery time.”
Dr Burcu B. Hurbas from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital adds: “We’ve noticed an increased demand for these procedures over the last couple of years. People want reduced downtime, less risk, and lower cost. They want to look more natural and are inspired by new trends. Most surgical procedures now have non-evasive alternatives – for example Carboxy Therapy and Vellashape in place of Liposuction. However, before going ahead, we need to clarify the patient’s expectations, as they won’t deliver exactly the same results as the surgical procedures.”
Writer: Louise Emma Clarke
Category: Cosmetic Surgery