‘Cosmetic Surgeries not the solution to people’s psychological problems’

Cosmetic Surgery

“People are looking at cosmetic surgery as an answer to their psychological problems like lack of self esteem and self confidence, insecurities etc. There are people who believe that they would never be married as their nose is too small, I as a surgeon would never be able to set that right.” said Dr Shashi Bhushan Gogia, Plastic Surgeon and President of SATHI(Society for Administration of Telemedicine and Healthcare Informatics). Dr Gogia is associated with Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj and visiting surgeon at BL Kapur Memorial Hospital. He was speaking at a panel discussion called ‘Knife Under Lens – Truth About Cosmetic Surgery’ held at New Delhi’s India Habitat Center.

Dr Naresh Gupta Director-Professor at Maulana Azad Medical College was another panelist at the discussion he stated that there is a trend of people seeking the option of surgery as an easy way out of their lifestyle related problems “If someone has a BMI over 30 s/he should take proper look at their lifestyle rather than go for an Abdominoplasty, even if one gets excess fat removed by Abdominoplasty the fat would come up at some other place if you persist with the same kind of lifestyle”.

Dr Gupta divulged certain statistics related to cosmetic surgeries “Nominally US and Brazil lead the world in such procedures, usually it is countries with large disposable incomes where large number of people go for these procedures; Brazil is an exception as there the government funds certain categories of such surgeries. South Korea is fast becoming the capital of cosmetic surgeries; a recent survey conducted by BBC found that in South Korea for women who are 20 plus chances that she had had a cosmetic surgery is more than 50 per cent!”.

Dr Gupta confirmed that Brest augmentation surgery is the most popular procedure worldwide, followed by liposuction and the latter is growing in a big way.

Abdominal fat removal is popular with males, whereas fat removal from hips is more popular in females he added.

He said that India’s obsession with skin lightening is not only a pointer to people’s insecurities but also poses health challenges “Skin lightening procedures are particularly popular in India, these creams have chemicals that are harmful and it is sad that these are endorsed by celebrities who are forwarding the interests of industry rather the health of the people” he said. He lamented that many of the products associated with such procedures are classified as cosmocuticals, though they may have pharmaceutical properties, but being classified as cosmocuticals they escape the regulations governing pharmaceuticals.

Dr Gogia cautioned people that these surgeries are not as elementary as the advertisements would make us believe and these surgeries are not fool proof

“For a surgeon achieving complete patient satisfaction is very difficult the percentage of complete patient satisfaction is not more than 50-75%, this is so because expectations of the patients are very high. However the instances of patients becoming worse should not be overstated as the percentage of that is around 0.5% or less. The doctor should always show the bigger picture to the consumer regarding the success rate of these surgeries and the risks involved.” He felt that in corporate hospitals there is a lot of drive from the management to do things which the surgeon may not necessarily think are necessary yet when things go wrong the blame falls squarely on the doctor.

Dr Gogia said that people should not expect results from a cosmetic surgery to become apparent immediately after the procedure “Many people come to us for a procedure right before their marriage and expect results immediately after the procedure. People should know that the full results from any surgery would not appear before 6 months. It is the job of the surgeon to explain to the patient the time it would take for the surgery to show results”.

Dr Naresh Gupta labeled the before/after advertisements related to cosmetic surgeries as highly misleading “These before after pictures can be very deceptive and misleading as these can be morphed easily and their authenticity is not checked thoroughly. Japan is in fact drafting a law to ban these before/after advertisements.”

Dr Gogia gave some tips while going about choosing the right surgeon “It is tough to zero in on the right surgeon, more people you meet more confusion there is and some surgeons make tall claims making it even more difficult to decide. The ideal thing would be meeting former patients, however there are issues of privacy attached to that one thing that patients could do is when they go to a clinic they should start interacting with other patients.”

Dr Gogia felt that these surgeries must be seen not only as a psychological but also a social phenomenon “In South Korea people opt for these surgeries not only for finding suitable matches but also for improving their job prospects they need to look good. Yet it is also something that is a psychological phenomenon for example young males who opt for these as they feel that would enhance their chances of getting good matches there is no parental or social pressure involved in that.”

Dr Gupta highlighted how ubiquitous these clinics have become and how these are promising the moon to the patients “The Gangnam district of Seoul (South Korea) has about 500 cosmetic surgery clinics which have names like Magic Nose, Before/After, Reborn, Top Class, Wannabe, Forever, Cinderella, April 31st signifying that they can do the impossible.”

Key points:

US and Brazil lead the world in cosmetic surgeries.

Brest augmentation surgery and liposuction are the two of the most popular cosmetic surgeries worldwide.

Skin lightening procedures are particularly as many harmful chemicals are used in these.

Cosmetic surgeries are not as elementary as the advertisements would make us belive and these procedures are not fool proof.

Market for such surgeries is growing fast, this growth is being fuelled by medical tourism

Lip enhancers are a new fad, these are these are becoming a rage with young girls though these have a temporary effect yet these are very painful

A dangerous trend is seen where people are resorting to the self help options such as injecting themselves with Botox injections

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