DUBAI // The popularity of plastic surgery in the emirate continues to increase and shows no sign of abating, say surgeons.
Dr Maurizio Viel, a plastic surgeon based at London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery, said there are now more plastic surgeons per capita in Dubai than in any other city in the world.
According to the Dubai Health Authority, the emirate is aiming to attract some half a million medical tourists per year by 2020, which could benefit its economy by up to Dh2.6 billion.
Plastic surgery is a big part of plans to dominate the Middle East medical market, and more surgeons are capitalising on those plans.
“The reason is that the plastic surgeons here are highly reputable, with practices in other major cities around the world,” said Dr Allen Rezai, a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Elite Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Group in Dubai Healthcare City.
He said plastic surgery is a growing trend.
“We have hospitals that offer the highest standards of care. What is more, Dubai’s prime location between east and west is known to be a huge plus point.”
The most sought-after cosmetic procedures are breast enlargement, nose reshaping, body contouring and male chest reduction, he said.
“The demand for non-invasive cosmetic procedures that slow down the signs of ageing has also increased dramatically in recent years,” said Dr Rezai.
These include Botox, dermal fillers and combined laser and radio frequency facial rejuvenation.
Dr Viel said Botox, platelet rich plasma facial rejuvenation and fillers are the most popular non-surgical treatments.
For surgical, the most popular procedures are liposuction, breast augmentation, penoplasty, facelifts and breast reduction.
Dr Viel believes next-generation plastic surgery will soon become a craze.
“You will definitely see more work with the use of stem cells,” he said. “We are currently one of the first in the Middle East to work with a stem cell company from Italy which has a branch in Dubai to do ‘organic boob jobs’, where we take the patient’s fat and mix it with their stem cells to give more volume to the breast area.
“The stem cells can also be used for a facial rejuvenation treatment.”
According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital, the number of cosmetic surgery procedures carried out on its premises in Dubai has increased by 15 per cent in the period 2013 to 2014, with liposuction, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), breast surgery, cosmetic gynaecology and rhinoplasty the hospital’s top five cosmetic surgeries last year.
During 2014, liposuction was the top surgery in demand in the hospital. Procedures increased by 19.3 per cent on 2013.
Breast procedures increased by 7.4 per cent between 2013 and 2014, with abdominoplasty up 3 per cent.
“People in the region are increasingly educated on the latest technologies and non-invasive techniques,” said Dr Matteo Vigo, chief medical officer at the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital.
Vasilica Baltateanu, who started the UAE’s first plastic surgery consultancy, Vasilica Aesthetic, said the average cost for rhinoplasty and breast augmentation is about Dh25,000 each.
It is the job of the Dubai Health Authority to regulate the plastic surgery market, she said.
Ms Baltateanu said government support for the medical tourism is one of the reasons Dubai has become a plastic surgery hub.
“The fact that the demand is high and more doctors are travelling to Dubai to see patients and operate, offering people the occasion to have a great vacation or business trip — and have in the same time their aesthetic treatment done makes Dubai the place to go,” she said.“Why wouldn’t you choose Dubai?”
More on plastic surgery in the UAE:
■ Demand for penoplasties increasing, say UAE surgeons
■ Girls as young as 13 requesting plastic surgery in UAE
■ UAE plastic surgery patients have a taste for the unusual
■ Men in UAE seeking surgery to remove 'CEO belly'
Demand for enhancements from men and women is continuing to grow in the UAE, especially in Dubai, which has more practitioners for each head of population than any other city. Girls as young as 13 are requesting plastic surgery as the pressure to fit society’s definition of beauty becomes too much. The most popular operations in the UAE include liposuction, breast enlargements and reductions, and facelifts. And the use of stem cells is set to make plastic surgery even more popular. Aesthetic surgery will play its part in Dubai’s ambitious plan to become a global centre for medical tourism.