The male plastic surgery boom

Experts urge caution as more Saudi men go under the knife


Saudi Gazette report

AN increasing number of Saudi men are choosing to go under the knife in a trend that has picked up at considerable pace in the past few years.

More and more people have become aware of the different types of cosmetic surgeries available and their huge possibilities. Among the most sought after surgeries among men are hair transplants, nose jobs or rhinoplasty, liposuction to remove excess fat under the skin especially in the abdomen, mentoplasty or surgical reshaping of the chin, and laser therapy or chemical peels to help remove dark circles under the eyes.

Despite the prolonged recovery periods and complicated procedures, patients who underwent the surgeries say the pain is worth it. Muhammad Saad, 40, had so a good an experience after undergoing liposuction that he also had a nose job and hair transplant done.

Echoing the same view was Fahad Abdullah, a teacher who underwent liposuction. He spent a few weeks recuperating at the hospital and described his recovery period as “tough”. However, he said he felt very confident ever since he underwent the surgery.

According to Dr. Ghazi Al-Thebaiti, vice president of the Saudi Board of Plastic Surgery and an assistant professor of plastic surgery, a large number of young men undergo male breast reduction where excess fat and glandular tissue are removed in order to reduce enlarged male breasts.

Young men also come for liposuction, especially following a gastric bypass surgery. Many also want to have laser sessions to get body hair removed.

Whatever the type of procedure, Dr. Al-Thebaiti warned against visiting unlicensed clinics.

“Unfortunately, some cosmetic surgery clinics perform liposuction operations without taking necessary sterilization precautions and they do this in order to offer low prices to patients. But this comes at a price as the absence of such precautions can lead to dangerous complications, jeopardizing the patient’s health. Only unqualified doctors will put a patient under the knife without taking these precautions,” he said.

He went on to explain how patients have the right to ask their cosmetic surgeons to show them their internship certificates and licenses issued by the pertinent authorities to prove that they are accredited cosmetic and reconstructive consultants.

“If the doctor cannot or does not produce the license, the patient should immediately leave the clinic and go to another one that has more qualified doctors. Unfortunately, many cosmetic surgeons who practice today have not had any surgery internship. People should be more careful not to believe the fake advertisements some cosmetic surgeons try to promote,” he said.

Al-Thebaiti said some types of board certificates could be obtained without requiring the surgeon to complete any internship period, which can be very misleading.

“One of the well-known cosmetic surgeons in the Arab world was banned from practicing because it turned out that he did not complete his internship,” Al-Thebaiti added.

Meanwhile, dermatologists s have warned women against going to plastic surgery clinics that are run by incompetent individuals.

“More and more women are becoming obsessed with plastic surgery, especially those in the age group of 20-40 years. Some of them even bring pictures of actors and models and ask surgeons to make them look like those models. These pictures are most of the times not real and are photoshopped,” said Riyad Al-Bogami, a dermatology and plastic surgery consultant.

Women represent the majority of people who go to plastic surgery clinics to undergo liposuction and take Botox injections.

Fat grafting has become widespread in recent years. It is a procedure where fat is transferred from areas that have excess fat in a patient’s body such as the outer thighs and injecting it into areas that may be lacking in volume, such as the face, breasts or buttocks.

Fat grafting is reported to have excellent results and minimum complications as the injected fat component is transferred from the patient’s body itself.

According Al-Bogami, liposuction is not for treating obesity. Each liter of fat sucked out equals 450 grams, which does not really lead to weight loss. It simply gets rid of excess fat. Liposuctions procedures have seen great advancements in the past few years and they are safer than most other plastic surgeries,” he explained.

Some plastic surgeries are carried out by unlicensed individuals, which can lead to grave complications.

One possible complication could be the body rejecting the injected material and fighting to get it out, causing fibrosis and repeated infections as well as tissue damage.

Some clinics inject Botox around the eye, which cause great damage to the eyes such as blurred vision that can last for months. In some cases, blindness can occur. Nearly 99 percent of materials used by plastic surgeons are imported.

“Saudi plastic surgeons enjoy good reputation because they are competent and specialized and know what they are doing and what women need,” Al-Bogami said.

Dr. Saad Al-Talhab, assistant professor of dermatology at Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University, agreed inexperienced individuals who perform plastic surgery could cause grave complications to patients such as artery blockage.

“Unfortunately, several clinics use low-quality material, which can cause chronic infections and make the patient end up in the hospital. Vaseline injections are dangerous and many people do not know the damage these injections can cause,” he said.

According to Dr. Khalid Al-Shahrani, a dermatology consultant, filler injections can cause total blindness if low-quality materials are used. Many patients have suffered because they went to the wrong clinics, he added.