Dubai: Besides wanting a nose job or a face lift, women in the UAE are now more conscious of their bodies, says a leading plastic surgeon.
Dr Luiz Toledo said body contour was not popular a few years ago. "Women now want a better shaped body [through liposculpture]," he said.
The surgeon with the International Modern Hospital, who does bridal plastic surgery make-overs, does not believe it is "cheating" your partner.
"Is it cheating if you lose weight [and feel better]," he asks. "Is it cheating if you build more muscle by exercising? Plastic surgery gives you the option of looking the way you want to look, The technique is available."
Many clients come to Dubai for cosmetic procedures, says Dr Adam Bader, CEO of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital. He cites the instance of an obese woman from Holland who came here for three days and was given a total body sculpture.
"We had two doctors giving her two procedures at the same time," he said, adding that Dubai is becoming a medical tourism destination. He said her husband did not recognise her 10 days later.
Asked whether surgery was a lazy way out to lose weight, the doctor agreed.
His hospital first offers nutrition support and a psychological evaluation of the patient.
But in some cases as a mother with four children, surgery is needed, he says.
"She is in her mid-life, her metabolism is down, her estrogen level is low. I don't care how much she jogs, she can't do much, her system has shut down. We have to go the surgical way."
Rana, a young Lebanese woman working in a PR firm, said with the media exposure of celebrities and divas, women now want to look as beautiful or opt for cosmetic surgery to maintain their figures.
Toledo said many Arab women who come for a nose job do not wish to lose their ethnicity.
"They want to be part of the family group." He said they mostly want the accentuated hump of the nose to be softer.
"The nose should not be the prominent feature of your face," says the surgeon, explaining that beauty is in the right proportion.
"You have to go back to the Greeks, the philosophers, Da Vinci," he says, speaking about the Golden Proportion, 1:1.6 of everything in life, which makes things pleasing to the eye.
Asked if wanting bigger lips is then something out of proportion, the surgeon replied: "Angelina Jolie has big lips, is she ugly?"
He said some people lose contact with reality. "About five per cent of the time I refuse to do a procedure. If you are like Donald Duck, you don't want to put anything in that."
Bader also points to the dangers in using cheaper Botox. "You get Botox made in China or Russia. If my cost is Dh1,000 [for an FDA-approved Botox] the Chinese made one is Dh150. Its effects are well documented," he said, with patients suffering from carcinomas (skin or tissue cancer).
Sarah, a Lebanese women, feels that she was pushed into cosmetic surgery because of peer pressure.
"Everyone wants to look pretty," she said. The professional has undergone gastric banding to lose weight. Some banks in Lebanon offer loans to get your buttocks augmented, or for breast implants or a nose job, she said.
Cosmetic surgery does not come cheap and is not covered by health insurance. A nose job for instance will set you back by about Dh30,000.
Toledo says that some women are not prepared for the psychological changes after undergoing cosmetic surgery)
"Some women who were uncomfortable with their body, could not wear a bikini, now need a new attitude. They need new clothes, a new attitude, a newer posture. We have to be a bit of a psychologist to prepare them for the change."
An Arab woman who plans a "chin tuck" in the near future, said she fears becoming addicted to plastic surgery.
"A lady friend of mine did not like the way she looked [after the procedure] and she went in for another operation by another doctor, and then a third one again," she said. "I don't want to end up like that."
Some Hollywood stars who become addicted to plastic surgery, now barely look human, with their faces stretched out or over-sculpted cheeks and tightly pinched noses.
Don't look for cheaper treatment as the cost of the post-operation is higher and you could have complications.
Some people who operate laser machines ( to remove birth marks) from home can cause burns and other side effects.
Some fillers (gel-like substances to smoothen out wrinkles or give a fuller look to a face) which were unregistered and used earlier, are now causing problems for patients.
Beware of cheaper version and bad quality Botox (Botulinum Toxin A) used for paralaysing the muscles to prevent wrinkles.
Have you noticed a rise in the number of people undergoing plastic surgery? Have you had or ever considered having surgery?