Why did you open a clinic in Dubai?
I worked in Germany for 20 years and at my private clinic I noticed an increasing number of patients from this part of the world who came to me via word of mouth. I investigated setting up here since 2006. I realised it's not good to come as a visiting doctor; patients want you there to discuss any issues. I moved here in September 2010. As a German, all my specialisations are accepted here. But from a business set-up there are lots of things you need to know. I took my time to see how it works. I worked with different clinics as a consultant to see what I needed to know. I opened the clinic in May 2012. Since then I have done 180 surgeries. I have done more than 30,000 surgeries over the course of my career. I am very, very exact about surgery: I would rather say no than take a chance. One of my goals is to restore the trust in plastic surgery that was lost here. It's important to consider it as a medical treatment not just a way of making money. I want patients to understand it is safe here and there is no need for them to go to Europe or the US to do their treatment.
Are your clients ex-pats or Emiratis?
Because of my background in Germany, I attract expats from Europe, the US and Australia. Local business depends on word of mouth. As I build a reputation, more locals will come. That is the natural flow of business.
Are there any particular trends you notice in the UAE as compared to Europe?
Demand is quite similar to what you see worldwide. Relating to weight: stubborn fat, big tummies, liposuction, body contouring. Relating to face and breasts: breast augmentation and reduction, facelifts and rhinoplasty. Prices depend on the procedure. Hospitals in Dubai are quite expensive. In Germany, you also pay tax but the hospitals here are still more expensive. A breast augmentation costs between Dh25,000 (US$6,806) and Dh30,000. A facelift is between Dh30,000 and Dh 50,000. A small liposuction can cost Dh12,000 and go up to Dh30,000.
Describe your typical day
I schedule my surgeries for the mornings and I am back in the clinic between noon and 2pm. During that time I see patients. The clinic is open until 9pm. I do multiple surgeries each day. I used to do seven or eight surgeries per day. I am quite a quick surgeon and this is possible if the team is working properly together. If a clinic is doing well, then I would say about three surgeries per day on average.