Health & Fitness

Plastic surgery: Don't let a quack ruin your looks

Don’t go to unqualified doctors. PHOTO | Fotosearch
Don’t go to unqualified doctors. PHOTO | Fotosearch 

With the increase in plastic surgeries in Kenya, comes bigger risks of botched procedures as quacks flood the market.

Before you lift your butt, reshape your nose or tuck in your tummy, know that you may get more than you bargained for. To avoid this, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor about his qualifications.

Dr Radovan Boca, a plastic, reconstructive, cosmetic and hand surgeon at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi says patients should do their research on the doctor treating them and ask questions.

“I believe no fully-trained surgeon will have an issue disclosing this information, in fact we are usually proud to admit our qualifications and the opposite behaviour should sound alarm to the patient,’’ he says.

To start off, visit the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board website to access publicly displayed list of registered doctors and their qualifications.

From here, you can visit reputable hospitals since these are required to hire qualified doctors and conduct thorough background checks.

A professional doctor should explain the risks involved prior to the surgery.
If it is not an emergency—and most cosmetic procedures are never an emergency— the surgeon will allow you time to think about it and explore other options.

“A quack is only interested in money and does not ask the patient questions.
Surgery is permanent and should be considered carefully. If the procedure is not done properly, the damage can be worse than the initial problem and might not be repairable,” warns Dr Boca.

He notes a common misconception among patients that cosmetic surgery entails simple procedures that can be performed by anyone with a few months of training.

Both cosmetic and plastic surgery ought to be carried out by doctors who have undergone formal additional training related to their specialty.

“There are multiple medical and legal reasons for necessity of formal training in cosmetic surgery, however the main one is patient safety,” he says.

Be on high alert in case you hear comments such as “It is just a simple procedure”, “there are no side effects”, “it will have no complications” or “there will be no scarring”.

Dr Boca notes that there is no such thing as a simple procedure, as all procedures have side effects and any surgery can get very complicated if not handled professionally

The difference

Plastic surgery is a wide surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of extensive range of defects, functional deficits and deformities due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease including cancer.

It is usually intended to correct, improve and restore dysfunctional areas of the body and is reconstructive in nature.

On the other hand, cosmetic surgery is focused on enhancing patient’s appearance and can be performed on many areas of the body.

It is an integral part of plastic surgery and only plastic surgeons are formally trained in aesthetic procedures during their specialty training.

Wrong patients

Cosmetic procedures are optional as their main purpose is to improve the patient’s aesthetic appeal, symmetry, proportion and self-esteem.

“When performed for wrong reasons on the wrong patients and executed poorly, cosmetic procedures can have disastrous consequences. A fully trained surgeon should be able to advise the correct procedure for the right patient and execute it well,” says Dr Boca.

In case of botched procedures, a well-trained surgeon is able to deal with complications. This can only be guaranteed if a doctor is formal trained.