Reports about a woman who was arrested in Sharjah for performing cosmetic surgical procedures without a licence should serve as a warning to anybody contemplating this kind of treatment. The woman posed as a prominent plastic surgeon and reportedly injected her clients with substances that could cause death. That she did so from a hotel room should, perhaps, have been a red flag.
The story raises a number of points about cosmetic surgery, which is becoming increasingly popular in this part of the world. Indeed, police allege that the woman deliberately targeted Gulf countries and had made large amounts of money from conducting these procedures illegally. It is to the credit of the Sharjah Police – and the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health staff with whom they coordinated their investigation – that they were able to successfully shut her down. The authorities have, rightly, advised potential clients that they should only seek this kind of treatment from qualified practitioners in licensed hospitals and clinics. Too much can go wrong, even with seemingly simple procedures, to take the risk of dealing with anybody but a professional.
Then there is a broader question of why people seek out cosmetic procedures. Many people are able to afford injections or a “nip and tuck” with the aim of looking younger or more healthy. Why? Perhaps it’s because they aspire to a look that they have seen in a magazine or a film, or that they feel peer pressure to do so. Perhaps they believe that it will somehow improve their lives.
Columnist Justin Thomas warned readers this week that psychological evaluations and support were essential for people considering bariatric (weight-loss) surgery. He noted that patients' expectations did not always meet the reality, and that even successful surgery could have unintended effects on their lives and relationships. The same can be said of cosmetic procedures. Before going under the knife, or accepting an injection, you must understand your own motives as well as being fully informed about the potential physical and psychological consequences.